HISTORY OF REPS FURNITURE CO.
Mackey's Antiques & Clock
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101
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For Early Parkersburg History and Old Pictures
At the time Reps & Co. was founded in 1880, just 19 years before Parkersburg's Centennial Celebration in 1889, Parkersburg was a thriving town with its business district centered around Court Square. The founders of Reps & Co., Paulus Reps, Henry Reps, E. W. Cox, Clyde Cox, G. A. Hawkins and a 6th person whose name is unknown, opened their doors to Parkersburg area residents at 3rd and Juliana Streets in the Cyclone Building just nine years after the B&O Railroad Bridge across' the Ohio River was opened to railroad traffic.
Reps & Co., as was typical of the time, stocked a number of diversified items. Reps, according to an old circular, was headquarters for "Furniture, Carpets, Mattings, Oil Cloths, linoleums, Rugs, Curtains, Dress Goods, Ladies' Wraps, Ready-Made Garments, Blankets, Bedding, Dinner Sets, Toilet Seats, Lamps, Pictures, Clocks, Silverware and Bicycles." . As was also characteristic of the period, businesses tended to Reps & Co. was no exception. Following a successful beginning at 3rd and Juliana, Reps moved Market Street in the lower half of the Stout Building.
Between this period and Reps second move, this area had become the hub of an oil and gas industry. By 1894 the oil and gas excitement was in its prime. Oil derricks dotted the hills on three sides of Parkersburg and the little town entertained the "Oil Barons" from all oven the country. It seemed that Reps & Co. moved under a black cloud with the move to 123 Third Street, for a great deal of the stock was destroyed by a fire on that site.
At that time fire was en even more dreaded destructor than it is today since buckets and hand reels and a hose and reel cart, pulled by' hand, were the only pieces of fire-fighting' equipment available. Reps & Co. was not to falter following the ill-fated fire, for 235 Court 'Square was the next site occupied by this ready-to-wear and home furnishings store.
Parkersburg's business district still centered around Court Square and the residential district gradually moved northward to the "edge of town" to the 19th Street area. Many businesses and homes suffered great losses in 1913 when the "Beautiful Ohio became a raging, rampant destructor. Water continued to rise until it crested March 29, 1913, with the high water finally making its mark at 58.9 ft., well above Reps present location at 510 Market Street. Reps & Co. was one of the businesses which was inundated by that frightful flood. Great losses occurred in the ready-to-wear departments, so after the exhaustive clean-up was completed, it Was decided that Reps & Co. would specialize in the home furnishings field, providing the very best in everything for the home for Parkersburg area residents.
Reps & Co. again pocked up and moved, this time to 227 Court Square. The additional space in this new location offered Reps the opportunity of displaying and stocking the most complete line of home furnishings in the valley. The company's name of Reps & Co. was changed in 1928 when the business of Paulus Reps was incorporated on March 2 nd under its present name, Reps Furniture Co. The winter of 1929 was an ill-fated one for Parkersburg. The spectacular Camden Theater, showplace of the Mid-Ohio Valley, burned and in the short period of approximately two hours, flames had engulfed the entire west side of the 700 block of Market Street.
The fire department, with the latest in motorized fire equipment, made numerous runs that winter and Reps Furniture Co. was unfortunately one of those runs. This fire caused Reps to make the last move-to the present location at 510 Market Street in the Spring of 1930. Since that time Reps Furniture Co. has made many changes and improvements, continually keeping up with the times, always including the most modern fixtures and furnishings.
Shortly after 1950 Reps expanded their facilities to include the space occupied by the Regent Shoe Co. at 508 Market. Reps again expanded to the space occupied by the Sanitary Meat Market, finally make Reps the sole occupant of the Dare Building Along with expansion, all the services of modern business have been continually up-dated. One such department, the skilled service department, includes men with the technical and mechanical know-how to provide the ultimate in expert installation, service and care for everything Reps sells.
Continued addition of services free delivery, credit arranged and carried on the premises, gift wrapping, decorating consultants, free parking, all the conveniences that make shopping most enjoyable hove been added to Reps list of services. In reflecting on 83 years of continued service, much is learned, even more recalled. History is important, it portrays the way of progress. The future is even more important since progress is made by improving upon the past and the continued betterment of services, stock and facilities.
We like to think, upon reflecting, that we have progressed in the forward direction with Parkersburg and West Virginia. We look forward to many more years of continually growing hand-in-hand, with Parkersburg and West Virginia as they progress toward a second Centennial in 2063. Reps FURNITURE CO. Furnishing Homes with Quality 510 MARKET 485-4458
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