Fredericktown Postcard 1940

A postcard from around 1940 presented a view of the downtown Fredericktown business district on North Main Street. The original image was photographed from the intersection of College Street.

FREDERICKTOWN -- In 80 years, the skyline of the north end of downtown Fredericktown has changed considerably, though the essentials remain.

Judging by the cars in this postcard printed by the Dexter Press in Pearl River, New York, the photo was taken around 1940.

Most recognizable is the grain mill, still in operation after over a century. According to Caldwell's 1896 map of Fredericktown, the large white building just right of the mill, which has long been gone from that spot, was originally the meeting hall for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which came to the area in the 1850s.

Downtown Fredericktown

Several buildings are gone or have changed significantly in this current image of downtown Fredericktown. Key features remain, though, to make it identifiable.

On the left edge of the postcard image is the block of Italianate brick commercial buildings built by David Struble in 1875 after a disastrous fire wiped out the wooden-framed buildings on that spot. The only major cosmetic change after 143 years is that the upper story of the northern end of the building was at some point taken down.

I recall climbing up on top of the first story roof of that section of the building in 2007 when I worked for the Mount Vernon News. I was on assignment interviewing Fredericktown artist Spence Hoeflich, who was painting a mural for the Fredericktown bicentennial on the exposed wall of the tall part of the building.

I invited then 80-something-year-old News photographer Virgil Shipley to climb up there with me while I interviewed Hoeflich. Virgil gave me a few choice words and remained on the sidewalk.

Struble had a drug store in this building, which later became Fink's Drugstore, and even later, Montenery's Pharmacy.

Today, Hometown Gifts occupies the lower level of the building. The next couple of buildings on the west side are gone now, occupied by the newer First Knox Bank building, while the east side of the street (or at least the part visible in this post card) remains a little more intact.

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