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Henry Troxel's 'The Shop'

More Than 70 years ago in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the dream of a young J. Henry Troxell was realized. He started a small feed business on West Main Street. The business would soon become The Shop.

As a pre-teen Henry worked for Clarence G. Frailey who owned a grocery store. He started delivering groceries in a wooden, covered wagon drawn by a horse named George.

After working for Mr. Frailey almost twenty years Hen, as everyone called him, opened his business. Henry was concerned that Mr. Frailey would not like him to use his own name in the business. Needing the income from his grocery clerk job the business was named Robert I. Troxell & Brother. Mr. Frailey told Hen he would not have had a problem with the name and wished him much success in his endeavor.

The business grew and lien left his job. Trucks were purchased and help was hired. The Shop sold feed, grain, lumber, coal, sand, nails, paint, all types of supplies for cattle, parts for farm equipment etc., etc., etc. Merchandise filled the buildings from West Main Street to the parallel alley in back. A Hugh outdoor truck scale was installed, a smaller indoor scale weighed individual bags of feed and coal. Atlantic gasoline was sold from two pumps out front along West Main Street. One pump was for low test; one pump was for high test.

The Shop was furnished with a variety of oak chairs, large roll top desk, an oak schoolhouse style wall clock, spittoons, and in winter a red-hot stove. The shelves were stocked and walls hung with the needed merchandise of a farming community.

Over the years The Shop become the gathering place for the local men to spend time after the days work concluded. They smoked cigars, cigarettes and chewed tobacco while each gave his opinion on politics, weather, farming, local gossip, anything and everything. News of The Shop spread. The Pennsylvania Farmer featured it and its evening conversation group on the cover of its April 12, 1947 edition.

The National Cash Register (NCR) Factory News, November 1952 edition also featured the Shop and its usual group.

During the 1950's The Shop closed its doors forever ending what had become a way of life for years. The Shop was one of the businesses that contributed to the charm and economy of Emmitsburg during the first half of the twentieth century.

Have your own memories of other Emmitsburg Business of Old?
  If so, send them to us at history@emmitsburg.net

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