The Brown Block was constructed during 1893 by a partnership composed of Chariton entrepreneur Joseph A. Brown and businessman Albert E. Dent and his wife, Orilla. Three two-story frame buildings that were among the square's earliest previously stood on the three lots.
The west frame building housed a dry goods store operated by Orilla Dent's father, David D. Waynick, until his death during 1883, then purchased by A.E. Dent from the Waynick heirs. Brown was landlord to business tenants in his two frame buildings and their brick replacements.
The Dents owned the western third of what was christened the Brown Block and made it distinctive by commissioning a large three-light window with elaborate crown for the second floor. The two east storefronts were identical with three windows capped by cast-metal cornices on the second floor. An elaborate cast-metal cornice containing the name "Brown" that has survived for the most part intact tied the three buildings together.
The Dent third of the block was restored during 2015-2016 as part of Chariton's Facade Improvement Program by owners David and Steve Laing. That project involved reinstating the big second-floor window, restoring and repainting the cornice and removing a shingled canopy over the sidewalk that had been added during the last half of the 20th century.
The photo at the top was taken on Aug. 28, 2016; the photo immediately above, during 2011. The protrusion above the facade of the center building is the front end of a sloped roof added above the original roof by a later owner.
At the bottom of the post is an 1869 photograph showing (left of center) the frame buildings that were demolished to make room for the 1893 brick structure.