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Matamoras Minute: Businesses

When the members of the audience had finished seeing the movie and left The Palace Theatre they were provided with an opportunity to spend more time in downtown Matamoras with an array of establishments on both sides of Main Street.

On the Southwest corner of Main and Second in 1926 was a grocery and confectionary owned by Jack Young. This is where Gene McVey would later operate a bus stop.

But in the early century the fountain and ice cream parlor attracted quite a few patrons along with those who were after some groceries. Young had established the business in 1894.

A clerk, R.A. Talbot, worked for Young starting in 1903. Jack and his wife, Belle, would lose a daughter, Alice, due to her death in the line of duty abroad as a nurse in World War I.

Another spot to enjoy a fountain delight was an ice cream parlor and candy store started in 1922 by Dr. H.S. Whitney, the dentist.

Whitney, as was noted in an earlier article, had an office in the “Brick Block” business building for his dental work.

His sweet shop was in the same structure. Perhaps this conflict of interest in the two enterprises led him to sell this “sugar emporium” about a year after it opened to C.J. Thomas.

Another businessman who joined in the construction of the “Brick Block” was Ernest H. Meyer.

With Gene Cochran as a partner they opened a haberdashery, clothing, and shoe store in the southeastern corner of the new structure.

That corner on Main and Third Street covered the site where the original Baptist Church of Matamoras stood.

A predecessor of this store was an earlier haberdashery that Meyer and Same Koontz had operated in what was called the Karcher building. Established in the 1890s Koontz & Meyer, as it was known, moved in 1905 to the Cunningham building. With the death of Koontz in 1912 Meyer left the firm and Sam’s widow, Jennie, assumed full ownership.

She would sell out in 1916 to S.E. Fulmer and in 1923 Fulmer sold to Amos & Burgbacher.

Amos & Burgbacher is a store with little history surrounding it. In 1866 Mathias Burgbacher established a tailoring business on Front Street adjacent to his home. A son, W. Frank, later joined his father in the enterprise. Mathias died in 1907 and the son continued in the tailor’s trade.

It is unknown if the son perhaps expanded and joined Amos in this haberdashery.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767.

Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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