Darwin Eugene Abbott was born in Quebec, Canada, and grew up in Vermont, where his parents moved shortly after his birth in 1856.
In 1873, when he just 17 years old, he arrived in Huntington with his family. He drove a wagon loaded with the belongings of the H. Chester Parsons family, with whom his family was acquainted in Vermont. He decided to stay and cast his fortune with the new city.
He attended Marshall Academy (now University). Becoming interested in photography, he toured West Virginia, making pictures for Harper's Magazine. In 1880, he opened a successful photographic studio in Huntington in the 900 block of 4th Avenue. By 1891 he had expanded his business by selling photographic supplies, as well as adding a photoengraving or copying service.
In 1898, Abbott purchased the Addison, Thompson and Associates plant, which manufactured glassware, at Washington Avenue and W. 14th Street. He incorporated D. E. Abbott & Co., adding the manufacture of picture frames and moldings to his business. His firm proved to be one of the young city's most important manufacturing enterprises, eventually occupying five buildings. He also maintained his photographic studio in downtown Huntington for a time, but later moved it to a building at his manufacturing plant.
Abbott's salesmen traveled throughout 20 states, and his frames, known for their high quality, were sold throughout the United States and exported to Europe. In 1919, he sold the manufacturing plant and its equipment to the Cravens Green Co., of which he became a vice president, but continued to operate his photo studio.
After he bought the Addison plant, he married and bought the Parsons family home, where he lived until his death on July 10, 1942, after the rapid onset of pneumonia, brought on by a fall from his front porch a few days earlier.
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"Lost Huntington: Volume 1" is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city's lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.
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