Dec 21

The Hough Brick Stores

Posted on December 21, 2023 at 3:08 PM by Ken Kocher

In 1881, the south side of W. Jefferson Street between First and Second streets contained P.V. Carbine’s hardware store, W.A. Hough’s grocery store, A.S. Hough’s stove store, and David LeSeuer’s store. Carbine’s building was a new brick building while the rest were wood construction. About seven o’clock in the evening, a young boy was sent from W.A. Hough’s store to the stove store to draw some oil. He struck a match to illuminate the dark room and accidentally dropped it on the oil-soaked floor. The result was a conflagration that destroyed the entire block face. Carbine’s building, though left a brick shell, was credited with keeping the blaze from jumping First Street and destroying the buildings in the next block all of which were wood at the time.

Alveron Sandford Hough rebuilt his stores in brick which came to be known as the Hough brick stores. He again sold stoves from the store on the right and his son, W.A. Hough, resumed selling groceries from the store on the left. Will’s brother James joined him in the business. Following the elder Hough’s death in 1889, we know from fire insurance maps that the right store held a clothing & variety store in 1890 and a stove store in 1895. Who the proprietors were is unclear. In April of 1898, Lem C. Baldwin moved his Madison Music Store to that space, adding furniture and eventually Singer sewing machines to his fare. He moved his store a year later.

1885 map and 1885 stove ad

Will Hough died at age 40 of Brights disease in 1899. J.E. Hough continued their grocery business for another year when his stock of goods was sold off to satisfy a debt. Click here to see a list of the inventory sold. Following this, the stores were vacant for nearly a decade apart from being the location of the spring flower shows of the Ladies Garden Club. Life returned to the stores with the opening of the Madison Buggy Company in the left-side store in 1908 and the Lamar Grocery Company in the right-side store in 1909. H.M. Lamar’s grocery shared the space with a Chinese laundry operated by Charlie Loo.

The Madison Buggy Company letterhead

1909 map

Shortly after W.H. Adams purchased the buildings in 1912 & 1913, R.H. Barker of Monticello was hired to convert a portion of the building into a Ford Service Station for Ben S. Thompson. Thompson opened the station in 1915 selling and servicing Fords there until 1917 when he built his own building for the purpose on Main Street. The effort in converting the building into an automobile service station was not wasted, however. Adam’s Buick sales had progressed from a sideline to his furniture store to a full fledge business. He opened a Buick Service Station upon Thompson’s departure. Like Thompson, W.H. Adams would vacate the space in 1920, moving to a new building he constructed on Hancock Street.

One store would remain an automobile focused business with Stansell Auto Top & Trimming Company moving in next. This was the father-daughter enterprise of J.F. Stansell and Miss Maybell, specializing in auto repair, painting, and the making of new tops. Miss Maybell was considered one of the best auto painters in this section of Georgia. In the other store, C.T. Mead opened a shoe shop. Frank Kaskie opened a Harness and Harness repair shop shortly thereafter sharing the space with Mead’s Shoe Shop. The space further diversified when Kaskie, along with D.L. Royal, who bowed out a few months later, opened a fruit and fancy grocery store.
1920 Stansell ad

Meanwhile, Frank Stovall had purchased the buildings and was using the space vacated by the Stansells as a furniture warehouse. Fire struck the buildings on June 28, 1922, burning off their roofs. Stovall quickly rebuilt within the brick shells again warehousing furniture in one store and Mead repairing shoes in the other. Kaskie did not reopen his businesses. Come 1924, Stovall decided he was finished renting space for his furniture store and hired W.D. Cavin to combine the two Hough brick stores into one creating a grand location for Stovall Furniture. Read about this era of the building the Furniture-Furniture-Furniture part 1 blog post.


Nov 01

Bearden's Stable

Posted on November 1, 2023 at 2:06 PM by Ken Kocher

Newspaper clipping stating Fire at MadisonThe Savannah Morning News, August 5, 1892

Capt. F.B. Terry ran a livery stable in a large wooden building on the corner of Second Street (now Academy) and W. Washington Street in 1892 (Amici's). On August 5 of that year a fire destroyed the building, Terry narrowly escaping death by jumping from a window. He lost one horse, one mule, and several fine carriages and buggies. Several small adjoining houses were also destroyed. M.E. High offered use of his stables to Terry and petitioned Mayor E.W. Butler to allow Terry to conduct a livery business in his stables without taking out a new license. Butler refused. According to the Savannah Morning News, “[This] angered Mr. High. He met Mayor Butler on the streets. Some words passed between them, and the two men clinched. Friends interfered and the two gentlemen were separated without any great personal injury to either. The mayor’s coat was nearly torn off while Mr. High’s finger was hurt slightly.” F.B. Terry does not appear to have opened another livery stable in Madison, eventually moving to Griffin.

