The only ice supplier in Beckley, the company sent out horse-drawn wagons carrying blocks of ice that weighed 320 pounds. At each house, smaller blocks were cut and chipped off by hand and sold to customers.
The company continued delivering ice, at least in some capacity, until 1974.
In 1938, police had to be called to the store as "Free Chick Day" nearly caused a riot. The store promised free baby chickens (limit 25!) to anyone who came by.
"A mob of people surrounded the building that morning and crowded the doors such that they could barely be opened," the application states.
In 1946, the store held a competition called "Ike and Mike."
Purina wanted to prove that its feed would fatten a pig better than competing brands. So it held an eating contest, pitting two pigs against each other, one eating Purina feed and the other eating a competitor's feed.
The Purina pig won, and Beckley Feed and Hardware sold a record-setting 5.6 million pounds of Purina feed that year.
Robert Cannon, the chief code-enforcement officer for Beckley, said there are still some issues to be worked out, relating to nearby sidewalks and sewers, before demolition of the store can begin. He expects work to begin soon.
Jerime Dudding, the development manager for Paramount, would not comment on the company's plans. McIlvried, DiDiano and Mox, a Pittsburgh engineering and surveying firm that is working with Paramount, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Caperton has donated the building's sign, original blueprints and other documents to the Beckley Historic Landmarks Commission.
"The best use of any viable historic building is to repurpose it and reuse it for a new business," said Scott Worley, the chair of the Landmarks Commission. "I really have misgivings anytime a developer or any entity decides to tear down a historic structure ... . There's better purposes for that building. However, we have no say over the actions."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.