Harrison Brothers Oldest Hardware Store In Alabama
I had just finished a fabulous tour of the Alabama Constitution Village and had a couple of hours to kill so I asked our tour guide, Connie, if there’s anything else within walking distance I must see before leaving. She didn’t hesitate to point to the back of their village and say, “Yes! Harrison Brothers Hardware Store.”
I thought to myself, really? A hardwood store?
Connie explained it was the old hardwood store in the State of Alabama and had souvenirs that I may be interested in.
So, like the curious person I am and trusting the locals to give me good advice, I took a 2 minute stroll to the store.
I’m so glad I did!
The Harrison Brothers Hardware Store is on the Alabama Historical Registry. Here’s a picture.
The first thing that caught my eye was a massive hand cranked cash register. I was immediately drawn to it. I asked the clerk about it was told it is original to the store and not only does it still work, they actually use it. Here’s some interesting facts about it.
It’s 108 years old, bought in 1907 and sits in the same place it did back then.
Contains 4 drawers, each clerk having their own draw they are responsible for balancing.
Each drawer contains it’s own bell sound when opened so everyone can hear who’s drawer is open as well as it alerts the store clerk if someone opens it while they are in the back.
It displays the sales for the day in each window belonging to each drawer so the store owner can see how the sales are doing each day.
The marble on top of the wood was used for identifying counterfeit coins. When you tap the coins on the marble, it will ping if it’s real. It won’t ping if it’s not.
VIDEO: Here’s a video I took of the clerk sharing information about the cash register and the store.
VIDEO: Here’s another video made by the Alabama Tourism Department with a lesson on how the cash register works:
Everything above where an individual cannot reach, is store display of original product. It was accessed using the same system as you’d see in a library… a tall ladder attached to a railing.
Goods nestled up high are reached from tall rolling ladders and rope elevator that’s hand operated. Truly you’re stepping back 100 years when you visit this remarkable venue. I tell you, I found myself lost in history, imagining what it would have been like in 1907.
I found this display amusing. It was desk that contains old receipts, a ledger, calendar and invoices along with a miscellaneous mess that you’d expect to see on the desk of a hardware store owner. This desk is left untouched, just as the last Harrison brother left it.
I remember when I dad opened an appliance store back in the early 70’s, he’s take all receipts for the day as they came in and stick them on a nail post, just like shown here. It brought back memories.
Although it’s not used anymore as there was no safe way to keep kids from touching it, the pot bellied stove that warmed the store during the winter still stands.
Today Harrison Brother’s is filled with odds and ends that you’d expect to see in any gift store.
Harrison Brothers is more than a glimpse of old Huntsville. On one side of the store, a stack of antique biscuit jars are full of old-fashioned candies, marbles by the scoop, cast iron cookware. On the other side of the store, you’ll find locally crafted pottery and jewelry, garden gadgets, kids toys and gourmet food items.
It’s all just good ole fun if you ask me! I spent an hour in there just imagining, taking in this great historic landmark. I give it a two thumbs up and definitely worth the trip.
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Leave me a comment and share your thoughts! Have you been here? Have you been to a similar place? Would you like to go? I love to hear from you!
Don’t leave Huntsville until you’ve also visited Alabama Constitution Village and see where Alabama became a State. And… you’ve got to stop and reflect at The Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial on your way out of town.