“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Seneca in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Seneca Store

Seneca Store Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 23, 2016
1. Seneca Store Marker
Inscription.  Constructed in 1901, Frederick A. Allnutt built this gable-front, general store on Old River Road beside his newly acquired place of residence, the c. 1855 Darby House. This two-and-a-half story wood and frame store originally had counters on both sides of the first floor, and was heated by a pot-bellied stove.

By 1910, only three general stores were located in the 6th District, and Allnutt was the exclusive retail wholesaler in Seneca. His vendors included Armour and Company, Maryland Biscuit Company, American Drug Company, International Harvester, and Standard Oil Company. The store also functioned as the town post office and gas station.

Even with a relatively remote location, the Seneca Store was a known destination. Exactly 26 miles from our nation’s capital, travelers would “turn right over the Seneca Creek to Seneca Store on right at (the) far end of (the) bridge.” Upon approaching Seneca, tourists were cautioned, “Seneca in the eyes of the local motorists in the “jumping off” place, there being nothing to welcome the visitor but the general storekeeper at the cross roads.” That welcoming

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face belonged to Frederick Allnutt.

The store remained in family hands until 1965, when employee Raymond E. Poole took over the reins of the business. Raymond and his wife, Billy, with their six children worked to make the store a thriving mercantile operation. As proprietor, Raymond was committed to his job, “You’re here at the store 6 days a week, and working on the books the 7th. It takes patience and getting along with customers.” Billy, in turn, loved what she did at the store, “it’s fun working here. No way I could do it if I didn’t like it.” Because of their efforts, Poole Store became the oldest general store in continuous operation in Montgomery County before it closed in 2010.

At the turn of the last century, the Seneca Store was one of over a 100 general stores found throughout the county, but as this business celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001, there were less than 25 of these local mercantile operations that remained.

(Inscriptions under the image in the lower center)
The last proprietors of the store, Raymond and Billy Poole, were able to attract continued patronage despite the rise of big-box stores because local citizens and travelers alike could find everything they needed here—from hot dogs to soda to horse supplies and animal feed—and receive a warm reception from the shop owners who knew them

Seneca Store Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 23, 2016
2. Seneca Store Marker
This marker is the one on the right. The Darby/Allnutt residence is in the background.
on a first name basis. Courtesy: Mike Dwyer Collection.

(Inscription under the image in the upper center)
From 1965 until 2010, this mercantile operation was known as Poole’s Store. Courtesy: Montgomery County Historical Society.

(Inscription under the image in the lower center)
Artifacts unearthed beside the store for Montgomery Parks archaeologists suggest typical domestic activity in the mid-19th century. Carved bone handle, table utensil; Blue-edged Pearlware plate rim.

(Inscription under the image in the upper right)
This 1900 public sale ad indicates when Allnutt purchased the property, it was quite extensive with several outbuildings no longer standing today, including a cooper shop and a tenant house. Courtesy: Collection of the Maryland State Archives.
Erected by Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1901.
Location. 39° 4.79′ N, 77° 20.437′ W. Marker is in Seneca, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Old River Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Poolesville MD 20837, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Seneca Mill (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Seneca Store (a few steps from this marker); Seneca Mills During the Civil War

Seneca Store image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 23, 2016
3. Seneca Store
(within shouting distance of this marker); A Veteran’s Life in Montgomery County (within shouting distance of this marker); The Historic Seneca Schoolhouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seneca Schoolhouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seneca Creek: “A Raging River” (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seneca: “Average Man’s Resort” (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Seneca.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 26, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 25, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 314 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 25, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 29, 2023