Lost Huntington: Emmons-Hawkins Hardware
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 40th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- For decades, Huntington's Emmons-Hawkins Hardware Co. was the largest hardware firm between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The 812 pages of the company's 1938 catalogue listed a bewildering array of items for sale - tools, pumps, insecticides, plows, harness, lanterns, jacks, stoves, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, fans, radio tubes, padlocks, metal ceilings, shingles, glass, clocks and watches, guns, ammunition, fishing tackle, bicycles and more. Much more.
Emmons-Hawkins traced its origins to the very year of the city's birth, 1871, and the opening that year of a hardware store by C.F. Parsons. Later his son, W.E. Parsons, became a partner with Carlton D. Emmons under the name Parsons and Emmons. Still later, J. L. Hawkins became a partner and the firm became Emmons-Hawkins. In 1896, the company built a retail store, office and warehouse at 1022-1032 3rd Ave. and remained there for an amazing 74 years.
Carlton Emmons was the son of Delos Emmons, a brother-in-law of Collis P. Huntington and the rail tycoon's right-hand man in the new city of Huntington. The younger Emmons was president of the hardware firm until his death in 1937. He was succeeded as president by J.L. Hawkins. He in turn was succeeded by Mathias W. Dugan, who had been with the company since 1913.
In 1944, Emmons-Hawkins closed its retail operation and became exclusively a wholesale house, sending out its 16 traveling salesmen over a large part of West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Ohio.
The company went out of business in 1970, selling its inventory to an out-of-town buyer and its building to the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority, which demolished it as part of the city's downtown urban renewal program. Today, Mack & Dave's store occupies most of the block where Emmons-Hawkins once stood.
For more Lost Huntington stories, visit www.Herald-Dispatch.com. Click on "News," then on "Lost Huntington series."
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