Editor’s note: This is the 386th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
UNTINGTON — For decades, from roughly the 1920s through the 1960s, local folks shopping for a new car knew exactly where to go — a stretch of downtown 4th Avenue between 4th Street and 7th Street. Known as “Automobile Row,” the three-block stretch of street was home to a dozen or so automobile dealers.
Among them, at 611 4th Ave., was the Metropolitan Buick Co., owned by J.B. Rich.
A Texas native, Hez G. Ward graduated from Cornell University with a degree in business administration and hotel management. When he graduated he landed a job as a mail clerk at the Netherland-Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, rapidly advancing to assistant manager of the hotel’s front office. Later he was assistant zone manager for the Cincinnati regional office of the Chevrolet Division of General Motors.
In 1945, Ward moved to Huntington and partnered with J.B. Rich in opening City Chevrolet. In 1949, he purchased Metropolitan Buick from Rich, renaming it Hez Ward Buick.
Active in community affairs, he was a past president of the Cabell County Cancer Society, the Cabell County Tuberculosis Association, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington Automobile Dealers Association and served on the boards of the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority and the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. An avid fan of Marshall University sports, he was named an honorary Marshall alumnus.
In 1967, Hez Ward moved his dealership from downtown to new, modern quarters at 2957 5th Ave. In 1973, he sold it to William C. Turnbull, who renamed it Turnbull Buick. Ward died Dec. 25, 1986.