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So What Happened at 44 East Main Street?

June 11, 2015
Westfield Republican

By Marybelle Beigh

Westfield Historian

Trying to track down names of local businesses and proprietors, as well as when and where they were located is a lot harder than one might suspect. So research has progressed both backward from 2015, and forward from 1903 to discover some surprise businesses between those years.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
This map from 1902 Sanborn shows Tews, which is highlighted.

The Westfield Republican of January 11, 1905, page five, has a brief notice buried in the several columns of Personals: "C. F. Bigler has purchased the Tew building now occupied by Charles McEwen." A search for more about McEwen produced nothing noteworthy; but following Bigler's activities was quite productive. Bigler was another long-time businessman in Westfield, who had sold harnesses and cutters on Main Street, near the corner of Market Street, in the late 1800s. In 1903, Bigler purchased another long-time businessman's Meat Market business, right next door on the corner of Market Street. James Taylor had his Meat Market business since at least 1877, and his store is found on all the Sanborn Maps from 1886, 1891, 1896, and 1902. Bigler was also active in local government and politics, but that is another story in itself.

After Bigler purchased Tew's building, the February 1, 1905 WR notes that "C. F. Bigler is moving the old Tew block to the back of his lot and will erect a new cement block in the spring." Sure enough, by April 5, 1905, we read, "C.V. Bigler is digging the cellar for his new business block on the old Tew site." The Personals keep tabs on just about every little activity, so in October 25, 1905, the newspaper exclaims that "C. F. Bigler has his new meat market nearly ready for occupancy, and it is certainly as fine a one as can be found anywhere in the county. It is fitted up with all modern improvements and is a great improvement to the village."

The November 22, 1905 Westfield Republican has a Personal paragraph on page 5 stating, "C. F. Bigler opened up his Palace Meat Market on south side of Main street Saturday and the day's sale amounted to $100. Mr. Bigler gave match safe souvenirs and bags of candy to all. It is said to be the best in the county. A fine display ad for the opening was found on page 8 of the same paper. The 1907 Sanborn map shows the new partly stone building at lot 551 where Tew's building had been in 1902. The second floor was apparently outfitted for offices because in August 1908, Dr. J. D. Davis has his offices "over the Bigler Block".

More fine display ads for Bigler's meats are found throughout 1909. But by September 7, 1910, a Personal note reads, "C. F. Bigler has closed out his meat business and rented his building to P. Govette, who will open a first class restaurant in it on Sept. 15th. In September 14, 1910, the paper published a headlined article: "New Restaurant - P. Govette has rented the Bigler building on Main street and will open a first-class restaurant in it on Saturday morning of this week Mr. Govette will sell meal tickets and make arrangements for board by the week. He will also have baked goods and meats on sale" Sadly, in April 1911, Mrs. P Govette advertised "A Bargain - On account of the serious illness of my husband, I will sell our restaurant in the Bigler block on Main street, at a great sacrifice. The business is well established, have twenty steady boarders" It would seem Mrs. Govette found a buyer, as the 1912 Sanborn map shows a Restaurant at 44 East Main, in a cement block building.

As of the writing of this BeeLines, there are some gaps in business names and proprietors except for a few ads for Gregory & Gregory Painters and Decorators at 44 Main Street in 1915 papers, between 1912 and 1919. An "Announcement" March 5, 1919, states: "we have located our Bicycle and Motorcycle Repair Shop at 44 Main will carry a line of auto tires "Westfield Tire & Repair Shop, Beck & Son." Nice display ads followed through 1919 and well into 1920. But then in November 10, 1920, came a surprising business notice: "Mr. Moore of Moore Bros. Garage expect to move into their new place at 44 Main which they recently purchased this week. Their new store will be known as the Westfield Overland Company. An up-to-date Sales Automobile Store will be maintained with special attention to auto battery and Overland and Willis-Knight cars."

Thus began a decade-long same-owners business known successively as Moore Bros. Garage, Moore's Garage, or just Moore's, run by D. L. Moore (Dayton L. Moore). In addition to auto batteries and vehicles, by 1924, Moore's Garage was advertising "Learn More About Radio" and selling and maintaining Radio Batteries as well. The "biggie" in 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929 was the Atwater Kent Radio - "Always a Good Buy at Moore's 44 Main St." This last large display ad was in the November 20, 1929 Westfield Republican. A single line, number 35, in December 4, 1929, in which "Westfield's Leading Merchants" provided 38 prizes and 18 Gold Prizes, read, "Moore's Garage, $5.00 in trade.

On December 25, 1929, a headline "BETTS MOVES!" is followed by "Wm. Betts Purchases the Business of Dinty Moore - Dinty Moore is no more-as Wm. Betts of Betts' Battery and Tire Service has purchased his holdings and will take possession on January 1st, 1930. Betts says, 'drive up to 44 Main street, sound your horn and get real service on genuine Kendall gas and oils.'" Betts' planned to carry Goodrich tires, Willard batteries and Bicycle repairing, a specialty!

To be continued



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