Some Old Richmond Buildings

Dublin Core


Some Old Richmond Buildings


It is not my purpose to name every old building in downtown Richmond. On the other hand several of the buildings have dates carved on them, if you will only lift up your eyes and read.

The oldest labeled building is the one now housing Elizabeth's. It was built in 1884 as the D.M. Bright building.

The J.C. Penney Company is in the Collins building (1891). Lerman Brothers is in the Stouffer building , which is dated 1900. The Best-Lovell Hardware Store's building reads "Douglas and Simmons 1909." Park Hardware, for many years Oldham & Powell Hardware, is housed in a building dated 1911. The old Pritchett's Pool Room building is dated 1910.

The Masonic Temple has two dates, 1813, and 1914. The first denotes the beginning of Lodge No. 25 F & AM, while 1914 is the building’s date. Before it was remodeled, the Ben Franklin Store Building was labeled "Busy Bee Department Store."

All of this puts me in mind of how much downtown Richmond has changed since the1930s. Let's play "Do you remember?"

First, down the north side of Main between 3rd and 2nd there was the State Theater-now the Town Cinema after remaining vacant for 10 years. Before being a theater it was a hotel and the windows, now bricked in, can still be seen on the North Third Street side of the building. The Ideal Cafe which was run by the late Nancy Scalos, was a landmark, before disappearing a few years ago. Woolworths did a thriving business under the Masonic Lodge, before leaving Richmond for good in the l960's. Missing from the scene for 35 years, but still remembered by many is Perry Drugs.

On the south side between 3rd and 2nd do you remember the stores at both ends of the block? Cornett's Drug Store and Stanifer's Men Shop, later Chenault's. On down that side, between 2nd and 1st, were United Department Store, run by Ed Wayman, Rice & Arnold and Leeds & Edwards. Mr. Leeds still helps his son at Elder's and Mr. Edwards was my neighbor on South Third Street. The Racket Store was a popular gathering place and carried almost everything in the odds and ends line. Doc’s Restaurant provided good food. Ending the block was Griggs Drugs.

Before going on down Main, I should mention Sutton's Grocery on North Second and Joe's Restaurant on the NW corner of 3rd and Main. Between 3rd and the old Post Office Building and since burnt out were Robinson's Paint Store, the KU Building, and the Dixie Hotel, under which were housed Estes Jewelry and Bond Realty. Across the street in what is now First Federal building were the Western Union office and Dr. O.F. Hume’s surgery.

From 1st to Madison Avenue, south side, were McKee's (back of which was a roller skate rink and the old Armory), Virgil McMullin's Jewelry, Day's Grocery, and the Richmond Fruit Company. Also A&P is today in a building occupied previously by Kroger's which moved to a new building across the street (now Goodyear). From Madison Avenue to Collins could be found the Fixit Shop, Madison Theater (both buildings destroyed by fire), the Kentucky Ice Cream Company and Madison Motor (Buick garage).

From 1st all the way to Collins (north side) I remember Jett's Store (run by Paul's and Garland's father) later Pennington and Rennix -- now Southern Dollar Store, Witt's Ford Motor Company (housed in an old livery stable building), a Baptist Church on Main and Madison, a small building occupied by Moberly Insurance Agency, and the huge Zaring Mill which stood on the present Kroger site. For posterity I shall mention the Water and Gas Works building, which stood by the bank of Dreaming Creek, now torn down for extension of the Kroger parking lot. Near the end of the block was Ballard's Finer Furniture.

These are not all of the old businesses in downtown Richmond, but are representative and should provide information for newcomers to the community and a trip down memory's lane for those of us who lived here in the 1930’s.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Some Old Richmond Buildings,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed April 15, 2024,