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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Brewton in Escambia County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Robbins & McGowin Building

 
 
The Robbins & McGowin Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 5, 2019
1. The Robbins & McGowin Building Marker
Inscription.  Truly an Escambia County landmark, Robbins and McGowin Co. organized in March 1897 with the consolidation of the J. I. Robbins and J. G. McGowin Stores, the millinery of Miss L. A. Cunningham, the Blacksher-Miller Commissary, and the J. E. Finlay Co. The J. E. Finlay Co. began February 1892. Finlay learned the retail business from his father, W. A. Finlay, who owned and operated the Finlay Mercantile in nearby Pollard, Al. John Edward "Ned" Finlay bought the controlling interest in Robbins & McGowin Co. in 1906. Shortly after acquiring control, he purchased the two-story Harold Bros. Commissary (Foshee Bldg.) which became the Hardware store. This was the first brick building built in Brewton circa 1878 of hand-made bricks shipped from Montgomery. The first depot was located in front of this store, which accounts for the recessed parking area. Fifteen year Henry Scott hauled the brick in a small wagon from the depot for the construction. Robbins & McGowin originally operated with gas lighting but had some of the first electric lights installed in 1887. Robbins also had the first passenger elevator (1929) in Brewton. During its heyday, Robbins & McGowin
The Robbins & McGowin Building image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 5, 2019
2. The Robbins & McGowin Building
was one of the largest stores of its kind in the southeast. Even wild mustangs, shipped from Texas by rail, were sold here. During WW II the store’s buyers traveled to New York City for the latest fashions. Their catalog later replaced by the Brewton Trade Record newspaper, served the areas of south Alabama, northwest Florida, and eastern Mississippi. For many years prominent historian and attorney Ed Leigh McMillan had his law offices on the third floor. J. E. Finlay died in 1946. His sons John David Finlay, Sr. and Norvelle Robertson "Bob" Finlay and later his grandson, J. D. Finlay, Jr. continued operating Robbins & McGowin, serving this area for over 100 years.
 
Erected 2012 by the Escambia County Historical Society.
 
Location. 31° 6.2′ N, 87° 4.322′ W. Marker is in Brewton, Alabama, in Escambia County. Marker is at the intersection of St. Joseph Avenue (U.S. 31) and Mildred Street (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling north on St. Joseph Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 St. Joseph Avenue, Brewton AL 36426, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ritz Theater (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bank of Brewton (about 500 feet away); Hart Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Burnt Corn Park Cistern
View towards the US29-US31 intersection. (Marker on extreme left) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 5, 2019
3. View towards the US29-US31 intersection. (Marker on extreme left)
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Escambia County Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Leigh Place (approx. ¼ mile away); Second Saint Siloam Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); Union Cemetery (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brewton.
 
Also see . . .  Dedication of the Robbins & McGowin Building Marker. (Submitted on March 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNotable Buildings
 
More. Search the internet for The Robbins & McGowin Building.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 55 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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