1910 Norwich, PA: Department Store

photo credit: Donald Hull Collection

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1909: Joseph Hull's Department Store, Norwich, PA

In 1908, the towns of Norwich and Betula were thriving communities due to the sudden expansion of the lumber industry, mainly the Goodyear Lumber Co.  Joseph Hull's department store was said to be the largest in northeast Pennsylvania.  It had three large entrance doors and at the side was an enclosed leading platform large enough to accommodate three railroad box cars.  At first the railroad came from Keating Summit.  Later the Pennsylvania Railroad was extended from Colegrove, or Hamlin as the settlement was called at the corner of West Bank Road to Red Mill Creek.  The Hull Store furnished employment for the children of Joseph Hull: Charles, Harry, John, Norman, and Lorn.  May Gallup also worked as a clerk.  She married Charles Hull after her divorce from Herman Adler.  Bertha Jackson was also a clerk.  The store carried all kinds of merchandise: dry goods, hardware, feed, ect, and kept two tailors busy making clothes to order.  It was equipped with overhead cash carriers, as in large city department stores.  Charles Hull was the manager, he kept two Cadillac limousines with chauffeurs to transport his lady customers.  They were picked up at their homes, taken to the store for shopping and then returned to their homes with their purchases.  It was said that the Hull Store drove everyone in Norwich Township out of business except Charles Anderson.  When the store opened its doors in 1908, the Smethport band played all day.  Flowers and gifts were given to the women customers.

At the height of activity in Norwich, there were two motion picture houses open daily, three pool rooms, three ice cream parlors, five restaurants, and three grocery stores owned by Frank Oviatt, Roland Pierson, and the Grisell Bros.  These grocery stores went bankrupt after the opening of the Hull Store.  Fred Petruzzi operated one of the pool halls.

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2001 Norwich Hull's Department Store: Norwich, PA

photo credit: Ross Porter Collection

See this location in 1910

go around back of storego inside back of storenorth on Mainenter storeanother view of store frontsouth on Main