Editor’s Note: This is the 320th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Shopping at an Ohio flea market, Huntington’s John Witek discovered an old cardboard box stuffed with more than 1,000 photo prints and negatives. The vendor, who said he bought the box at an estate sale in Huntington, was happy to sell it to Witek.
Researching his find, Witek determined the photos and negatives were the work of Levi Holley Stone (1898-1981), a hitherto unknown Huntington photographer.
Beginning in 1912 and continuing on into the 1960s, Stone took photos of his family and friends, along with many local buildings and businesses that long since have vanished into the mists of history. Even his closest friends never realized that many of the photographs he took were timeless works of art.
One Huntington business he immortalized was the Hamburger Inn, which stood on 10th Street between 6th and 7th avenues.
Hamburger Inn was a small chain of white,w cinderblock restaurants that sold 5-cent burgers. The chain was founded in Kansas in 1921 and spread east to several states, including West Virginia.
Hamburger Inn had a number of locations in Huntington about the time Stone took his photo of the one on 10th Street. The photo, which appears to date from the late 1920s or early 1930s, provides a look at a long-gone piece of Huntington history.
John Witek and Deborah Novak gathered more than 200 of Stone’s remarkable photographs in a book, “Huntington: The Levi Holley Stone Collection,” issued by Arcadia Publishing in 2014.