Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Webster Block / 38-40 West Main Street
By Douglas H. Shepard, 2012 

            The building once known as the Webster Block was in place at least by 1848 when the Censor of 18 April announced that “the Webster Block is undergoing a complete metamorphosis.” The result can be seen in the elaborate woodcut advertisement that ran in the Censor on 15, 22 and 29 May, 1849. It showed the two-door building with three occupants: Frazine & Starr, dry goods and groceries at today’s 38 West Main Street, with “A. E. Cherry, Dentist” on the second floor. At 40 West Main Street was Baker & Cowden, successors to G. N. Frazine, tin and copperware and stoves, with their “Tin Factory” on the second floor over the store.           
In April 1938, when local businessman Henry Leworthy described the buildings he remembered from April 1878, he said, “In the business block here, Joel Hendee I think had a grocery store in the first building at that time. Near there, Lew Hughes had a saloon.” An 1879 business directory lists Hendee at what was then 21 Main Street, today’s 40 West Main Street. For Hughes, the directory lists a “restaurant.”

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