EDITOR’S NOTE:This is the 280th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Glaser Furniture Co., located at 1931 3rd Ave., was opened by Samuel and Rachel Glaser in 1946.
Seventy years later, in 2016, their sons Norman and Herman Glaser reluctantly closed the store. The brothers had hoped that maybe the next generation of the family would take over the business. “But all our kids are established and want to do their own thing,” Norman said.
Over the years, the two men successfully fought off repeated efforts by Marshall University to acquire their store building.
The city’s 20th Street neighborhood once was home to dozens of small businesses such as theirs but almost all have disappeared, with their property taken over by Marshall’s ever-growing campus.
The brothers said theirs was the last independent furniture store in Huntington.
“At one time there were 10,” Herman said, “and four of those — Butler’s, Willis, Riter and ours — were right here in the 20th Street neighborhood.”
Their father, Samuel, was born in 1906 in Poland and was smuggled into Palestine (now Israel) shortly after the Germans invaded in 1939. He left his wife and three young boys behind, hoping to later find a way to get them out. That never happened as he ran out of time when the Germans destroyed his town. Townspeople who were not killed on the spot were packed off to concentration camps.
In Palestine he met and married Rachel Levinson, and in 1945 they made their way to America. In Huntington, they scraped together to purchase a business in the 1900 block of 3rd Avenue. That was 1946 and the birth of Glaser Furniture. Since new furniture was hard to come by immediately following World War II, the Glasers initially sold mostly second-hand items. It wasn’t until later that they were able to begin selling new furniture. The brothers took over the business after their mother died in 1975 and their father moved to Arizona, where he died in 1996.
For a number of years, Fat Patty’s was located next door to the Glaser store. When the store closed, the restaurant bought the building and expanded into it.
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“Lost Huntington: Volume 1” is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city’s lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.
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