EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 28th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- Hinton attorney and political figure William R. Thompson moved to Huntington in 1892 and went into practice with prominent local attorney Z.T. Vinson. In 1909, they built a six-story office building on a narrow lot at 317 9th St., at the alley on the west side of the block between 3rd and 4th Avenues.
Designed by noted Huntington architect Edwin N. Alger, the building would be known by varied names over the next 50 years. This vintage postcard, mailed in 1911, identifies the structure as the "Thompson Building," but other sources at the time referred to it as the "Vinson-Thompson Building."
The Huntington City Directory for 1921-22 listed the law firm of Vinson, Thompson, Meek and Renshaw as occupying the penthouse offices on the sixth floor, but the building itself is identified as the "Holswade Office Building." Williams G. Holswade was secretary of Security Savings and Loan, which also occupied quarters in the building. Other tenants listed included the Logan Coal Operators Association and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
The 1940 City Directory called the structure the "Ninth Street Building," and from 1949 on it was listed as the "Security Insurance Building."
The building's tenants according to the 1961 City Directory included Jaskow Furs, City Optical, the Presbyterian Church Education Department, attorney Herbert H. Henderson, attorneys Tomkies & Tomkies and Dr. Richard A. Woelfel, DDS. Today, Huntington attorney Michael Woelfel recalls that when he was a teenager his dentist father pressed him and his brother into service cleaning the old building.
The building burned shortly thereafter and was then demolished as part of the city's downtown urban renewal effort. Today, its postage stamp-sized site remains a vacant lot.
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