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History highlights of the Spencer Block from 1870-1950

May 14, 2015
Westfield Republican

By Marybelle Beigh

Westfield Historian

The Spencer Block was built in 1872 by Dr. John Spencer. The Spencer home built in 1853 became Westfield Memorial Hospital in 1942. Elias Barger was the architect for the Spencer home so it is assumed he was also the architect of the Spencer Block. Original plan of Spencer Block building was stores or shops on first floor, offices on second floor and a third floor entertainment hall - Virginia Hall, named in honor of Dr. John Spencer's daughter. The name, Virginia Hall, is still molded in the top of the building faade.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
NE Corner of Portage and Main streets

In 1878, the second and third floors were extended out the back over the rear ally, as an enlargement to the state, to connect with the rear building, which was described as a brick warehouse being built at that time. Cast iron plaques on the rear building (now Larry's "Cantina") also identify that building as the Spencer Block.

A timeline of documentation as researched May 3 & 4, 2015:

WR Nov. 18, 1874 Ad for #1 Spencer Block/Drug Store: Prop. W.G. Spencer, C.B. Brown

WR Feb. 3, 1875 Ad for #1 Spencer Block/Drug Store: Prop. J.A. Harvey

WR Nov. 17, 1875 Ad J.A. Harvey: #1 Main St. Westfield Drugs, medicines, , Confections

WR Nov. 17, 1875 Ad Entertainment/Band Concert: Wed. Eve. Nov. 24th, 1875 @ Virginia Hall

WR May 3, 1876 Ad J.A. Harvey 1876 Virginia Hall Benefit Concert

WR May 10, 1876 Notice J.A. Harvey sold drug business to John H. Towle, Esq.

WR May 17, 1876 Notice New Firm, refer to Announcement Dr. O. Jones & Henry S. Towle partnership. Firm Name Dr. O Jones & Co. (Drug store, etc.)

WR Oct. 24, 1877 Ad for Confectionary HS Towle; Ad for Stecher's Clothing #2 Spencer Block

WR Jan. Feb, 1878 Large ads for Stecher's Clothing Store #2 Main St.

WR Oct. 1878, March 1879, Aug. 1880, Feb. Mar. 1881: One-liner ads for Stecher's Clothing (Note by Aug 1881 Stecher's clothing is at #5 Main)

WR Feb 27, Oct, Nov 1878 & Oct 1879: ads for HS Towle Corner Drug Store

WR Dec 8, 1880 Byron Fenner purchase HS Towle Drug Store #1

WR March 1881 Fenner Drug Store ad

WR 1883 notice Byron Fenner Formulary 7000 copies

WR Feb 28, 1883 notice: I.M. Levy to rent #2 Spencer Block; Ads thru Dec. 1883 - Clothing

WR Oct 1, 1884: notice: Mr. O.R. Oakley rented #2 Spencer Block, dry goods, home furnishings

WR April 29, 1885 Ad of O.R. Oakley Dry Goods

WR Nov 11, 1885 Ad O.R. Oakley

Sanborn Map 1886 shows #1 Drugs and #2 Dry Goods

WR Sept 22 1886 Large Ad James V Minton re purchase Corner Drug Store from Byron Fenner

Photo October 1886 shows O.R. Oakley sign on #2 Brewer Block/Main. St.

WR Aug 18, 1886: Notice that O.R. Oakley closed store on Saturday to move business to Lincoln NE.

Note: unable to find proprietors for #2 until April 1890, with exception of 3 ads in July 1887 in which Mr. G. H. Peglar offered his meat market for sale as he was desirous of engaging in other business. Interested parties were to apply at once at No. 2 Main Street!

WR April 23, 1890 Short article: The Bannister Furniture Co. successful opening Saturday #2

WR Dec. 23, 1891 Ad for Bannister Furniture Co., No. 2 Main St. Westfield NY

WR Dec. 10, 1890 James Minton sold to Irvine Jones and Geo. Peglar #1

WR Dec. 17, 24, 30, 1890 Jones & Peglar drug store ads

Sanborn Map 1891 shows #1 Drugs and #2 Furniture

WR Dec. 9, 1891 ad for Jones & Peglar

WR March 9, 1892 notice that I.E. Jones sole proprietor Corner Drug Store

WR Oct 26, 1892 Ad for Giddings Music Store corner Main & Portage

WR Nov 30 1892: Notice: Giddings piano man order Virginia Hall lighted by electricity

WR April 5, 1893: Notice Frank P Wolfe retired from WR Douglas Grocery bookkeeper to devote time to Furniture and Grapes

WR March 1893, 1894 Wolfe Bros line ads

WR August 1893 larger ads for Gent & Reiger doing Upholstery at Wolfe Bros. Store Main St

WR Aug 29, 1894 Ad for Wolfe Bros Furniture @ #2

WR Sept 5 1894 Notice: New Firm. Wolfe Brothers sold furniture store to Mrs. J.E. Clever but accounts left with F.P. Wolfe #2

WR Jan. Feb. 1895, Feb 1896 Clever Furniture ads #2

WR Starting Feb 1897: W.G. Norton, (successor to J.E. Clever) ads; also 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, & 1902 ads for W.G. Norton furniture. #2

WR Feb 1903 Norton sold to R.D. Powers - furniture #2

Sanborn Map 1896 shows #1 Drugs and #2 Furniture

Various: Julia, Nellie, and their mother moved to Wfd prior to 1900. Julia worked for I.E. Jones and even boarded with him on 1900 US Census records.

Sanborn Map 1902 shows #1 Drugs and #2 Furniture

Sanborn Map 1907 shows #1 Drugs and #2 vacant

WR April 25, 1907 Nellie Poole open Dry Goods store at #2. Nellie retired in 1950, died in 1958.

WR Dec. 22 1909 obit for Irvine Jones. Julia took over Drug Store - ads Dec 29, 1909, Jan 12, 1910. Julia ran the drug store until her death in 1948.

Sanborn Map 1912 shows #1 Drugs (Julia Poole) and #2 Dry Goods (Nellie Poole)

There are now but a few gaps in the timeline for the two stores on the ground floor of the Spencer Block, which were addresses No. 1 and No. 2 Main Street until the numbers were changed, in the early 1900s, to 1 and 3 when odd numbers were designated for the north side of Main Street and even for the south side.

 
 
 

 

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