HOME » online historical archives » General Store »

General Store

Our little town has had as many as three general stores operating at the same time. We know of four buildings that were used for stores. Now, only our museum building is left.

The earliest store was operated by the Strang family in the building across the street from our museum. We don't know exactly when the Strangs became merchants, but we believe the present building was constructed in 1856. Many who pass through our town know this building as the "vine house", though we refer to Strang's Store offically as historic building number 2. The last proprietors were named Foster, so locals also call this building "Foster's Store", even though the store has been out of business since the mid-1960s. Esther Foster celebrated the 100th anniversary of her store building in 1956 and printed a pamphlet that she handed out. The building is presently unoccupied and in need of repair.

In 1885, the Masons bought the store building that stood next to Millburn Church and used it for their lodge hall. We believe that George Stewart and William Strang ran a store here for a number of years prior to that date. The building was demolished soon after a new lodge was built in 1955.

A number of merchants operated stores in the Sammy Smith house. This building is now a private residence.

Our general store museum building has a history of its very own. The first structure was built in 1862 by Richard Pantall and an addition was added a few years later. We believe that we operate Lake County's oldest continuously operating general store.

From 1864 to 1904, the store was the Millburn Post Office and Mr. Pantall was the Postmaster. Rural Free Delivery made many country post offices obsolete and prominent towns along the rail lines were used for new postal addresses.

Pantalls took into their home a young orphan, Edward Martin, who helped Mr. Pantall in the store. This relationship continued for twenty years, until Edward took over and operated the store himself for fifty more years. In 1958, Edward Martin retired, and leased the building to other merchants.

Ed. Martin was associated with this store for seventy years. His son Richard wrote his Memories of Martin's Gen'L Store to share with you.

We have a number of store items among our exhibits.

The store building was restored after fire caused $3,500 worth of damage in April, 1959.

On December 4th, 2001, an automobile left the roadway and crashed into the southwest corner of our museum building. Read the newspaper accounts or look at the staff photos.