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HISTORY UP IN SMOKE


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From the Feb. 5, 2020 issue
of The Journal

By Richard Harris
   To say Buena Vista lost some history when two buildings burned at the corner of Sixth Avenue and McDuffie Street last Tuesday, January 28 is an understatement. The historic structures have been through various owners, housed many businesses, and provided a wide variety of services and entertainment to the people of Buena Vista and Marion County for more than 100 years.
   We don't have an exact date for their construction, but it is believed to be in the late 1800s, most likely in the 1890s.

   We felt a need to not only report on the destruction of the buildings, but also on their history. However, readers please note that this is a newspaper story written under deadline. We have not completed an exhaustive research of the buildings/businesses, so this article is not meant to be a comprehensive historical account. Those with more information or memories are welcome to share them with our readers by sending Letters to the Editor (or just get them to us if you'd rather we organize them and share them).
   The largest building located on the corner (most recently the home of Baxter Paint Center) was originally the J. Gordon Lowe Grocery Store. Jay Lowe, 66, is the grandson of J. Gordon Lowe. He's been either working at or running Farmers & Merchants Warehouse located just across the street since around the age of 21 when he finished college.
   "It's just very sad," he said. "Those buildings had been there for so long and were two of a small number of two-story buildings in the downtown area."
   One of the businesses later located in the building was C.D. (Charles) Webb Grocery, which was there from 1938 to 1962, according to the late Mr. Webb's son ... The rest of the story.