Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Custer-Anderson-Carpenter Block

This procession of three identical 1914 brown-brick buildings unites to form a business block just south of the alley on the east side of the square that never really has had a name. The block stands on the lot where Lucas County's original log courthouse stood and, as a result, was not sold by Lucas County until 1860. This late start may help to explain why development here was slow.

The buildings were built as a joint project by those who owned the Lot 6, Block 9, subdivisions underneath them --- Walter Custer (north), Jennie Anderson (center) and George W. Carpenter (south).

Until just before construction commenced, these three lots were filled with a rag-tag collection of old one-story wood frame buildings along with untidy areas of outdoor warehousing, evident but not especially clear to the extreme right in this vintage postcard view.

Here's how The Chariton Herald-Patriot of April 30, 1914, reported upon the impending project: "Three new store rooms are planned for the east side and excavation has already begun on the lot belonging to George F. Carpenter. The lot owned by Mrs. Jennie Anderson will also be built upon at once and the property of Walter Custer will likewise be graced with a handsome structure as soon as possible. The two south rooms will be 20.5x100 feet deep, while the Custer building will be a trifle wider. Chas. Johnson has the contract for erecting the two rooms and they will be modern in every way, with pressed brick front, large windows with copper window frames and plate glass. The upper rooms will probably be arranged as flats, although this matter has not been definitely determined. The erection of these buildings will fill in all the square with brick structures except the lot now occupied by the Adams Express Co. and one southside lot, and will be a decided improvement for the east side and the entire square."

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