Editor's note: This is the 141st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - The Guyandotte neighborhood lost a big piece of its history in 2003 when fire destroyed Elza C. Moore & Sons Hardware.
Before opening his own shop, Moore worked for 20 years for C.M. Love & Co. in downtown Huntington and operated his own wire fabrication business. In 1947, he bought M.E. Blake's hardware store on Guyandotte's Bridge Street and put his name on it. Later, he took over the grocery building next door.
Over the years, Moore's store became part of the fabric of life in Guyandotte. He stayed on the job well into his 90s, assisted by his sons Spencer and Richard.
"I will be here as long as I am physically and mentally able of being here," he told a newspaper reporter on his 83rd birthday in 1988. "I have no intention of retiring because, to me, this is retirement. I don't care about sports or traveling; this is what I love to do."
But after the 2003 fire, he retired and sold Moore's to long-time employees Gordon Wheeler and his son, Dan. The Wheelers built a new building for the store but were unable to make a go of it and closed it in 2015.
When the store closed, Spencer Moore noted that competition from the big-box stores had virtually wiped out small, family-owned hardware stores such as Moore's. "A few years ago, there were three hardware stores in Guyandotte, two in Proctorville, Ohio, and one in Chesapeake, Ohio. Now there are none, none and none."
Thanks to retired Herald-Dispatch reporter Bob Withers for his assistance with this article.