Because  You Asked . . . .

First Cars to be Sold in Sunbury

Cars Required Replacement of Mud Streets

A century ago Charles (Charlie) Wheaton owned the buildings from 21 thru 31 East Granville Street where he sold furniture and farm machinery. He hired Jim Furry to sell hardware for him. In the picture, the two story building with FURNITURE on it is 25 East Granville which now houses Coffee Antiques. It has a pressed tin front and very high ceilings.

Charlie sold hardware from the building just left of the furniture store and farm equipment from the far left building. These two buildings were later joined. L. J. Guidotti operated an electrical appliance shop followed by Hoke Electric. When Ed Hoke opened TruValue hardware and appliance store on North Columbus Street, Larry Hill open Hill's Drugs in the building. He sold to Dan Shaw who ran Shaw Pharmacy at this location until 1991 when he moved to 488 West Cherry Street and Weidner's Village Square Antique Mall took over the building.

Active in village politics, Wheaton encouraged the paving of the village streets. Automobiles were becoming popular and they did not work well on mud roads. The village began paving with bricks. In the photo above is a pile of large stones from the local quarry which were imbedded on the sides of the street to keep the layers of sand and bricks from shifting and make the curbs. The curbs are high but so were the old cars. Many times through the years people have complained about the high curbs, wanting them replaced. I watched the village work a long time to remove just one stone before they decided this was not to be. Unfortunately many of the brick streets, which were relatively maintenance free have been covered and now must be resurfaced on a regular basis.

In the early 1900s, Charlie decided cars were here to stay so he took four men with him and they brought the first five cars to Sunbury to sell. The event is recorded in this photo. No record of how they learned to drive is available. Cars needed gasoline and service so Wheaton opened a 'filling station' just left of the furniture store (31 East Granville) pictured above. Gas was pumped from the street. They sold Ford, Overland and Studebaker cars. Business was good. Around 1918, Ford decided only their cars could be sold by a dealer so Wheaton built a two story building to the right of the furniture building and it became the Ford dealership.

Soon the state passed laws governing the stations. Cars were no longer allowed to be filled from the street so a drive had to be provided. Restrooms (outhouses at this time) must be added. For privacy, the restrooms were not to be visible from the street nor were the men's and women's to be side by side - a design still used in many service stations. Wheaton's station failed on all accounts so he stopped selling gasoline. Dave Rosecrans opened a station in an old blacksmith's shop at 35 South Columbus Street. Wheaton continued to sell cars, hardware, furniture and farm equipment.

Charlie Wheaton married Daisy Green daughter of Lewis and Jerusha Ford Green (later when widowed she married Dr. Mann). The Wheatons had no children. During a trip to the south, Daisy fell in love with stucco buildings topped with red tile roofs so they applied these new trends to their home at 9 East Granville Street.  Previously owned by Joel Letts, this house became the home and office of Dr. Swickard and later Dr. Livingston. The Ed Hoke family lived there after Livingston moved to North Vernon. The Village of Sunbury bought the building to use for village offices. In 1983 the house was torn down to make way for the Municipal Building.

Wheaton's Ford building is owned by Marion Ackerman and houses the Print Shop. Wheaton's Furniture store became Sunbury Hardware owned by Mr. Irwin and operated by Walter Lenhart. Today Coffee Antiques rents the space from Ackerman.

All the land left of the Wheaton building once belonged to George Dennison. In this picture, the house just left of the Wheaton building belonged to Burt Moore in 1875. It was moved to 90 South Vernon to make way for the brick building which housed a mortuary, Delaware County Mutual which became Country Mutual, temporary village offices, a bookstore and now Jim Hildreth Insurance.

Left of the house are two buildings which once housed the telephone office and the home of the telephone operator, Lula Baker, and her husband, Jim, who also worked for the telephone company. The smaller was built in 1875 to house the Farmers Bank before the telephone office. It was replaced in 1956 with the brick building now on that site when the telephone company expanded.

Barely showing at the corner is the Jim Smith house which later was the home of Homer Fisher, the Sunbury School superintendent. It was removed to build the Sunbury Savings and Loan in 1966. This financial institution has changed names many times and is now Bank One.

As always, you comments are welcome.


More Pictures: Furry-Wheaton.jpg (162369 bytes)    
southsidesquare-600.jpg (76288 bytes) southsidesquare21966-600.jpg (73415 bytes) Shaws-1980.JPG (58395 bytes) antiquemall.1993-600jpg.JPG (91371 bytes)
April 4, 1922
Wheaton's Farm Machinery, Filling Station, Hardware, Ford Dealership, The Sunbury News
Hills's Drugs, 
Sunbury Hardware, Bob's Barber Shop
Jim Furry and Charlie Wheaton in front of new Ford dealership at 21 E. Granville Street 31 East Granville
Shaw Pharmacy
31 East Granville
Weidner's Village Square Antique Mall


southsidesquare4-1966-600.jpg (85297 bytes) coffees-600.JPG (77448 bytes) Kiggins-600.JPG (92194 bytes) Looking West along Granville Street 21-31E-Granville-600.JPG (96817 bytes)
Looking East in 1966
Sunbury Savings and Loan, Telephone Office,
Cook's Funeral Home,
Hill's Drugs
Sunbury Hardware
25 East Granville
Coffee Antiques
21 East Granville
Kiggins' Antiques
Weidner's Village Square Antique Mall, Ackerman's Blue Buildings, Municipal Building
37-35EGranville11-6-1980-600.JPG (63909 bytes) 37EastGranville-600.JPG (81660 bytes)   15 E-granville-600.JPG (133727 bytes) bob'sbarbershop-1966-600.jpg (129294 bytes)
37 East Granville housing Village offices in 1983 1993
Blessings Bookstore
  C. W. Wilson Dentist upstairs
The Sunbury News below
About 15 E. Granville Street
Bob's Barber Shop in 1966

. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(05/27/2006 )

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