Herald-Dispatch file photo In a 1977 photograph, Owen Clay Greenwell stands in front of the new drug store his family built on 4th Avenue after urban renewal forced them from their long-time 3rd Avenue location.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 297th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — In the 1970s, Huntington's urban renewal project uprooted more than 100 downtown businesses. Only a handful chose to continue operations at new sites in the downtown. One that did so was the Boggess Drug Store.

History doesn't record the exact year when Taylor N. Boggess and his wife, Mary, opened their 3rd Avenue drug store. But when the first Huntington City Directory was published in 1910, theirs was one of 20 drug stores listed.

Ultimately, the Greenwell family became the drug store's owner.

When the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority told Owen Clay Greenwell and his brothers Richard and Donald that it intended to purchase and demolish their family's long-time store at 914 3rd Ave., they vowed to fight the matter in court.

When injunction proceedings seeking to halt the project were rejected in Cabell County Circuit Court and a subsequent appeal was denied by the State Supreme Court, the Greenwells bowed to the inevitable.

The brothers built a new drug store at 730 4th Ave. and another new building next door, which they leased to the Huntington Water Corp.

"Once it became apparent we were not going to exist any longer on 3rd Avenue, no one could have received more cooperation (to relocate) than we did," Owen Clay Greenwell told Herald-Dispatch reporter Tom D. Miller in a 1977 interview. But Greenwell said he remained philosophically opposed to urban renewal, which he denounced as "buying one person's land to sell it to someone else."

According to records in the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, Boggess Drugs went out of business in 1997.


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