The town of Alderson was settled in
1777 by John Alderson. 110 years later in 1887, his great, great grandson, John
Marshall Alderson II, founded Alderson's store that sold most of the
necessities of the day including patent medicines, glassware, lamps, piece
goods, shoes, groceries, and railroad ties.
By the 1920s more businesses were opening in the area, the Federal Prison
for Women came to town, more jobs were available, and Aldersons was
selling more ladies' clothing than anything else. So when the old
store burned down, they went entirely into ladies' apparel, bringing
ready made garments from New York to Alderson. Soon Alderson's was no
longer a typical country store - becoming more sophisticated and
specialized - changing its personality entirely.
When the old store burned, Aldersons hardly skipped a beat. They
quickly rented another building until a new one could be built. Completed
in 1932, the new building was designed by Walter Martens, a well known W.
Va. architect who also designed the Governor's mansion in Charleston.
The exterior features an elegant facade of carved Indiana limestone.
Two large display windows in front frame the walnut backdrops, which are
accented with full-length mirrors and small Art Deco light fixtures.