Lost Huntington: Christmas season at Anderson-Newcomb Co.
Editor’s Note: This is the 267th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - The Christmas season is here, a good time to take a look back at the Anderson-Newcomb Co., all decked out in its holiday dcor. A local landmark, the Anderson-Newcomb department store was a mecca for Christmas shoppers for decades.
The store began in 1894 when J.W. Valentine opened a small dry goods shop on 9th Street between 3rd and 4th avenues. The following year saw W.H. Newcomb join the business, which was christened Valentine & Newcomb.
In 1902, the two partners erected a three-story brick building on the south side of 3rd Avenue between 9th and 10th streets. In 1907, Valentine sold his interest in the store to E.G. Anderson, and the firm was renamed the Anderson-Newcomb Co.
A three-story annex was constructed in 1913, the first of many additions and alternations in the store’s structure over the years. In 1920, three floors were added to the main building. In 1927, the familiar marquee was placed across the store’s front. In 1954, a two-story addition was constructed.
Over the years, Anderson-Newcomb recorded a long list of local “firsts” - the first store in Huntington to have a horse-drawn delivery wagon, the first to trade its horse and wagon for a truck, the first to have a passenger elevator, the first to reward its employees with paid vacations and the first to install a telephone switchboard.
An unusual fixture at the store was a pneumatic tube system that connected its sales clerks to a central cashier’s office.
In 1970, the store was purchased by the Wheeling-based Stone & Thomas chain but continued to operate under the Anderson-Newcomb name until 1980.
In 1996, Stone & Thomas closed the long-time store. The building then sat vacant and neglected until 2013 when it was purchased by Marshall University. Saving it from likely demolition, the university dramatically transformed it into its handsome Visual Arts Center.