As we settle into our new space, Audra is inventorying items that had been stored elsewhere. The other day she found this gem, apparently a paper weight, from the turn of the 20th century.

In the early 1890s, three brothers, Joseph, Newton and John Fletcher began selling dry goods out of a store at 430 Trade Street. Soon they had a second store, known as The Bee Hive, at 424 North Liberty Street. They installed their sister, Cora, on the second floor of the Trade Street building, where she made and sold hats.

Next to her space they did custom tailoring, guaranteeing “a fit every time.” And eventually they began manufacturing some clothing lines, the best known of which were Big Winston Overalls. Big Winstons would be a commonplace throughout the region until the demise of the company in the early 1950s.

The original Fletcher Brothers store at 430 Trade Street, as photographed in the late 1890s.

Scanned from Headlight, a magazine published by the Norfolk & Western Railroad, ca. 1899.