Editor's note: Last week's Lost Huntington article was the 149th in a series and was mistakenly published as the 150th in the series. This week's article is the 150th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - Bradley W. Foster (1834-1922) was one of those who arrived in Huntington in 1871, the year it was born, and prospered with the city's growth. Foster married Mary Lenora Huntington, a niece of Collis P. Huntington, in 1868 and three years later the couple moved to Huntington. It seems likely that rail tycoon Huntington invited the couple to settle in his new town.
On arriving in Huntington, Foster built a small two-story frame building that housed one of the city's first hardware stores. The venture was an immediate success and ultimately evolved into the Foster-Thornburg Hardware Co., a major wholesale firm. Extremely active in the young community, Foster was president of the Huntington Land Co., one of the founders of what became the First Huntington National Bank, a member of Huntington City Council and helped to organize the Chamber of Commerce.
Foster and his wife had no children. She died first. On his death he left $800,000 to build, maintain and operate a home for older unmarried women and widows. The money paid for construction and operation of the Foster Memorial Home for Aged Women. Designed by prominent Huntington Sidney L. Day, the three-story Georgian mansion was completed in 1924 at a cost of $250,000, a lavish sum at the time. Over the years, the stately home at 700 Madison Avenue sheltered thousands of local women.
But times change. And beginning in the 1980s, board members of the Foster Foundation began talking about the growing need for adequate housing for all seniors, not just women. The result was construction of the Woodlands, a sprawling retirement community located just off 5th Street Road near Interstate 64.
With the Woodlands open, the Foster Memorial Home was put up for sale. Today, it operates as a privately owned senior living facility, Madison Park.
Do you enjoy the "Lost Huntington" series?
"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.
Books are $29.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To order, visit media.herald-dispatch.com/ecom/ or call 304-526-2720.