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Here is part of the History of Valley Hardware as it was told to me:

 

John C.Burns (I think the C stands for Caleb) started a company called the John C. Burns Co. in 1897. It was the front part of the building. In 1919 Mr. Burns added the second part of the building. I am not sure of the year, but John C. sold the business to his son, Harry Burns and Craigton Tabb..I was told by my uncle Linden that Harry's mother and Mrs. Tabb could not get along so Harry told Mr. Tabb to buy out his half of the store. Evidently Mom and Wife kept telling them how to run the business.

In 1924 Craighton purchased the half that Harry owned and changed the name to Valley Hardware. In 1929 the Great Depression hit. Mr Tabb had borrowed the money to buy the store from the Bank of Charles Town. The merchandise in the store became almost worthless. A bucket that might have been purchases for 50 cents and may have been selling fot 75 cents would not sell because nobody could afford to pay for it. Prices had to drop below cost to get rid of the merchandise.

Mr. Tabb went to the Bank of Charles Town and threw the keys down on the desk and said: Your are now in the Hardware business. The bank said: Hold on. We do not need another business going under. The Bank of Charles Town told him that they would finance him as long as he needed to, if he would keep the store. He agreed and with the help of R.D.McKee (his main wholesaler located in Hagerstown Md. at the time) he was able to keep the store going. They gave him merchandise and told him to pay as he could. He finally paid everyone off in the 1960's.

My Uncle, Linden Bush purchased the Valley Hardware business from Mrs. Craighton Tabb after Mr. Tabb died in 1973. He had worked for Mr. Tabb and managed the business after he returned from World War II in the 40's. He owned the business for 11 years until he became 70 yrs. old. After he paid it off he decided to retire. He asked me (I am his nephew) if I wanted to buy it and I said yes, but I have no money. This was in 1984. He financed it and I made him a monthly payment till I paid it off. The building was owned by the Heirs of John C. Burns until I bought it around 1995. It has been a good business overall.

By the way. I don't know how many of you know, but the building has been sold. It was purchased by Liz McDonald at Dandridge Realty. I am in the process of moving everything out of the building. Most everything is almost gone. The cabinets on both sides of the walls were left to Liz with the intention of her leaving them there. The cabinets on the walls are older than the store, we think. They have drawers that have porcelain name plates with drug names on them which tells me they came out of a drug store. Liz has a restoration company restoring the whole building. I am sure it will be beautiful when completed.

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