No, this isn’t meant to be read like those old radio ads for U.S. 30 Drag Strip (Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!), this triplet signifies the evolution of a single business through three phases of ownership. The arc of this story spans more than 100 years of Madison history reaching nearly the present day. During this time, three buildings downtown would house this business as well a new building in the Highway 441 commercial area.
In 1907, William Harris Adams arrived in Madison from Mansfield to establish a furniture business. He chose the building at the corner of W. Jefferson and N. First Streets, now the location of the Bank of Madison Operation Center. Within ten years he had established a thriving business that the Madisonian deemed “the prettiest and most up-to-date furniture store on the Georgia Railroad” with a “substantial reputation throughout this section of Georgia for his high-class dependable goods.”
Nonetheless, furniture was not to be his long-term business. W. H. Adams caught the automobile bug. He began selling Buicks as a sideline eventually turning to car sales as his main business. He sold the furniture business to Frank Stovall who began operating Stovall Furniture Co. January 1, 1919. Stovall continued in the same location renting from Eddie M. Cohen just as Adams had. Then, in 1924, Stovall moved down and across the street. In 1922, he had purchased the two Hough stores (now In High Cotton) apparently using them for warehousing. Soon thereafter, the stores were gutted by fire with the roofs burned entirely off. Stovall hired W. D. Cavin to combine the two into the one store we see today.
The new store had a large plate glass front, white pressed brick, prism glass transom windows that spelled out the name of the store, marble panels, and a tile entrance. The Stovall Furniture Company moved into the building June 1, 1924, and the Madisonian gushed over its beauty as well as the pianos, furniture, rugs, and smaller items therein. 1928 saw not only the addition of a line of GE refrigerators to the inventory but the construction of a cellar to hold the burgeoning stock. Stovall’s brother, Walter, aka “Sparky,” who worked with Frank, showed-off the new cellar, then under construction, to the Madisonian as workers removed the dirt and Sam Almand made ready to pour the concrete floor.
Stovall continued the business through the depression being sure to cater to the needs of Madisonians by carrying a varied inventory including porch furniture; rugs and art squares; trunks, suitcases, hat boxes, and weekend bags (perfect for students preparing to go away to college); pianos; bedroom suites; Atwater-Kent Radios; and more. The newspaper often complemented the displays in the store’s windows such as a grouping of studio couches and occasional chair that they deemed necessities as well as luxuries in a home.
Frank wasn’t beyond a gimmick now and then, though. The store helped promote a show benefitting High School Athletics featuring the one, the only, the incomparable FAYSSOUX and his show of 1000 wonders, mysteries, thrills, and laughs. The promotion involved Fayssoux hypnotizing a man in the show window of the Stovall Furniture Co. Later that day Fassoux drove an automobile blindfolded starting at, you guessed it, Stovall’s.
The Madisonian announced an “Important Business Deal” on September 10, 1943, which would herald the third chapter of Furniture-Furniture-Furniture which we will cover in Part Two.