Webb Hardware Store
The kind souls of Webb Hardware
Compliments of Juanita Agan
The Minden Press-Herald
As I drive down "Front" street as we called it back then in the thirties and forties, I look at the building on the corner of Union and Front street (today you know that street as "Main Street"), just across the street from the location of Hibernia Bank. It has seen several tenants in the last few years, but it will always be the site of Webb Hardware to me. Do you remember how Webb Hardware looked inside? I loved to go there and browse through all three floors and look at the furniture, the cooking utensils, the china and the crystal, the linens, and all the other accessories that helped furnish a house and make it a home.
As you walked in the door off "Front" Street you were in a hardware store.
Glass doors on each side of the room held an assortment of bolts and nuts, and
screws of all sizes and kinds.
Further back there was paint, all kinds of paint. And there was anything that you might need from a hardware store. In the back right hand corner of the first floor was the office.
For many years the pretty black haired girl that took your payment on your account was Miss Doris Monzingo.
Later she was Mrs. Doris Lomax. And also there was Walter White who also worked with the accounts.
Mr. Life WAS Webb Hardware to me – he showed and sold furniture, he arranged credit terms and of course he did the purchasing. Perhaps the most memorable of the clerks there would be George and Inez Lorraine.
Mrs. Lorraine had been my Sunday School when I was thirteen. Later she had
taught my daughter at about the same age.
It was a pleasure to have her show you the pretty patterns of china, of crystal, and all the many things that brides would love to receive as wedding presents.
The gift shop was on the second floor of the store, just a portion of the second floor.
It was there, as a bride-to-be that I selected my china, my crystal, and the other accessories that would enable me to set a beautiful table. She was so helpful in guiding me in my selection and then when the customers came in to select a gift she helped them buy something that I wanted.
There was so much beautiful furniture there.
At one time they also handled kitchen stoves and other appliances for the home. My first purchase for the new home was a Magic Chef range.
I had owned a small apartment size range that was adequate for just my mother and me, but now that I had acquired a husband there would be more cooking and in larger quantities.
Mr Life gave me a set of cookware when I purchased the stove. Already he had sent us a beautiful Sterling Silver Sandwich tray. Back then almost all pieces were solid sterling silver. I was not aware of this until the time when silver prices escalated and there was a rash of thievery.
Then I noticed that on the back of the twelve or fourteen trays of various sizes there was the mark of Sterling Silver. Back then a pair of silver candlesticks cost $5.00 - and these were good heavy weight silver candlesticks.
At one end of the second floor was an array of wall mirrors. I loved to look
at all the accessories and often wished for some of them.
In fact I admired a mahogany framed large mirror so much that I told my mother how much I would like to have it.
When my husband of less than a year asked her what he could get me for a Valentine’s gift she mentioned the mirror. At least one of the clerks knew which one I had coveted.
Today that mirror hangs over my Duncan Phyfe sofa in the living room - 54 years later.
There was a section of nothing but lamps - some of them fashioned like the old fashioned hand painted globe lamps - sort of the "Gone with the Wind" era. I still have two of these that I bought there in the late 1940s.
The bedroom suites were so pretty and Mr. Life offered me a suite at a really good price. He had ordered it for someone else but they had bought one before this one arrived.
It was solid mahogany and it is still one of my proudest possessions. Along with the bedroom suites there was a great selection of Beauty Rest Mattresses. There were many Tell City dining room sets. I still use the one I bought almost a quarter century ago in my breakfast area.
Lifetime of Purchases
People say they have Early American furniture, or period furniture, or French
Provincial style furniture. I often say that everything I have is either early
Webb Hardware or early attic.
The most important thing about my purchases there is the fact that it was quality furniture and will last my lifetime and be passed on to the next generation.
I had already bought Mersman mahogany tables in about 1941, and they are still in perfect condition. I have enjoyed the drop leaf table that I use as a console.
There was furniture in every nook and cranny all the way to the third floor. In the back of the first floor just past the office area that was a section that was devoted to garden tools and it was there that we purchased our hoe, shovel and rake for our yard.
