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File photo/The Herald-Dispatch The Jeff Newberry Co. building was erected at 1101-03 3rd Ave. in 1915.

HUNTINGTON - Jeff Newberry was born on his family's farm in Wise County, Virginia, in 1861. While he was still an infant the family moved to Martin County, Kentucky, where he grew up. He started out in business operating a general store in Inez, Kentucky.

In 1895, Newberry came to Huntington and started a wholesale hat business which proved unsuccessful. He then moved to Catlettsburg, Kentucky, where he briefly operated a wholesale grocery business.

He returned to Huntington in 1900 and with partner George B. Clay opened a shoe factory. (The firm later became the Norvell-Chambers Shoe Co. and today survives as the Kipling Shoe Co., which operates retail stores in Milton and Point Pleasant.)

In 1910, Newberry sold his interest in the partnership and struck out on his own, founding the Jeff Newberry Co., a shoe wholesaler. His new firm, located in the Flooding Building at 1029-31 3rd Ave, immediately prospered, and he decided it needed a building all its own.

Completed in 1915, the seven-story structure located on the southeast corner of 3rd Avenue and 11th Street was built of reinforced concrete, brick and terra cotta. Newberry christened the combination office/warehouse "The Home of Better Shoes." For years, the company was one of the many busy wholesale houses that once lined 3rd Avenue.

On Newberry's death, his widow Charlotte took over as company president, with well-known Huntington attorney George S. Wallace as vice president.

The company went out of business in the early 1960s, and National Credit located in the building. Later the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority acquired the building and demolished it. Today, its corner site is the parking lot for the office of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 1117 3rd Ave.

Do you enjoy the "Lost Huntington" series?

"Lost Huntington: Volume 1" is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city's lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.

Books are $29.95 plus tax, shipping and handling. To order, visit media.herald-dispatch.com/ecom/ or call 304-526-2720.

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