Silas Griffith built the tallest structure in southern Vermont in 1862 which was indeed a Department Store, complete with a lumber yard on the property. He subsequently sold the business, but not the land, to his brothers, who later sold to the McIntyres. In May of 1903 a severe explosion of the gas machine, which was used to provide lighting to the building, blew out the north side of the building. Fortunately no one was killed in the explosion, but one man was injured.
Abe Rosen’s General Store 1919-1959
Abe was one of three sons of Louis d.1932 and Sima Rote Rosen born in Raigrod, in what was then known as Russo-Poland. Louis was a Rabbi and first came to Montpelier where he and Abe are shown in the 1900 US census. Later Louis opened a dry goods and grocery store which has now been razed in Center Rutland on the corner of the main road. Abe was the middle son. He came to America, by himself, via Glasgow Scotland in 1897 when he was 13 years old. In 1910 Abe married Pauline, Weidman b.1879 who had immigrated from Kreuzburg near Riga Latvia to New York in 1895 .He was 26 and she was 30 years old. Abe had three daughters, Anna, Cecilia, and Edith.
His brother Mike died young, but fathered six children who grew up in Rutland: Dave, who founded Rosen & Burger scrap yard; Irving, who moved to NYC and made a fortune in the textile business, Sidney, who lived and ran a store in Brandon, Harry(died young) and daughters,Clara. m.Eisen and Sarah m. Rafael. His other brother, Barney, owned the Danby Four Corners store in the early 1900’s and ran a store in West Rutland with Louis Rote Rosen’s brother Abraham Rote Rosen. They eliminated the Rote part of their name early in the 1900’s.
Abe’s original store was at the foot of church hill by the “triangle” in a three story building next to Smead’s Tin Shop. Smead owned the building and maintained an office on the third floor, the Rosens lived on the second floor, and Abe had his store on the ground floor. This building burned to the ground in 1918 in an accidental fire caused by a cigar Mr. Smead was smoking.The cigar rolled from the ashtray and ignited papers on Smead’s desk. Anna Rosen remembered seeing the smoke rise from the store from the front of the school house. She was six and all her birthday presents ,which her parents made her move from the dining room buffet which was saved, went up in the fire.
Abe was encouraged by Eugene McIntyre, a banker, who lived in Danby to buy the store (former S. L. Griffith store). Abe purchased the business and building for $1000.00 on January 10, 1919 and moved his family to the third floor apartment. This building had been Vermont’s first “skyscraper” and was the tallest building in Vermont until 1910. A porch wad added to the third floor of the building which has now been removed. Three floors of the building were used for mercantile purposes: the basement for pickled products, including pigs’ feet, the first floor for food items with a candy counter on the left side and canned goods on the shelves on the right. Cecilia ,the middle daughter, was in charge of ordering the candy. There was a pot belly stove in the center of the room. There was also a large “walk-in” refrigerator, originally an ice chest,a large wooden Edison type phone installed on the wall, on the first floor and the back part of the store was the clothing section, where all manner of garments were available including overalls, dresses, underwear, and foot gear. The right wing of the store originally housed the post office and later became the shoe department. The second floor was hardware, farm implements, and appliances, including toasters and radios. There was a kerosene pump on the front steps and after cars became prevalent a Texaco gas pump. A horse named Dan helped Abe make deliveries all over the mountain until he purchased his first truck.
The third floor was the apartment where the family lived until 1932 when Pauline took an apartment in NYC and Abe built the bungalow next to the Masonic Hall where he was a member. He especially enjoyed having a front porch where he could sit and rock. Abe and Pauline wanted their daughters to receive the best possible education. He always said “American girls could do anything”. Thus Pauline, who always wanted to return to New York, established an apartment in NYC in 1932. Abe would take the train from Danby to Grand Central to visit his family every ten days. When school was not in session, the family would return to the house on Main Street. On March 15, 1932 Edith, the youngest daughter, died of a strep infection, barely 6 weeks after moving to NYC. Cecilia attended Packer Collegiate Institute,(Packer) a private girls’ school and then graduated from Barnard College, class of 1937. She went on to receive her Master’s from Columbia in 1940 and became a teacher and a Professor of Speech at Queens College in NYC. She married Michael Strauss, a New York Times sports writer and columnist for more than 55 years. Anna, the eldest daughter, graduated from Skidmore College and received a Masters in Business from Columbia. Anna married Dr.Bernard Candib and managed his office located in Brooklyn New York.
Abe retired from actively managing the store in 1947 and rented the store to Anna’s , brother-in law David Candib, who operated the business into the early 1960’s. Cecilia inherited the store upon her mother’s death. After David ceased operation the building sat vacant until Cecelia sold it to Pearl S. Buck in 1969.