Meanwhile, the lot where Terry’s stable had been remained vacant. The Madisonian lamented in 1893, “Now, if somebody will improve the burnt livery stable lot… that part of the city would look better.” It would be four years before anyone heeded this call. In 1897 J.T. Newton, who owned the lot, built brick stables for G.A. Bearden’s use. Hence, the structure’s original name: the Newton Building. Almost immediately, Bearden (known as Gabe), added a forty-foot wooden addition to the rear. There was a lot going on there. In addition to the feeding, hitching, trading, and swapping horses and mules, J.H. Houghton offered a stallion (Bourbon Belmont) for stud services, Gabe had a fine Jersy bull available for the same, and a fine breed of boars were available for purchase. Plus, Oliver Hollis, an African American Madisonian, had a restaurant in a portion of the building. No jokes about the source of the meat please. And, in case anyone was worried, Mr. Hollis assured everyone that, “He has a separate apartment where his white friends are served by polite waiters with all good things to eat.”

Bearden's Stable ad and 1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance mapThe High Shoals messenger. (High Shoals, Ga.), October 14, 1897/1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

Building on his success, Bearden rented a second stable on the corner of Burnett and Hancock (no longer extant) in 1901 specializing the use of each. In his words, “Now I want to run livery business alone in the Newton stable, as the space is too small for transient, and kindly ask my customers who wish to hitch, feed, sell, buy, or swap to stop at the BIG STABLE.” In other words, if you wanted to hire out a buggy or carriage and/or horses, the Newton stable was your place, but if you were stabling for the day – kind of a horse & mule parking garage – or were looking to buy, sell, or swap you would head over to Hancock Street. Despite his apparent success, G.A. Bearden put the livery outfit – ten head horses with vehicles, harness, etc. to match – and business up for sale in August of 1902.

Brick livery stable building

Aug 28

Fresh Baked Bread!

Posted on August 28, 2023 at 2:20 PM by Ken Kocher

John Claus Bohlen, originally from Stadt Bremerhaven, Germany, arrived in Madison via Augusta to ply his skills as a baker less than a decade after his service during the Civil War. Possibly arriving as early as 1872, Bohlen built the building at 173 S. Main in 1876. Described in the Augusta Constitutionalist as “a fine brick store, handsomely furnished with every convenience for carrying on the baking and confectionery business.” Behind the main body of the store was a bake house and behind that an oven. While the oven has been removed, the bake house remains in place.1885 map of bakery with 2022 photo of buildingBohlen was popular, known for his kind heart and gentle spirit. This may have led to a miscalculation on the part of a young man choosing Bohlen’s store to play a prank – riding a horse into the store. The story goes that when one of the boys started riding into Bohlen’s store, he reached for a big cheese knife and meeting the rider at the door lost no time in showing him exactly what would happen to him if he rode “that damn mule” in his store. The ride ended at the door.1893 ad for I.D. Comstock BakeryIn 1893, a new bakery opened in the building, that of I.D. Comstock. Like Bohlen, Comstock also dealt in confectionaries, fruits, and fine groceries. He also made “the nicest Saratoga Chips you have ever eaten.” What’s that you say? We call them potato chips now. Five years later Comstock closed up shop and moved to Michigan, his home state. W.L. “Will” Walker opened a Hat and Shoe Store here around 1905. He went out of business September 1, 1913, and it was reported that “a man from South Carolina” would conduct a bakery in the place. The rumor was unfounded as the Madison Shoe Store, run by Mell Richardson and Ed Prince, opened instead. The business lasted a year.1916 ads for Model BakeryMrs. Bohlen, her husband having passed in 1911, advertised the building for rent noting in the ad that Madison needed a bakery. A few months later, the Madisonian echoed this sentiment stating, “Madison needs a bakery, and Mrs. Bohlen has the place for it.” The call was answered by G.L. Moore who opened the Model Bakery in this space in December of 1915. Moore employed Paul Lex as his baker who, like the original baker in this building, brought his skill “from far away Germany.” Despite an August 9, 1918, report that Moore was doing a splendid business, the building came available for rent December 1. This would not be the end of baked goods produced at this location, but it is the end of this post. We will pick up the thread later.