In 1872 the C & O Railroad was completed in
Alderson. At the time Alderson was farm land
but soon became a thriving business center because the
area now had both the railroad and a ferry to aid
transportation. Captain John G. Lobban, having served in
the Confederate Army, came to Greenbrier County about
the same time.
To attempt to tell the story of Lobban's store starts
interesting enough with the building. In 1880, Enoch
Smith constructed a two story building on Railroad Ave
and the second floor was used for the town hall while
the other parts were used for the town's various lodge
meetings. Town Hall was the scene of many famous
political meetings and other public gatherings and the
history of Alderson is closely entwined with that room.
For years the Town Hall was also used as a movie house,
and many old-time shows such as "Silas Green's Minstrels" and
other traveling road
troops of the era have been presented there.
Captain John Lobban founded his business in this building with his two sons, Floyd
and John under the name of the Lobban Brothers, a furniture store
and undertaking establishment. (This was an interesting combination
of businesses to say the least.) In 1912 Floyd purchased the interest of
the others and operated it until his death in 1937. After his
death, his wife continued to operate the business with her sons, Floyd
G., Robert B., and Charles L. Lobban.
In 1942, Floyd G. purchased the interest of his brother
Charles L. and Charles established Lobban's Funeral Home on South Monroe Street
where it operates today. Floyd G. continued as owner and manager until his son,
Charles M. became the manager in 1957, becoming the fourth
generation that managed the business.
It was decided to remodel the old building and the Housby Brothers
were hired for the job, which began September 18, 1958. Occupying two floors and covering more than 8000 square
feet the store had departments for furniture, household appliances
and accessories. There were also departments for a display of
linoleum and used appliances, along with space for the office and
The second floor was also remodeled by removing a partition making
one large room. This room held one of the largest toy displays in
Greenbrier County at Christmas time. Before the remodeling a large
model electric train (see ad below) used to be displayed in the window of the
first floor which was always a favorite of the kids. Grand
opening was held on November 21st and 22nd of November 1958.
Lobban Store Principals-Officers of the F. G. Lobban
Co. appear to be enjoying looking at their toy
catalogue as they prepared for the normal opening of
the store Friday and Saturday.
Left to right: Charles Lobban, manager; Mrs. Charles
Lobban, secretary and Floyd G Lobban, owner. "We are
expecting several thousand visitors at our store for
our grand opening," C. M. Lobban said after the picture was taken
(Hinton Daily News Photo)
G. Lobban Company's Grand Opening to celebrate the complete
remodeling of their Alderson furniture store promises to be
a gala occasion, and the biggest promotional event in the
There will not be a dull moment during the two-day sales
event on Friday and Saturday of the week as there will be
free gifts for the kiddies who visit Toyland to see Santa,
valuable door prizes, free doughnuts and coffee, plus soft
In addition the management is offering a number of terrific
bargains on quality merchandise during the two-day even,
while special discounts will be allowed on all cash sales.
Throughout the day on Friday Jim Putnam of radio station
WRON of Ronceverte will present a program of organ music on
a special electric organ furnished for the occasion by the
Campbell-Call Music Company of Lewisburg.
Mrs. Ann Dickson of the Virginia Electric Power Company will
also be at the store Friday to demonstrate the Westinghouse
electronic range which cooks food in a wink without external
Coffee, doughnut and cookies will be give visitors to
the store during this demonstration.
A big event for the kiddies will be a personal appearance by
Santa Claus in the store's Toyland on the second floor.
An entire railway car of toys of every description will be
on display, and Santa will have a small gift for each boy
and girl who comes to greet him.
Santa will appear in the store for one hour between 7 p.m.
and 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
addition to all of the above events each visitor of the
store may register for the big door prize to be given away
absolutely free on Saturday night. It is not necessary to be
present to receive this gift which is a valuable Barcalo
reclining chair valued a $119.95.
visitors will also receive a free ticket to become eligible
for the grand awards to be given away on Christmas
Eve. These gifts (see ad below) were the Westinghouse space-mates, automatic
Laundromat and Dryer.
The F. G. Lobban Company was heavily damaged by fire and the
building had to be torn down. Four generations of one family
who carried on a business for a century should have a better
ending, but it seems to be the way of most businesses in small
towns when the world gets to sophisticated and passes them by.