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Changes on the Square: The Hutchison Building, 1931


J.T. Page, a wealthy landowner who lived just off the square on Campbellsville Street, died intestate in 1926. He had no lineal heirs, so his many properties were divided among his four closest living relatives: his widowed sister, Mary Jane Blakeman, who had lived with Mr. Page for decades; his brother, Dr. Lafayette Page, of Indianapolis; his niece, Elma Page Fraser, of Columbia; and his nephew, Paul Azbill, then a resident of London, England.

Mr. Page's landholdings included the five lots comprising the octant of the Square from the exit corner of Campbellsville Street to the Well Walk in the east corner. His brother, Dr. Page, wound up with the lot one removed from the east corner.

Apparently Mr. J.F. Patteson bought this property from Dr. Page in the fall of 1928. Several months later, a brief article in mid-July 1929 stated that Mr. C.R. Hutchison had purchased the lot from Mr. Patteson; that the frame structure thereupon, at one time occupied by Sam Lewis' produce house, had been razed; and that Mr. Hutchison was "rapidly pushing the work for his new building." The following month a very short blurb mentioned that work on it was "progressing nicely."

Little if any mention followed until November 12, when the paper informed readers:
"Mr. C.R. Hutchison has moved his hardware and grocery store from the Russell Building into their new quarters on the East side of the square.

"Mr. Hutchison has erected a handsome new store building which is built in connection with Mrs. J.F. Patteson's new building. They are now ready for business in the new store which is complete in every detail."

(Mrs. Patteson's building, which adjoined the Well Walk on the other side, was occupied for several years by Lany Bray & Co., and later, by The Style Shop.)

According to an article in the July 19, 1974 News, Mr. C.R. Hutchison bought John Jackman's saddle shop, located between Burkesville Street and the west corner, in 1909. Around 1918, A.D. Patteson bought a half interest, and the two worked as partners until fire destroyed their business in the late summer of 1921. Shortly afterward, Patteson sold his share back to Hutchison, and the latter moved the business to the Russell & Co. Building on the entry corner of Jamestown Street and the square in early 1922. From there, he moved it as described above.

The first mention found of the establishment as "C.R. Hutchison & Sons" appeared in a full page public service announcement in the December 31, 1929 News, sponsored by 40-some Columbia businesses. However, at least one son, Raymond, who started working in the store in 1926, had bought a minority share some time prior to then. At any rate, the store continued as Hutchison & Sons (or Son) for several years. Mr. C.R. passed in 1950, son Raymond became the sole owner 1959, and he sold the firm to James Lewis Moore and Donald Harvey in 1974.

The above-mentioned 1974 article also noted that
"Jack Barger Jr., long associated with the Hutchison family, with whom he has been employed since he was 13, remained with the new owners. Mr. Barger's association with the Hutchisons lasted 46 years."
At some point, the name became Hutchison's S&T. Moore & Harvey sold the firm to James W. "Jim" Ranson about 1976, who changed the name to Jim's Hardware.

In 1978, Mr. Jack "Jay" Barger celebrated fifty years with the firm. In an article published October 31, 1981, he recalled that at age 13,
"[H]e started working for [C.R.] Hutchison in a tin shop on Fortune Street for fifty cents a day. What did he do? 'I started to work putting on stove doors. From that I went to making stoves and the working with plumbing,' he said. . .When asked what he does in his present job he smiled and said, 'Whatever comes up.'"
Nolan Cole and J.W. Hendrickson, young men already partners in an aluminum siding operation, bought out Mr. Ranson in mid June 1980 and changed the store's name to C & H Hardware. (Mr. Ranson, a veteran of the Vietnam War, returned to General Electric, where he had previously held employment.) The News commented that Cole & Hendrickson would operate the business "along with Arnold Keen, a long time employee of the business." However, Mr. Keen soon retired on account of failing health, and he passed in December that year, age 67.)

Mr. Hendrickson apparently dropped out as a partner at some point, as Downey and Grider Real Estate and Auction Service advertised in September 1981 a "store wide" auction for later in the month, "selling complete line of hardware and fixtures for C & H Hardware, Mr. and Mrs. Nolan Cole, Owners. Located 324 Public Square, Columbia, Kentucky."

This story was posted on 2020-11-24 11:02:40
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1930 ad for C.R. Hutchison & Sons

2020-11-24 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy JIM.
This ad, the first to feature the "C.R. Hutchison & Sons" name, appeared in the March 25, 1930 edition of the Adair County News, a few months after the establishment moved to new quarters near the east corner of the Square. In addition to farm implements, seed, and a general line of hardware, the store continued to carry a line of groceries as it had for several years and also sold Firestone tires.

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