New Years – New Chapter for 150 W. Main Street

“Economy Store will move to the Wetzler building” was the announcement made almost 90 years ago (Daily Eagle 20 Nov. 1930). “This new location was once the Majestic Theater, but has been renovated and redecorated inside and out, making it one of the most attractive and modern places. The facade is one of the most beautiful in the business district.

Our article which appeared here on December 12, 2021 introduced the first chapter in the history of the building (1879-1930), and readers learned that Phil Bauman was the building’s original owner. After his death in 1901, it was purchased by the Wetzler family for $ 20,000 and became the home of the Lancaster Daily Eagle. In addition, The Exhibit “moving picture” theater opened in the building in 1908 and became the Majestic Theater in 1914. After the theater closed in 1930, the second chapter of the building began.

Meanwhile, in 1920, a US Army surplus store had opened at 120 S. Broad St. in Blair-Martens Block. By 1923 it had become the US Army Store and moved to 124 N. Broad St. Dave Levinson of Columbus was the store owner and Fred Hammack was its manager. In 1927, it was announced that the store was moving to 137 W. Main St., the room formerly occupied by Burk Bros. Drug Store (Daily Eagle February 23, 1927). “This business is not new to Lancaster, having been located here for six years, but the name will be changed to The Economy Store. It is part of a chain of seven stores located in as many cities in different parts of the state… they will carry popularly priced clothing and furniture for men and boys, as well as shoes, boots and rubbers.

When The Majestic closed in 1930, it was announced that the theater space had been “redeveloped and redecorated inside and out” and The Economy Store was going from 137 to 150 W. Main St. Fred Hammack was still the manager when they celebrated their 15th anniversary. anniversary in 1935. After the deaths of Wetzler’s sons, Edward and Charles, the Wetzler Building was sold in a 1937 Sheriff’s Sale to Tom Wiseman for $ 43,000.

Ralph Dittoe was the contractor hired to renovate The Economy Store in 1951. He gave the building a new storefront and said in his ad: “This modern and inviting storefront marks 30 years of progress. The volume of business in recent years has required more space and major renovations and decoration. The store officially reopened on November 22, 1951. “Hundreds of visitors passed through the store on Friday to inspect the new establishment. The store “looked more like a flower shop than a clothing store, as dozens of supporters sent bouquets and baskets of flowers.”

The Economy Store, 150 W. Main St., remodeled the interior of their store and had a grand opening on November 23, 1951. This interior view appeared in the EG for November 22, 1951. The caption read that the 30-year-old men's clothing establishment was now one of the most modern in central Ohio.

Meanwhile, Leo Baughman graduated from LHS, served in the military for four years, and then ran a Luckoff store in New Lexington. In 1958 he was ready to return to Lancaster to operate his own store. He purchased the men’s clothing store at 127 N. Columbus St. which had been owned and operated by Arney Heft since 1936 (February 26, 1958 EG). He liquidated Heft’s stock, remodeled and opened LE Baughman’s Men’s Wear on April 18, 1958.

About three years later (November 16, 1960 EG) came the announcement: “On March 1, Leo Baughman will take over Economy Store. Dave Levinson retired on April 1, 1961 after 50 years in the men’s clothing business (40 years in Lancaster).

The LE Baughman Thrift Store, located at 150 W. Main St., opened on March 17, 1961 with the motto “Lancaster Owned and Operated with Lancaster in Mind”. His pledge to the people of Lancaster was imprinted in the EG of March 16, 1961 and included among other statements: Make clothes on which exporters, importers and distributors make huge profits. I will not distort any article advertised to mislead or deceive the public.

Leo E. Baughman purchased the Economy store at 150 W. Main St. where it held its grand opening on March 17, 1961. This photo of Duke Ellis was provided by the Fairfield County Heritage Association.

I will stand behind every item purchased from my store – if it is not satisfactory, please allow me to adjust it. I want.”

Readers can contact Harvey at [email protected]

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