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Posted on June 20, 2022 at 4:32 PM by Ken Kocher
Legend has it that Farmer’s Hardware was established in 1836 and is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, hardware stores in the United States. There may be some poetic license here. Yes, W.M. Burnett, touted as the originator of the hardware store, was in business in the early 1800s, possibly in 1836. However, newspaper ads from the 1840s and 1850s describe his trade as a saddlery selling harnesses, saddles, bridles, etc. as well as trunks and carpet bags. However, by the time of the 1869 fire, Burnett was listed as a hardware dealer. At his death in 1871, the establishment was known as Burnett & Co. and would continue as such until 1877 when the company was dissolved and continued by P.V. Carbine though it appears that Carbine was running the business as of 1872.
Philip Valentine Carbine, an immigrant from Wales, was Burnett’s son-in-law having married Hattie Burnett in 1867. Carbine initially ran the store from a portion of Atkinson’s block at the corner of Main and Jefferson (then Railroad Street). In mid-1880, Carbine began the construction of a new building to house his enterprise. It was a two-story brick building; the only brick building on the block. Brick construction was cold comfort in March of 1881, less than a year after completion of the building, when fire consumed this entire block of Railroad (Jefferson) Street. Carbine’s building was partially credited with keeping the fire from jumping to the block facing Main Street, but the building was left as a shell.
Carbine’s misfortune is a bit of luck for us as his contract with Daniel Towns for restoration work after the fire survives. One clause states that the work “will be as near like the first job that was contracted as far as can be made” indicating that Towns was the original builder. The original storefront is also described: “There will be 2 long show windows on ground floor in front of room C heads… One door frame with C head transom…” Like many of Madison’s storefronts, the Carbine building had a store front of arched openings later replaced by large openings of plate glass. (View the contract here, courtesy of the Morgan County Archives)
Another interesting feature was that there were no windows on the First Street side of the building (three were added in 2002). The only openings on this side were wide doorways on each floor. The lack of windows on the first floor is explained by the 60 feet of six foot tall shelving on the side walls as outlined in the Towns contract. The upper floor arrangement is explained by a line in an 1884 ad: “In addition to my hardware store, I carry on the second floor of my capacious building, a fine assortment of wagons and buggies, which I have at prices that baffle the competition!” A swing arm for a block and tackle to raise and lower wagons and buggies to and from the second floor remains in place today. Later that same year, Carbine built “a wagon shed next to the Hough brick store.” This would be a portion of the parking lot adjacent to In High Cotton. No doubt this allowed him to expand his inventory and, of course, was a bit more convenient for rotating stock.
Left: east side prior to added windows - Center: swing arm for lifting buggies to the second floor - Right 1885 Sanborn Fire Insurance map
Through the 1880s, 1890s, and into the new century, P.V. Carbine, “The Old Reliable,” provided Madison “A full line of heavy and shelf hardware, wagon material, and in fact everything kept by a first-class hardware store.” He boasted having “Anything from a knitting needle to a 2-horse wagon.” He added the Etheridge “B” sewing machine to his offerings in 1901. Yet, Carbine was evidently falling into financial straits at the turn of the century. In April of 1903, during bankruptcy proceedings, a federal judge ordered P.V. Carbine’s stock of hardware to be sold for $5,700 covering about one third of the claims against him. The silver lining was that the stock was sold to the Carbine Hardware Co. which had been chartered the month before. The incorporators of the company were P.V and W.L. Carbine, S.A. Turnell, F.W. Brobston, and G.W. Holmes.
The new company soon made improvements remodeling the store and bringing it “up to date in its arrangement and appointments.” A couple of years later, the company “completed some very attractive and very useful improvements to the interior of their store.” They added shelving, lockers, and rolling ladders. Then, in 1907, John L. Moore called a meeting of the stockholders and bought the Carbine Hardware Company renaming it Farmer’s Hardware Company. Thus, beginning a new era which we will visit in a future blog.
Posted on June 7, 2022 at 9:22 AM by Ken Kocher
When fire destroyed the entire business district of Madison in April 1869, the store of Wynn & Peacock was at ground zero being one of the first two buildings consumed by the flames. W.D. Wynn quickly rebuilt, this time using brick. The façade was parged with stucco which was scored to give the appearance of a stone block building. Peacock’s continued involvement in the firm is somewhat unclear. While the establishment is mentioned as Wynn & Peacock in 1875 and a partial early photo of the building shows Peacock’s name on the building, all other mentions and advertisements indicate Wynn operating the business alone. In his ads he claimed to be “the original underseller of Madison.” Despite his aggressive sales pitch, he was out of business by 1883 when his building was sold to satisfy a defaulted mortgage.
That same year the Griggs Brothers moved their farm implement business from Washington Street to the Wynn Building. In addition to plows, mowers, hay rakes, sawmills, cotton planters, stoves, separators, and engines, the brothers also sold New American sewing machines. At the beginning of 1885, the Griggs brothers dissolved their partnership with J.M. retiring and P.M. continuing the business. J.F. Boughton joined P.M. Griggs in the building during the fall of 1886. Jim Boughton, who had been working in M.A. Peteet’s drug store, had struck out on his own to sell family groceries. The two shared the building for a year when Boughton bought Griggs’s business.
