The building that how houses Kent Farm Management and Real Estate was built during the summer and fall of 1906 by Joseph A. Brown on the site of a double-front business block destroyed by fire on Dec. 30, 1905, that he had owned jointly with L.F. Maple. That building was occuped downstairs by the Engebretsen & Manning drug and book store, jewler C.E. Hobson and the Chariton Post Office. The block was valued at $10,000 when the fire occurred.
Following the fire, Brown bought the lot owned by Maple and commissioned the current tall structure of pale brick, most likely designed by Chariton Architect O.A. Hougland, although the name of the architect cannot be documented.
The fire also had destroyed buildings owned by brothers Jay J. and W.H. Smyth. On July 12, 1906, The Chariton Leader reported that "the foundations are now in for the new business buildings on the north side, covering the territory destroyed by fire last December."
On July 26, The Leader reported that "good progress is being made on the new buildings on the north side ... and work is commencing on the J.A. Brown building."
By December, Brown had lined up a single tenant for his double-front building --- Busselle & Blanchard Hardware. The Leader of Dec. 20 reported as follows:
NEW HARDWARE QUARTERS
The hardware and implement firm of Busselle & Blanchard expect to occupy the quarters in the new Brown building about January 1, and are having it fitted up to their notion. The lower floor is 40 x 120 feet and is provided with elevator to reach upper room and also basement, which is provided with a cement floor. This gives them a floor space of 40 by 360 feet. They will be unable to get all the shelving in by the time they move and their show cases will not arrive by then but will be put in afterwards.
The photo (above) probably was taken during some sort of grand opening event at the new hardware store, perhaps during the opening months of 1907. By that time. A.B. Gookin & Co. and Jenk E. Wright, Real Estate, Loans and Insurance, had moved their offices into the front rooms on the second floor.
Busselle & Blanchard were succeeded by the Tuttle Hardware store, then P.M. Place & Co., as long-term tenants during the years before Dan and Deb Kent purchased the building.
During early 1910, Brown purchased the low 1870s Mallory Block to the east of his new building from Miss Emily and Margaret McCormick, had it demolished and on its site constructed a new double-front building for State Savings Bank and a second tenant that blends almost seamlessly (with the exception of window treatments) with his 1906 building.