Saturday, June 13, 2009

Main Street Stories: The W. Harvey Greene Building

The building at 311 S. Main currently houses a custom jewelry store, but for the first four decades of its history it was the location of a furniture and undertaking business. W. Harvey Greene began construction of the store in the summer of 1882 and the Rochester Era reported in August of that year that “the cellar-wall of Harv. Greene's new block is completed and brick-work will soon commence.” By the next spring, the Era was carrying advertising for Greene's Furniture Emporium at his “new brick store on Main Street.” Undertaking services were also available. (W. Harvey Greene was the son of Calvin H. Greene, the Avon Township man who commissioned an 1856 daguerreotype portrait of Henry David Thoreau that is now part of the National Portrait Gallery collection.)
In 1887, P.M. Woodworth announced in the Era that he was the successor to W. Harvey Greene and invited the patronage of his furniture and undertaking parlors, noting that the undertaking department furnished the free use of a hearse to customers. In 1896, Woodworth's widow took a partner and the business became known for a brief time as Woodworth & Lintz. In September of 1899, Woodworth & Lintz sold out to Thomas C. Severance, who advertised that W. Harvey Greene would once again be associated with the firm. Severance died in 1903 and his widow sold to Edward R. Metcalf in December of that year. E.R. Metcalf ran the furniture and undertaking business (adding a Ford automobile agency in 1910) in the 311 S. Main location until early 1911, when he left the state and sold to Dr. Vernor M. Spaulding.
Between 1920 and 1925, the building became the home of the Terry Sanitary Bakery. Terry was succeeded in 1931 by the Service Bakery, operated by C.C. Terrell, who remodeled the building. In May of 1936 the Clarion reported that 311 S. Main had been leased to Mrs. Edwin Behm, who held the grand opening of Behm's Dairy and ice cream parlor on May 23, 1936.
In the 1960s, 311 S. Main became home to David's Salon, which occupied the space for nearly three decades. In 1997, Paul R. Haig moved his custom jewelry business into the building and completed an award-winning restoration of the exterior, returning it to its 1918 appearance.
The W. Harvey Greene building celebrates its 127th birthday this year.

1 comment:

  1. Mr.& Mrs. Edwin Behm would be my Great Uncle and Aunt.