Friday, March 12, 2010

Main Street Stories: Charles H. Allen Building

The building at 329 S. Main Street has housed a variety of businesses in its history, but it started out as a saloon. Charles H. Allen, of Pontiac, broke ground for his building in August 1899, and it took shape quickly. The Rochester Era reported on September 15th of that year that "brick has arrived and the laying of the same has commenced on the new Allen block."

Allen then applied to the village council for a liquor license, but was turned down until his bond was guaranteed, two weeks later, by David W. Butts and Philip Lomason. With the legalities satisfied and the building finished, the saloon opened in November 1899 and Allen moved his family from Pontiac to the upstairs rooms in his new business block.

Charles Henry Allen died in 1907 and his building next housed the drug store of Luel H. Smith. The Rochester Variety Store followed Smith's pharmacy, and was purchased in March 1922 by Leslie Aris. When Aris moved his dime store down the block around 1937, a Western Auto Store opened at 329 S. Main. Western Auto relocated to the Tienken Building in the early 1940s, and the Village China Shop replaced it for a time, followed by the Jan Nan Shop. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the building housed Joe's Barber Shop and a succession of beauty parlors. Today, the former Allen saloon at 329 S. Main is the home of the Sole Sisters shoe and accessory boutique.

The Charles H. Allen block celebrates its 111th birthday this summer.

This view of the Charles H. Allen block from the collection of Marjorie and the late Walter Dernier shows how the building looked about 1961, when it housed a barber and beauty shop.

1 comment:

  1. Love the nasty old highway streetlight in the photo... so much of an improvement today!