Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Virtual Stroll Through the Business District, 1889-1896

Little Sarah Eva Howe could hardly escape knowing about the thriving businesses in her home town of Carrollton, Kentucky. Her grandfather John Howe and John's five sons (including Sarah's "Papa," Robert James Howe) were prominent in local banking, textiles, the manufacture of jeans, and retail sales. Some of the women in the family were business owners and managers, too, or owned stocks – and all of them likely had influence in business decisions made by their fathers, husbands, and sons.

No wonder, then, that Sarah's scrapbooks about growing up in 1890s Carrollton are rich with clippings and notes about large stores and small shops, manufacturing and merchandising, banking and finance. At every family gathering, the conversation likely turned to business matters – and Sarah was the kind of child who would have soaked up every word.

The ads she clipped from the daily Carrollton Democrat and pasted into her scrapbooks guide us on a virtual tour of the Carrollton business district of that time. They also tell us much about the Howes, their extended family, their friends, and their neighbors. Sarah, I wish you had dated these ads. I devoted a lot of time researching dates and making educated guesses.

Of course, Sarah saved many ads representing Howe Brothers, the place in Carrollton to buy men's and ladies' fashions from New York and other big cities. We'll explore those another day. Today we'll visit other businesses in town – all of them owned by Howe relatives, friends, or neighbors.

Our first stop is a pharmacy, M.A. Geier & Company.

Now we proceed to M.A. Browinski & Son, purveyors of musical instruments and sheet "musik." (Note: This ad comes not from a newspaper but from a school event's program booklet.) We'll also pass by Browinski's Drugs.

Sarah's note (see original below) points out that both the Geier and Browinski businesses were owned by women: 
Both of the "M.A.s" of the drugstore were the women of the family. M.A. Browinski was Mrs. Mary Browinski, Miss Sue's mother. Her son Anson of course ran the business at this time. M.A. Geier was Miss Mary Alice Geier, whose brothers stayed in the store tho Miss "Jule" went into the grocery business about 1890 or 91. Mr. Oscar Geier had a partnership with the Driskell Bros in the Ghent Pharmacy.

 We continue on to other businesses in this thriving northern Kentucky town:


Sarah remarks about the ad on the right: Mr. Kreutzer lived at 4th and Sycamore diagonally back of us with his three pretty daughters.


Mr. Kreutzer also advertised his blacksmithing skills.

Steam-powered paddle boats carried mail and passengers up and down the Ohio River. The people of Carrollton may have visited N.T. Drake & Co. for stationery and books when they visited Madison, Indiana.


In the clipping on the left, the top ad seeks sales representatives for a plant nursery in Huntsville, Alabama.

J.J. Blessing and the Framme Brothers were competitors in the meat business.

The Carrollton Democrat, of course, advertised in its own newspaper.

Next stop, People's Building and Loan Association, which in 1889 advertised the highlights of its Annual Report. (Apologies for the condition of the ad. Some scrapbook pages have deteriorated more than others.)

Unless any one of us is feeling weary or faint, let's just pass by these Carrollton medical offices:

And last but not least . . .

I hope you enjoyed our virtual visit to some of the businesses in 1890s Carrollton. In a future post: The Howe family businesses and the impact they had on Carrollton, Carroll County, and northern Kentucky.


ScotSue said...

I enjoyed your post, as I have always had a fascination with vintage advertisements - my favourite was the final one with the lovely line drawing of the horse drawn hearse. Your title summed up the topic beautifully and I appreciated seeing Sarah's own words in italics, to distinguish them from your commentary. A wonderful social history.

Frances Nelson Salyers said...

Thanks, Sue. I have you to thank for using the Quote function to show Sarah's words. I really like doing that -- much better than "Start Transcription." Like you, I'm a fan of vintage ads. I worked in advertising for a while, and I continue to be a big fan of the old images. I'm delighted that you enjoyed your "stroll" through 1890s Carrollton. Thanks as always for reading my blog.