When I look at the Lazy Boy recliners that I bought there over eighteen years
ago, I think of the wonderful people that worked there and the care they took
with your wishes.
Their advice was always good and you could trust their opinions. When I first started buying furniture there in the early forties just after I had gone to work at Andress Motors Company they opened an account for me.
I paid them monthly and they charged me no interest. I can still see the sofa that was on sale in the window in January 1949 as I passed by.
That sofa is in my living room today – 54 years after Webb Hardware delivered it.
There were others who worked there – Doc Gibson who was so helpful in the
stove section. Mr. L. E. Davis worked there, along with Mr. John Watkins - later
John married my Home Ec teacher, Miss Elouise Sanders, and Mrs. Margie Carson,
in the china and crystal area.
Almost all the old stores in Minden have changed now, but in memories I can still recall the wonderful people who worked there, the products that they sold and how proud I was to acquire some of the things they sold.
My memories are like the beads on a rosary. In my quiet times, and today there are many quiet times, I count them off as I remember the people who are now gone who had such an influence on my life.
Growing up in Minden has left me with many wonderful memories of good friends and of the old stores we frequented.
Don’t you agree?
Juanita Agan has lived in Minden since 1935. Her column appears Wednesdays in the Minden Press-Herald. She may be reached at 377-2050.
Submitted by John Quade
This picture of the interior of Webb Hardware was taken during the 1930s. Pictured from left to right are Edward Davis, John Watkins, Lawson Davis and Walter White. Webb hardware was in business from the 1890s until the 1980s. They sold sporting goods, hardware, furniture, and building supplies. The gift shop was located upstairs. This was also where the bridal register was located. Everyone knew the store phone number was 2121. Pictured below are Sandra Gray and Douglas Simolke selling a Grig ad to one of the Webb Hardware executives.
The "Webb Hardware Executive" pictured in the 1953 Grig
Mr. Will Life, owner of Webb Hardware.
He was my Father's (Mr. Rollin 'Froggie' Williams, Jr.) uncle.
Submitted by Ann Mays Harlan
From the Minden City Cemetery, I found the following grave markers listed in Cemetery Inscriptions of Webster Parish, La. Vol II. by John C. & Wanda V. Head.
Elois Sanders Watkins born 18 Dec. 1910 died 12 Dec. 1985 and Clyde Toadvin Watkins born 01 Jan. 1974 died 22 Mar. 1974 are interred in the E section of the Minden City Cemetery. Was he called John? Or was his name also John?
One William Bryan Life born 23 Jun 1887 died 21 Oct. 1972 is found in Section C. next to Lola Scruggs Life born 28 Dec. 1897 died 23 May 1960. On the other side of Mr. Life is Johnnye David Life born 13 March 1894 died 13 Jun. 1966. Also in the life plot is Bernie A. Life born 05 Aug. 1896 died 03 June 1952. There is John Life (no date of birth who died 26 July 1940.) and Arthur Ritchie Life born 22 Nov. 1897 died 07 Feb. 1990.
Lawson Edward Davis is found in Section G of the Minden City Cemetery in section G. He was born 08 Feb. 1888 and died 29 Dec. 1981. He married Ruth Stewart Davis who was born 26 June 1889 and died 26 July 1983. Also buried in the family plot is Elnora Davis Quade born 28 April 1919 died 30 April 1936.
Rollin Williams is interred in Section B Southwest & West. He was born 30 Jan. 1885 died 17 Mar. 1950. Buried next to him is Lillian D. Williams born 19 Mar. 1890 died 22 June 1984. Next to her is Inf. Williams son of David and Jo Williams died 17 Sep. 1950. The last grave is for Allen Williams son of R & L Williams born 4 Aug. 1919 died 10 May 1920.
J. Walter White has a marker in section K, born 14 April 1907 no death date, his wife Doris Dye White was also born 14 April 1907 died 30 Dec. 1994. Interred next to her is their son Col US Army Vietnam Chaplain James W. White Jr. born 24 July 1937 died 02 March 1992.
