Part Three


Submitted by "Anonymous Montgomery County Angel"


Stennett Store

Razed by Blaze Tuesday Morn

Historic Building Was Early Day County Landmark

Red Oak Express 17 March 19-9


     One of 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 heated stove.

    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.

    The 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.

    Giving 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.

    Built 69 years ago this spring for the late Henry Light by Contractor Jesse Fate, the  store once served as the hub of an enterprising village,

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 1918-22.

     Mr. 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.

    The 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.