Which Way to the Store?
Welcome back, Monroe history lovers. I’m sure that some of you out there have seen this quaint Fred Sherman photograph of Earl Wales’ store on Elm Street (c.1905). But, for those of you who haven’t seen or heard of it, here’s the back story.
Earl Wales, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in World War I, built and ran his village store on Elm Street in the early 1900s. The sign on the side of the store reads: Morehouse Temperance Drinks. His older brother Arthur took over the business when Earl ventured out and found success in the burgeoning field of auto parts sales. In 1909 Arthur built a new bungalow for his family at 332 Elm Street, and physically moved the store from its original location to his property where it still stands today as a private residence at 244 Cross Hill Road.
There is one question yet to be answered though. Just where exactly was the store originally located on Elm Street? This has been somewhat of a mystery for years but today the mystery is solved, and we have another Fred Sherman photograph to thank for this revelation. You’ll recall two weeks back when we were discussing the brave shotgun wielding Wales sisters? Well, the photograph in that post shares a number of matching details to the photograph of the store, specifically the twin hitching posts, details of the white picket fence and the front gate posts with their painted caps. With this photographic evidence we can pinpoint the original location of the store as being immediately adjacent to the south of Solon B. Wales’ home at 361 Elm Street, basically where the driveway for the home is today.
It's always exciting when the pieces of our historic puzzle come together, and even more so when you least expect it. I hope you enjoy this week’s historic spotlight on Earl and Arthur Wales’ store and the photographic revelation of its original location. Please share this history with your family and friends. As always, thank you for your continued support and interest in Monroe history. Now you know which way to the store, before and after 1909. Until next time.
Historian, Monroe Historical Society
Our Past is Always Present