1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

F. G. Lobban Company

Barry Worrell - August 2008

Special thanks to Marjorie Lobban for the newspaper ads and history information.

After the Civil War, the C & O Railroad was completed in Alderson in 1872, and 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 bookkeeping.

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)

The F. 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 town's history:

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 organ music.

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 heat.
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.

In 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.

All 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.

(Hinton Daly News)

Years later 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.

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