“The sprawling block of buildings at the northeast corner of Main Street and Columbus Street, which Mr. Philip Rising began construction on last year, is now almost complete… for the various business purposes for which it was designed,” reported the Gazette (March 26, 2007). March 1868). The more than 150-year-old building that still stands today is called “The Rising Block”. And yes, this is Philip Rising (1824-1909), who donated Rising Park to the city in 1909.
More History: The Mud House before there was a Mud House Road
This magnificent building has been the ‘home’ of more companies and organizations than anyone can remember, but the stories of some of the first have appeared on these pages over the past few years. Built with three stories, the top floor was demolished in 1953 when Sears-Roebuck leased the block and a major remodel was undertaken. Sears held its official opening on February 22, 1955. After 21 years, Sears closed that store to open a new one on May 20, 1976 in what was then the new Plaza Mall.
Recently, some forgotten residents of the Rising Block pre-Sears from about 1900-1950 have been discovered. William Ellery (1874–1950) and his wife Mary had arrived in Lancaster about 1900 and he ran the Bargain Store on the Rising Block (163–165 W. Main) until 1908. and confectionery.” Before Ellery’s business moved in, it was the clothing store of Peter Miller & Co. that operated one of the largest and most successful clothing retail businesses.
The Daily Eagle (February 16, 1908) reported: ‘The Ellery shop changed hands this morning… This shop was established about ten years ago and was under the direction of Ellery, who is also associated with his brother in a number of shops , very progressive about Ohio. The Lancaster store carries an immense supply and the billing took two weeks.” Incidentally, Ellery was one of three men who founded the Lancaster Disciples of Christ Church in July 1900 with a group of 17.
More Local History: Retail history…every store leads to a different story
Ellery sold his business to Peter B. Markwood (1883-1976) in 1908. Markwood had opened a store at 107 N. Columbus St. about four years earlier. Just two years later, Peter Markwood sold the business to Henry Morris (1873-1949). Morris and his wife Dora came to Lancaster from Cincinnati. His store, The Syndicate, had the motto “The Store That Sells for Less”. One ad said, “And it’s certainly a shop where you can buy just about anything from a needle to home furnishings.” In the early years, Mr. Morris was a partner with David Kauffman, but he bought Kauffman around 1924.
After the death of his wife in 1929, Mr. Morris decided to retire after 20 years. The Daily Eagle (January 21, 1930) reported: “One of the largest stock purchases effected at Lancaster in recent years was effected to-day when The Syndicate, owned by Henry Morris, sold to Mr. OL Taylor, Lancaster commodity broker, was sold… Mr. Morris built up good patronage by acting honestly and honestly, selling $25,000 worth of stock that compares favorably to all others of its kind in the state of Ohio.” Morris and his family followed suit Kentucky. OL Taylor operated The Syndicate for two more years. He also moved inventory he had bought from other stores to sell. The Daily Eagle (July 11, 1932) announced that The Syndicate had closed its doors.
Three years later (September 10, 1935) the Daily Eagle announced: “Syndicate Store Open Doors Thursday Morning.” John S. Lowden was to become manager of this retail conglomerate, which had occupied the site “for more than half a century.” The first floor would have clothing for women, infants, men and boys. They would also have a “Certified Bargain Cellar.”
On opening day, the first two customers were former Mayor Chris Sexauer and Judge Frank M. Acton. Both made their way to the bargain basement. Less than a year later, The Syndicate sponsored a sale with a target of $50,000 in ten days (May 12, 1936 EG). There was no mention of the store closing, but that was the last advert or article printed about The Syndicate in the EG.
The next store to open and advertise was an A&P supermarket on September 24, 1937 at 163 W. Main St.
Research has shown that bargain hunters like Syndicate were just as popular in the first half of the 20th century as they are today.
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