Editor’s note: This is the 33rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON — In 1912, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce published a booklet portraying life in “a home-like, hospitable, progressive, busy, clean, pretty, young city, of about 40,000 people.” While picturing what the city had to offer prospective new businesses or other newcomers, the booklet also cited improvements yet to come.
One such improvement, it promised, would be a market house.
The booklet noted that every morning found farm wagons loaded with produce lined up along 8th Street. “In good weather this arrangement is not unpleasant, but in stormy times it is troublesome to market men and buyers. The city has purchased a strip of ground at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 7th Street, running through to 2nd Avenue, and it is the purpose to build at this point a modern and well appointed market house.”
The city did exactly that and for more than 50 years, the City Market was the epicenter of the fresh food business in Huntington.
Before the coming of chain supermarkets, the Huntington area was home to more than 200 “mom and pop” grocery stores, and a visit to the City Market was the first order of business each morning for either “mom” or “pop.” Housewives looking for the freshest food (and the cheapest prices) would also visit the market. Local farmers brought their produce to the market to sell. Wholesalers trucked in shipments of fruit and vegetables from hundreds of miles away. And, of course, the market was always a great place to catch up on the latest gossip.
When the city drew up plans for its ambitious downtown urban renewal project in the early 1970s, it was decided the City Market — along with the beer joints and other ramshackle buildings around it — would have to go.
So the City Market soon fell to the wreckers. A new market built in the 200 block of 7th Avenue was supposed to take its place.
But nothing could replace the colorful hustle and bustle of the old City Market.