Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lost: Buster Brown Shoe Store, Knighton Neighbor

A friendly correspondent shared with us notes from Tuesday's talk on W.C. Knighton held at Deepwood.

The architecture started, as it must, with the Capital National Bank.

Plenty has been written about that building and its relation to a model in Philadelphia.* But what about the building next door?

At top is a detail from an image at the State Library. We haven't found much yet about the "Buster Brown" store, but it's gone now. It would have fit it with the other brick two-story storefronts along Commercial and State streets.

Today, it's gutted, a drive-through window for a bank and a surface parking lot in back.

(For more on W. C. Knighton see our notes here.)

* Apparently there was some thought that the attribution of the general facade plan to Frank Furness was uncertain.  But as far back as 1960, writing in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians Lee Nelson compared the two designs and concluded C.S. McNally "appropriated the design" from Furness.  (JSAH, Vol. 19, No. 2 [May, 1960], pp. 57-61).


  1. Here's some history from the downtown historic district nomination form.

    Built around 1870 it was called the McCully Block.

    A couple of 1909 ads for "a boy about 15 years old to work in cigar factory. Apply at 125 n. Commercial."

    By the 1920s it was Buster Brown Shoes. Sometime around 1940 that store moved to State street, likely in the Schreiber/Klinger block.

    In the 1940s Shafer Leather goods occupied it. In 1948 it was remodeled into the facade we see today.

    The nomination form notes a Statesman piece from May 1st, 1976 that says it was a shell at that time.

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