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File photo/The Herald-Dispatch In 1956, the Banks-Miller Supply Co. opened a new $500,000 warehouse and sales office at 330 3rd Ave.

Editor's note: This is the 163rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - What became the Banks-Miller Supply Co. was founded in 1894 by Maban A. Hobson and E. Howard Smith under the name Smith-Hobson-Brandt Co. Its original location was the 2 1/2 Alley at 9th Street.

In 1897, the company was purchased by J.G. Tinsley of Virginia and his son-in-law J.C. Miller, and its name was changed to the Miller Supply Co. The company remained at its original location for a short time and then moved to 2nd Avenue just east of 9th Street.

In 1905, Major W. H. Banks established the Banks Supply Co. In 1924 he merged his firm and Miller Supply into what became the Banks-Miller Supply Co.

For many years Banks-Miller was the oldest and largest distributor of mining and industrial machinery in the region, serving customers throughout southern West Virginia, southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky.

In 1956, the company built a new $500,000 warehouse and sales office at 330 3rd Ave. A newspaper article described the 82,000-square-foot structure as "an industrial department store," offering thousands of items from hundreds of manufacturers.

The building featured what surely must have been one of the longest sales counters in the world. At 235 feet, it was so long that it was departmentalized with separate doors leading from the street to each section. In addition to its Huntington facility, Banks-Miller had offices in South Charleston, Pineville and Williamson.

In 1977, Banks-Miller was merged into the Tidewater Supply Co. The merged company continued to operate in Huntington for the next few years but ultimately closed. Today, there's still a Banks-Miller Supply Co. but it's located in Martin County, Kentucky, not Huntington.

***BREAKOUT***

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Books are $29.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To order, visit media.herald-dispatch.com/ecom/ or call 304-526-2720.

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