[From ‘Local History Sketches,’ Allentown Messenger dated December 11, 1913]
The store of C. A. Spaulding & Son, which will shortly undergo enlargement and alterations, stands on land once owned by Richard M. Stout, who also conducted a store on the same site about 75 years ago.
This land extended from the corner to where the borough hall [annex] lot now is, on Church street; and to the present Baptist Church [Library] property, on Main street. With the exception of the store mentioned and a small store building adjoining it on the south, the land was not built upon, and it was used for cultivation of various crops.
In 1844, Mr. Stout’s store was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt, and but for the service of the old Perseverance fire-engine the small store building but a few feet away would have shared the same fate.
For many years thereafter the most valuable plot of ground in Allentown remained a scene of desolation; and it was not until the sale of the estate of Richard M. Stout, in 1858, that there were signs of future improvement there.
At this sale, the portion of the tract bordering on Church street was purchased by Captain John Rogers, while the Main street portion became the property of William Bunting, who built the dwelling for himself now occupied by George A. Longshore [post office].
Captain Rogers at once began the erection of the brick building now owned by the Messrs. Spaulding [Walters Pharmacy]. The structure was at first but two stories in height. The second floor for some time was in use as a public hall, and later it became the armory and drill room of a military company. A third story was afterward added to the building and became part of a large public hall, which extended over the store and the two adjoining dwellings. This was known as Rogers’ Hall, and it was the scene of many notable home entertainments during the 70’s, the receipts therefrom forming a fund for establishing our public library.
The first tenant of the store building after its completion, in 1859, was the firm of Coward & Thompson, general merchants. These were followed successively by Charles R. Hutchinson; Coward & Hutchinson; Cubberley, Jimeson & Co.; Jimeson Brothers; John H. Cubberley, and Forsyth & Spaulding. The last named firm began business in 1883, and a few years later, at the sale of the estate of Captain Rogers, they purchases the store property. The business was continued under the firm name until 1900, when Mr. Forsyth withdrew his interest.
The additional building recently acquired by the Messrs. Spaulding, along with the adjoining one, was built in 1861, two years later than the store building at the corner. Ever since its completion it had been occupied by different parties who were in the millinery business. Miss Mary Nutt was the first proprietor, and with her sister Mrs. George Savidge, who succeeded her, the business was carried on there several years. The next occupant was Mrs. Emma Mc Guire, who was there but a short time. In 1869, Mrs. A. M. Bergen, the last occupant of the place, opened the third millilnery store there. It was but a few years ago that Mrs. Bergen retired from the business which she conducted at that same stand for forty-one years.