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MEMORIES IN FOCUS: Main St.'s 3rd oldest building is surprisingly brick years ago

MARION HISTORICAL MUSEUM PHOTO

Built in 1881, the brick structure at 202 E. Main St. was home to a series of hardware stores for 75 years, including Saggau's Hardware, which in 1912 offered a large closeout sale before reopening as Pantle's Hardware.

In 1912, Saggau’s Hardware offered not only a full range of implements and hardware but also kitchenware.

Although Marion prides itself on historic stone buildings, one of its oldest surviving Main St. structures is surprisingly brick.

It may not seem as old as stately structures like the Bowron, Donaldson and Hosmer, and C.B. Wheeler buildings.

However, the brick building at 202 E. Main St. predates all of them by at least half a decade.

Built in 1881 by appropriately named Jehoiakim “Joseph” Brickley (1835-1883), the building served for 75 years as a hardware store before in 1956 becoming home to Hassinger Plumbing and, several decades later, a series of other businesses, most recently including the now-closed Country Lakes Café.

Only the current homes of Gambino’s Pizza and Barely Makin’ It antiques appear to be older structures, according to available historical documents.

The hardware store had many names and owners during its run and traced its roots to well before the building was constructed.

Oddly, many of those involved with the business had ties to Florence.

As early as 1875, the store, then known as Battey Brothers, for a pair who had relocated from Florence, was selling Moline plows for $12 to $24, the equivalent of $280 to $560 today.

Briefly operating under the name Alexander and Bowron, the business was sold in 1879 to Florence and Peabody builder Samuel Felix Carter (1850-1887).

Brickley, also from Florence, was his silent partner.

Brickley built the original 25- by-80-foot two-story building, ornamented with cut stone.

Carter operated the store until 1885, when he sold to W.A. Stanford (unknown-1907), who also had moved to Marion from Florence, where he had run a pharmacy.

John D. Saggau (1847-1923), who had worked at the store for 10 years, bought it in 1899 when Stanford retired.

Saggau ran the business until 1913 when physical infirmity prompted him to trade the store for Pratt County farm land owned by C.F. Pantle (1873-1955).

Pantle moved to Marion and took over the store, which he operated until 1937, when it became Mack Hardware.

The store remained a Main St. fixture until 1956 when its owners consolidated with Badger Lumber to form Mack-Welling Lumber at the current jail location.

Hassinger Plumbing operated out of the Main St. location for nearly 30 years afterward until a progression of other businesses, most recently including Country Lakes Café, operated out of the 1881 structure, which now is owned by Walton State Bank and is being offered for sale.

The building was enlarged to include an implement warehouse to the north in 1903. A simulated stone wall on the west was created in 1978 by stucco contractor Larry Loomis.

During Saggau’s time in the business, as shown in the accompanying photos, the store carried a complete line of hardware, implements, buggies, and the like — including kitchenware.

“The business has increased every year,” the Record wrote in 1913, “and a surprisingly large lot of implements are handled every year.”

Saggau’s infirmity, the Record reported, included “a lameness that makes it almost impossible for him to get around and attend to the business.”

Shortly before selling the business, Saggau conducted a closeout, offering $10,000 in merchandise — the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million dollars in inventory in today’s dollars — at cost.

Last modified Oct. 31, 2019

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