Saturday, September 24, 2011

East Side: The Hickman Block

Lucas County Historical Society Collection

Stephen D. Hickman, an attorney, built the double-front Hickman block during 1894 "to replace the one which had been destroyed by fire the year previous, together with valuable books." The Knights of Pythias Building, immediately south, was built during the same year, also perhaps replacing an earlier structure destroyed by fire.

This photo reportedly was taken during 1894, soon after the two buildings had been completed. At that time, according to notes on its back, the north storefront was occupied by Alexander & Co., Grocers, and the south storefront, by Nixon Weiford Shoes. The lettering across the windows reads "Wilford & Co. Shoe Store." Melville Furniture and Undertaking occupied the first floor of the Knights of Pythias Building. The Knights had built the Pythian building as a revenue-generating investment, so the second floor contained other professional rooms.

Stephen D. Hickman and his son, Stephen C. Hickman, both attornies, occupied the upstairs rooms to the north, and W.B.E. Lusk, a tailor, the rooms to the south. Presumably the Hickmans, father and son, are seated in the front window of their offices. Nixon Weiford may be the man standing in front of his shop's door. The woman and child are unidentified.

Today (2016), the Hickman Block remains largely intact although the street level facade is behind a post and shingle sidewalk canopy. The second floor windows have been blinded by painted wooden panels. The cast cornice appears to be largely intact, but has lost its center crown which once displayed the building's date, "1894," and served as the base for a flag pole.

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