Editor's note: This is the 73rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON - Hard work and long hours began for Evan M. Cyrus at the age of 11 when the Cavendish Brothers employed him to work at their Central City store after school and on Saturdays.
Young Cyrus dreamed of going to college but his widowed mother was ill and needed him, so he accepted an offer by the Cavendishs and on Feb. 1, 1928, took over a faltering hardware venture they had opened on West 14th Street.
In the store's earliest years, he was its only employee, working as acting owner, manager, clerk, stock boy and janitor. The store hours then were 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Not long after taking over the store, he opened an account at the Central City Bank, which immediately folded. Later he opened an account at the Union Bank and Trust in downtown Huntington. It, too, closed its doors - before he could even write the first check on the account.
Over the years, Evan Cyrus built the store into a success that was a mainstay of the Central City business district. Active in the community, he was treasurer and deacon at the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, was on the Huntington Floodwall Board for 28 years and served as president of the Hardware Association of the Virginias.
Sally O. Cyrus, the eldest daughter of Evan and Peggy Cyrus, grew up in the store. From junior high through graduate school, she worked there part-time, and in 1963 gave up teaching at Marshall University to become a full-time employee. When her father died in 1985, she and her mother continued to operate the store. She retired in 1995, closing a business that had served the community for 67 years.
To read more articles from this series, go to www.herald-dispatch.com. Click on News, then Lost Huntington series.