Montgomery county's early day landmarks is no more. Stennett's general
merchandise store, built in 1880 of native limestone quarried near the
store site, was destroyed Tuesday morning by fire.
|Cause of the fire was
undetermined, but firemen said it may have been caused by an over
With the exception of the basement, building and contents were a total
loss. The two -story building was completely gutted, with three of
the four walls left standing. No estimate of total damage was
available, although the loss was partially covered by insurance.
fire was discovered shortly after 7:30 Tuesday morning and had gained
tremendous headway by the time Elliot and Red Oak fire departments arrived
on the scene.
impetus to the blaze were several large drums of oil which burned --- one
of them exploding after firemen arrived. A shed located in the rear
of the store was partially burned.
Now owned by Floyd A. Baker, the store carried a general merchandise
line, including groceries, household and farm wares, and was the only
store in the Stennett community.
69 years ago this spring for the late Henry Light by Contractor
Jesse Fate, the store once served as the hub of an enterprising
|which included as elevator, coal yard, depot, several homes,
school and, other buildings, --- postmaster. He operated the store
for several years, selling it to Harry Lamb and Gilbert Hough.
They in turn sold the store to Walter Street and
the next change in ownership found M. P. McCullock in charge.
In 1904 the store was sold to Walter E. Draper, now of Huntington Beach,
California, who by a trick of fate arrived in Red Oak on a visit from
California just the day before the fire. Mr. Draper operated the
store for seven years, and during that time in Stennett served as
postmaster, station agent, mayor, hog and grain buyer and in other
capacities. He was later Montgomery county treasurer for two terms, from
Draper sold the Stennett store in 1911 to Gene Moore, who later
disposed of half-interest to a Mr. Kreitizburg. The
latter later turned back his half interest to Mr. Moore, who sold
the business to Ed Good and Frank Good. Next owner was the
Farmers Mercantile company of Red Oak and progressive owners therafter
included Leonard Carlisle, Tom Ballard, L. Hughes, Hank Ellis and
the present owner, Floyd A. Baker.
Express is grateful to Mr. Draper and Mrs. Russell Rea of
Red Oak for much of the data on the history of the Stennett Store.
Mrs. Rea is a granddaughter of the original owner, Henry Light.