Boughton announced, “I shall continue at the same stand and will be glad to supply the customers of the old house with anything they may need in machinery, agricultural implements, stoves, or family groceries.” Boughton held an art exhibition given by the New Home Sewing Machine Company which was “largely attended by our ladies.” New Home presented such exhibitions around the country. They featured artistic work created on their sewing machines. The creating artists were present to explain the processes necessary to create the exhibited designs as well as giving demonstrations. The exhibit must have been an odd juxtaposition with the farm implements and groceries. When a storefront in the Atkinson Building came available in 1894, Boughton moved his business there.
W.W. Leake opened his grocery in the space but had financial difficulties and was closed by the sheriff. T.D. Creighton then leased the building for his store, The Globe, “an emporium of fashion and style.” Creighton, who had suffered a devastating fire and bankruptcy, was ready to make another go of it. While he was in New York buying stock, the building was being painted and fitted up. Before Creighton moved in and the building was still vacant, the Ladies’ Garden Club had a barbecue dinner fundraiser – 25 cents a plate. The Globe opened in March of 1900 in its new quarters advertised as the Blue Front Store. Creighton’s brother-in-law who clerked at the Globe, Roscoe Anderson, would go on to use this color advertising scheme when he opened Anderson Dry Goods in the Broughton Building.
Before year end, T.D. Creighton decided to leave Madison for South Carolina. He sold his goods at “New York costs” and closed out his store. From this point the building took on more of a transportation bent. We’ll cover that in an in a later edition.
Posted on May 28, 2022 at 1:28 PM by Ken Kocher
No doubt, on the morning of April 9, 1869 J. A Broughton was inspecting the charred rubble of his Dry Goods and Grocery store at the southeast corner of Washington and Main, a victim of the Great Fire that consumed nearly all downtown Madison. The Greenville Enterprise (SC) reported nine months later “one could hardly tell there had been a fire” and “Four large brick buildings were going up on the public square.” The two-story building that Broughton built was probably one of them. Little mention of Broughton’s business shows up in the local papers through the 1870s though we do find mention in lists of Madison’s businesses in Monroe’s Southern Witness, in The Atlanta Constitution, and a couple of trade journals. J.A. Broughton died in 1880 bringing a new business to the building which continued to be referred to as the Broughton Building or Broughton’s Corner.
The Hammonds moved their Augusta Cash Store – sometimes called the Augusta Cheap Store– from the Foster Block on the north side of the square to the Broughton Building on the south side of the square in September of 1883. Although the business was run by a husband-and-wife team, Mary Ann Hammond was more closely associated with it. Her stature in Madison’s commercial sphere is evidenced by the newspaper referring to her as Mrs. M. A. Hammond using her initials rather than her husband’s as was typical. In describing the move, The Madisonian noted that she would “carry on an extensive dress making department up stairs [sic] and conduct her usual business on the first floor – adding greatly to her dress goods department." The paper congratulated “this elegant lady on her success.” The Hammonds sold dress goods, millinery, embroideries, novelties, etc. here for a decade.
In early 1894 the building transitioned to a drug store. Clark & Hunter’s Drug Store moved from the Richter Building a few doors down on Main Street to the corner. E.B. Clark and J.H. Hunter owned this business as well as a furniture store. At the drug store, Neil Vason was the clerk and a Mr. Mountcastle was the prescriptionist. Clark left the partnership later that year to return to farming in Oglethorpe County. Hunter continued the business solely under his name until 1897 when he teamed up with Dr. M. F. Brooks. Like most drug stores at the time, they had a soda fountain where, in 1900, they introduced a new drink: Dr. Pepper’s Phospho Ferrates. You could also drop your laundry off to have it cleaned by the Guthman Steam Laundry in Atlanta. The firm employed several prescriptionists over the years including: W.B. Ogletree, Ewell Spearman, Mr. Quillian, and Butler Atkinson. Hunter & Brooks Drug Co. moved to the Atkinson Corner in 1902.
The Anderson Dry Goods Co. opened in March 1904. Their ads noted “Known by its Blue Front,” and “The only Blue Front in Madison,” and “The Blue Corner.” Guess what color they painted the building? It appears that by the Anderson's tenancy the arched window openings had been retrofitted with larger square windows. Roscoe Anderson plied his trade here for about four years. A 1906 advertisement announced, “a change in business causes us to offer our entire stock at exactly invoice cost.” It is unclear when the business closed, but the Madisonian reported in April 1908 that W.E. Shepard had bought Anderson’s stock of goods and would conduct a fancy dry goods business at the same stand. It was during Shepard’s occupancy that the storefront had a radical change. The newspaper reported improvements to the store in September 1914. The front appears to have been recessed and the corner opened.
The next tenant, following W. E. Shepherd’s relocation to a Main Street building in 1923, would undertake an even more radical change to the building. Enter the Age of the Automobile. This we will save for a later installment of Madison Moments.