Friday, January 21, 2011

Licking County's Arcade in Downtown Newark

The Arcade Realty Company consisted of Carl Weiant, Francis Kennedy, Harry and John Swisher (of Swisher cigars), Charles Spencer and E.T. Rugg. Their goal was to develop
a fine new business street in the shopping center of the city.

E. K. Hiban was a Columbus contractor erected the Arcade and architects Howell & Thomas did the planning.

U. S. Rep. John M Ashbrook also owned the Arcade until his death in 1982. Approximately around 1985 Atty. Richard Van Winkle,
V.P. Of Roberts Men Shop Duane Zinn,
State Farm Insurance Agent Clair Schell
and a partner in the Shear shop Gene Layton purchased the Arcade.
The Current owner it Tom Cotton.

The 3rd story was for apartments, the 2nd was for offices and the ground level for stores. One of the 1st newsstand to open in the Arcade was that of Gordon Kinneys and he sold 4000 different magazines. Kinney was 21 when he ran the business, one of the youngest businessmen of his time.
According to history the 4th street entrance only had 2 levels.
The basement level housed a cold storage area under the Arcade as well as a heating unit. This was considered a great asset to the city at that time. The 4th street entrance lead you to the cold storage areas. The first room was kept at 10 degrees above zero the second room was 25 degrees and the third room was kept at 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

There was an electric elevator carried freight to the basement. This was located between the alley at third and fourth streets and carried supplies to each of the tenants basement areas.

There were two double boilers used for heating. A coal unit was used for back up and a gas unit for regular use. The unit was a Van Auken Vacuum system. The basement was also equipped with water and illuminated by 300-40 watt Tungten lamps.

Some say there was a great amount of “bootlegging” in the Arcade during the prohibition days. There is hearsay of a second floor speakeasy. I guess there were some pretty big time poker games going on also.

One area of the Arcade was referred to as the Union Block.
At one time it was full of life with children playing around the fountain, orchestras filling the Arcade with music and dances took place every night except Sundays.
I miss the Amish Cheese Shop, the Antique Mall and others shops that were once there.
Many events have taken place in that area over the years

Resources: Newark Advocate archives, LCPL, Columbus Dispatch archives, my sister Mona Mason, friend and church member Frank Kennedy(Franks family was also part of the 10 story sky scraper Newark Trust Bldg)!

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