Old Buildings and Stores

The building known as “Penny’s” – or “Downtown Florist” at the corner of East Main and S. Sandusky Sts. was built in 1893 by J. D. Cook to house his clothing store.  Mr. Cook bought the lot from Dr. L. B. Sperry for $4,100. early in the year; Charles Wolk built the building for $5,000; and Cook’s Clothing store opened in September.

Historian Bill Oddo chronicled a story about Mr. Cook as he reminisced in later years about his business success:  “A competitor opened a store across the street and started advertising good men’s suits at $9.50.  We came in with $9.48.  He reduced to $8.50, we to $8.48; he $7.50, we $7.48.  We then wired to a company to send us 100 men’s suits at $5.00.  They came and were of excellent quality.  We advertised them at $6.45.  The sale was a tremendous success.  The competitor folded up and left town.”
Cook’s carried clothing for the entire family in what came to be called the “Big Store”.  The business was sold in April, 1914.  The next owner moved across the street in 1927, into the east side of the ‘Ben Franklin’ store .

Historic Building of downtown Bellevue, the E M Wolf Building
The brick, 3-story building at 120-122 East Main bears the name “E M Wolf “ on its pediment. It was built by Emanuel M. Wolf as an elegant men’s clothing store in 1897. The Masonic Lodge rented the third floor for their lodge rooms until building their current lodge in the 1970’s.
The Bellevue Gazette reported the shop’s opening on Oct. 21, 1897... “The elegant new store of E.M. Wolf’s Sons was thrown open to the public for the first time on Friday evening last... and 1,000 people, in all, called during the evening.”
 The store was, with one exception, the largest single ‘business room’ in town. “In the front of the storeroom is the office of the Industrial Savings Loan Assn. It is provided with a large and well-built safe of the most approved pattern. Here Jos. E. Wolf, as Secretary of the Industrial Savings & Loan, will be pleased to meet all the patrons and friends of the company. A similar compartment in the rear of the room, will be used as the business office of the new firm, and will be presided over by Sol M. Wolf.”

Anthony P. Hasselbach bought the property at 106 S. West Street in April, 1905, for $4,000.00.
He immediately began to demolish the existing wood-frame building (which had housed Eisenhour’s Restaurant) to build a 2-story brick building to house his ‘saloon’, as reported in the Bellevue Gazette. In an April 16th article, the Gazette stated that “...Henry Flagler, the Standard Oil magnate and multi-millionaire at one time kept store there.” Historian Bill Oddo said, “Business growth in Bellevue began at that location, with the Harkness-Flagler connection.”

Plans changed as the building was being built and in the fall of ’06 it was announced that R. Haensler, groceryman and saloonist who occupied one room in the Tremont House for 26 years, would sell out his grocery stock and move his saloon business to the Hasselbach building. After leasing the building, he realized that it was spacious enough to house an expanded grocery business, so he put his son Edgar in charge of the grocery, with the assistance of Edgar’s brother Clarence; and Mr. Haensler continued to operate his saloon from the Tremont House.