Fleeger-Withrow Inc.


The Fleeger-Withrow wallpaper store and Frankel’s Union Store were two of the many
 3rd Avenue stores inundated by the record-setting 1937 flood.


HUNTINGTON — Charles S. Fleeger grew up in an orphanage and later
was apprenticed to a shoe merchant in Butler, Pennsylvania,
 where he worked for nine years. Later he managed a small
department store owned by W.H. DeArme. Before
long DeArme and Fleeger decided to try their
 luck selling wallpaper and paint in the
 growing town of Huntington.

In 1912, the two men arrived in Huntington. They stayed at the old
Florentine Hotel, where they were advised to get in touch
with Thomas Garland, a prominent local merchant.
 On Garland’s advice they leased a building
under construction at 326 10th St

The two went to Pittsburgh, where they purchased merchandise
to be shipped downriver by riverboat, then went to
New York to buy more. When they returned to
 Huntington they learned that the riverboat
“City of Parkersburg” had sunk, carrying
down with it all their goods,
which weren’t insured.

They ordered more merchandise (directing that it be shipped by rail)
and finally opened their new store — just three weeks before the
1913 flood, which left the store a soggy mess. At this point,
 John W. Croll purchased DeArme’s interest, and the
store prospered until the arrival of the Depression
in 1929, which forced it to close in 1932.

Less than a year later, Fleeger and Frank R. Withrow,
 a former employee, reopened the store under a
 new name, Fleeger-Withrow Inc., and a
new location, 1037 3rd Ave.

Over the years, Fleeger-Withrow was a popular retailer
 of wallpaper, paint. carpet, linoleum and window
shades. Charles Fleeger could still be seen
hard at work at the store into his 90s.
 According to records in the West
 Virginia Secretary of State’s
office, the store closed
in 1973.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Oct. 5, 2021.


[ Back ]