Garver Brothers Department Store, Strasburg Ohio
The Garver Brothers Store is a major visual landmark in the small community of Strasburg. Its remarkable full three stories and 35 yard facade tower over the main commercial street of this "quiet country trading place", and reflect the unusually visionary marketing concepts of its builders, G.A. and Rudy K. Garver. They were the sons of a small mercantile businessman, Philip A. Garver, who began in a small 1½ story log structure in 1866. After a fire destroyed an 1875 commercial block in 1902, the brothers planned and constructed what was touted as the "World's Largest Country Stores." The range of products the new building housed was far wider than the usual general store and as shown in the 1908 Atlas included piano, curtain, drug, dry goods, hardware, carpet, shoe, queensware, clothing, house furnishing, furniture, and grocery departments.
It is, in fact, comparable to the present mall marketing concept. As a consequence, the firm served a truly regional area, drawing its customers from a 300-400 mile radius. The company also had innovative sales techniques within the stores including a pneumatic tube cash and charge carrier system.
The Garver Brothers Store is a 3 story rectangular brick building 100 feet wide and 120 feet deep.
The facade is divided into 3 bays, The central bay of the first story is an arched stone entrance done in the Romanesque style. The wooden frame double doors are set within the recessed archway. Flanking the entrance are pairs of large-paned show windows. The upper portion of the show windows are sub-divided into smaller panes by vertical mullions,
Each of the two upper floors on the facade has rusticated stone belt coarses which coincide with the sills and lintels of the windows, The windows are rectangular and have 1/1 double hung sash.
The cornice features a parapet wall with a beltcoarse of corbeled brick work and a central bay which is slightly higher than the flanking walls. It has 3 carved stones which read "1866", "Garver" and "1902".
The side elevations are irregularly pierced by segmental arch windows with stone sills and double hung sash.
The interior of the building is a wooden post and beam structure, except on the second and third floors where steel I-beams are substituted for wooden beams. Each floor has commercial space with high pressed-tin ceilings. To the rear of the first floor is a 15'x95' balcony. The stores originally had a pneumatic tube cash and charge system with a cashier in the basement. The tubing has been disassembled but remains within the building.
A rectangular concrete block addition was appended to the rear of the building sometime after the initial construction to house a grocery department.