NoD: Louisa's Wellman Hardware Epitomizes Victorian Architecture of Small Kentucky County Seat

Commercial District - Louisa, Ky.
Wellman Hardware - Louisa, Ky.
"Since 1879 because of you" reads the sign in front of the Wellman Hardware Store in the Louisa Commercial Historic District, though the Lawrence County business has been in different hands over its 130-plus year history.


The store was established by Augustus and Thomas Snyder. Thomas had arrived in Louisa in 1872 earning his keep primarily blacksmith shop but also engaging in general merchandise. The younger Augustus followed in 1876 from the family home in Barboursville, West Virginia and began to learn the blacksmithing trade from his elder brother. In 1879, they began to operate a hardware store which was finally incorporated some twenty years later. Both of the Snyder brothers became active in local civic and business activities, with Augustus Snyder spending a number of years as Louisa's progressive mayor. During his term, Louisa was much improved with the paving of its streets and other public improvements.

Commercial District - Louisa, Ky.
Wellman Hardware - Louisa, Ky.
The hardware store, sold to E.E. Shannon around the turn of the century, remains in one of Louisa's oldest commercial buildings and remains its oldest operating business. In 1919, Shannon sold the store to Lafe Wellman who renamed the now-Wellman Hardware Store. The exterior of this National Register-building has remained the same (sans a couple of additions not affecting the Main Street frontage), its original trim still present; the interior, however, assumed that of a modern hardware-store in the late 1980s.

The National Register form describes the building's "salient features of original wood-framed storefronts, prominent ornamental metal molds at the second-story windows, and a pressed metal modillion cornice" to aptly conclude that "the building epitomizes the Victorian commercial architecture of a small county seat in Kentucky."

Sources: Connelley's History of KentuckyDaily Independent; NRHP
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