James E. Casto/For The Herald-Dispatch Imperial Bedding is now located in the former Sehon-Stevenson building, but even so the former grocery firmís name can still be seen painted on the south side of the nearly block-long building.

Editor's note: This is the 175th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - Born in Mason County in 1843, Edmond Sehon in 1866 moved to Greenbrier County, where he practiced law. After four years, he returned to Mason County, where he was elected to the West Virginia Legislature.

In 1890, Sehon moved to Huntington, joining A.G. Blake, Ely Ensign and other partners to form a Huntington wholesale grocery firm, Sehon, Blake & Co. Originally the company was located in the 800 block of 3rd Avenue. After a year or two there, it moved to a building at 10th Street and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks.

John B. Stevenson came to Huntington as a young man and joined Sehon, Blake & Co., first as a shipping clerk and later as a salesman. Eventually he became a partner, and the company was renamed Sehon, Blake & Stevenson.

In 1901, the firm's building was destroyed in a spectacular fire that claimed the life of firefighter John Wright. The firm was liquidated and reopened as Sehon-Stevenson & Co., locating in a building on the north side of the B&O tracks at 11th Street. The 1913 flood inundated the building. Determined not be flooded by the Ohio River again, the company bought a site at 11th Street and the Chesapeake & Ohio tracks and in 1914 built a large warehouse there.

Shortly thereafter, the company built an addition on the east end of the building and there operated the Ensign Coffee Co. The plant produced a number of different coffee brands, the best known being the Guyandotte Club brand.

In 1957, brothers B.C. and C.C. McGinnis purchased Sehon-Stevenson. In 1976, the company was sold to the McClain Grocery Co. of Massilion, Ohio.

Since 1977, Imperial Bedding has operated a mattress plant in the former grocery warehouse at 11th Street and the C&O tracks. Even so, the Sehon-Stevenson name can still be seen painted on the south side of the nearly block-long structure.


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