Marjorie Lites Carson is interred in the Gardens of Memory Cemetery in section 1, Garden of Faith, row 2. She was born 4 April 1912 and died 29 Sep. 1999. She has a double marker with James Marshall Carson born 18 Aug. 1909 died 20 Nov. 1974. Her parents are interred nearby. Reuben Emory Lites born 6 April 1885 died 27 Dec. 1964 and Maggie Thompson born 7 Jan. 1888 died 28 Dec. 1962. There is also a grave for Hartford. Lites born 29 Aug. 1909 died 28 Sep. 1997. He was a Sgt. in the U.S. Army during WWII.
Ernest Dave "Doc" Gipson was born 11 April 1909. He is interred in the Garden of Memories on row 14, section 1 Garden of Prayer.
Will Life was the sole owner of Webb Hardware per Ann Mays Harlan.
Pearce Jamieson was my uncle, my mother’s younger brother and was named after
his maternal grandmother, Lelia McLemore Pearce.
Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958
Claire Turner Fussell, Class of 1965
This is confusing to me. The flooring has not been removed from the Webb Hardware building. This building is still “in tact.” A couple of years ago the lumber yard/warehouse building behind Webb Hardware was demolished. This building was across the alley from and part of Webb Hardware. I suspect her flooring is from the building that was demolished.
Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958
First of all, Judy, I'm curious... anywhere near Vivian in North Caddo Parish? That's my hometown and we plan to build our retirement home somewhere in that area (or just across the line in Texas) after my husband retires in September 2008. I still have a lot of relatives in that area that I visit when I can and we have reunions there annually.
There WAS a picture on the Minden Memories site taken inside Webb Hardware. In fact there was more than one... I remember two. I wish I could remember who submitted the pictures and who was identified in them but can't remember now. I'm sorry I can't tell you more than that but perhaps some of your other readers will have copied them. What is strange is how well I remember at least one of them. If I were an artist, I could draw it and the people for you. :-) If I remember correctly, there was one unidentified customer in the picture.
I just thought of something... is it possible that the archives in Shreveport or LSU or wherever you get some pictures from had those pictures? Possible, huh?
Judy, I only moved to Minden in 1958 and left when we married in 1961 but I spent a lot of time in the "gift shop" upstairs in Webb Hardware. They carried stationery products that I LOVED to just enjoy viewing and buying... buying when I saved up enough allowance. Every time we had a gift to buy for someone, up to that gift shop I would go and buy a photo album, stationery, baby book or whatever was appropriate for the occasion. In fact, my own "All My Life" book and the two of the same that I bought for my children were bought there. Sherry, that is where I bought "My HIM Book", among others. Remember... it is the one from which the page on your site came from... my book of "hims". :-) Yes, I'm a paper NUT! and lost a good portion of a room full of stationery from all over the world in our home in New Orleans due to Katrina. Katrina also got the three "All My Life" books. :-(
One thing I loved about Webb Hardware was their wooden floors and the wooden display tables. Where so many of the other stores had linoleum or tiles at that time, Webb Hardware still had the old wood flooring. I liked the way the stairs creaked when I would go upstairs and it always seemed rather spooky to me but I loved it for what I knew I would find up there! Those ladies that worked up there would probably say to each other, "There comes that Holt girl again." lol I don't remember their names but they were very friendly and we got to know each other fairly well.
Judy, I wish you well in your search and would love to know how things work out for you. Please keep my address.
Linda Holt Moorehead, CLass of 1961
Janice Landreum Bryan, Class of ____
I would be grateful if you would tell all the wonderful
people from Minden how much we appreciate the information and pictures they sent
along about Webb Hardware. You can be certain that we will visit the store the
next time we're in the area.
We have been sharing Webb history with friends of ours who
would have an interest. One man, Homer McGill, now works at Centenary Hardware
in Shreveport. For many years, he worked at Ogilvie Wholesale Hardware and
called on Webb Hardware. He said that when he married Mr. Willis insisted that
he buy furniture at cost plus tax from the store.
The man installing our floors says that the wood came from
Webb Hardware beams. We suppose he means Webb's warehouse.
Sherry, thanks again to you and everyone else for the
wonderful help. It did so much to help make our house a home.