Ridgway in Elk County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Hall, Kaul, and Hyde Store
Ridgway "Lily of the Valley"
Joseph Smith Hyde, one of Ridgway's most successful and affluent businessmen, forged many partnerships during his legendary career. On several business ventures in lumbering, mining, banking and commerce, he partnered with his son-in law, James Knox Polk Hall, and Andrew Kaul of St. Marys. In 1876, the three men joined forces to open the Hall, Kaul, and Hyde Store on this site, across the street from the Hyde Hotel.
In 1876, Ridgway was booming. The Pennsylvania Railroad station had been open for twelve years, carrying people and freight into and out of the region. This three-story department store served many needs of the growing Ridgway community. In addition to selling food, dry goods, tools, clothing, and kitchen wares on the first two floors, it housed, on the third floor, Ridgway's first opera house, drawing cultural events and entertainment-musicals, concerts, vaudeville shows, plays, and operas-to town.
A decade after J. S. Hyde's death in 1888, F.C., P.R. and C.H. Smith purchased the Hall, Kaul, and Hyde Store from William H. Hyde, marking the beginning of the Smith Brothers Company, one of the first and
Situated across from the imposing Hyde Hotel at the intersection of Ridgway's main arteries-Broad and Main Streets-the Hall, Kaul, and Hyde store was a cornerstone of downtown Ridgway life. The store not only supplied extensive food and wares, but also served as gathering place for community celebrations.
"During the Centennial Celebration of 1924, a wire was strung across Main Street from the Hall, Kaul and Hyde Store to the Hyde Hotel, and upon it acrobats gave daily performances." -Thomas Portzer, recalling his Ridgway childhood
The Hall Brothers
The Hall, Kaul, and Hyde partnership was not only a business affiliation, but also a law firm. Interest in legal affairs ran deep in the Hall family-James Knox Polk Hall's brother, Harry, studied law, became state senator in 1890, and U.S. District Attorney for western Pennsylvania in 1893. Trained at his brother John's law office, J.K.P. Hall was admitted to the bar in 1866 and served as Elk County District Attorney for several years. Though he gave up legal practice in 1883 to pursue business interests, he served two terms as congressman, and was state senator from 1903-1912.
Hall, Kaul, and Hyde Store,
James Knox Polk Hall
Smith Brothers Co.
Ridgway Main St., H,K & H Store on left, 1920
All photos courtesy Elk County Historical Society
Erected by Stackpole-Hall Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1876.
Location. 41° 25.327′ N, 78° 43.731′ W. Marker is in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, in Elk County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 219) east of Broad Street (U.S. 219), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 320 Main Street, Ridgway PA 15853, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hyde Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Ridgway Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); Elk County (within shouting distance of this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Elk County Courthouse (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Calvin and Juliet McCauley Mansion (about 400 feet away); James Gallagher Home (about 600 feet away); Pioneer Cemetery (approx. 8.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ridgway.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 27, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.