Along Main Street: 305-307 E. Main Street, Part II

The Lowell Area Historical Museum is taking us on a stroll along Main Street and sharing the history of buildings in Lowell’s historic downtown. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.

Address: 305-307 E. Main
Part II-the Brick Building
Built: 1865-66
Builder: Edmund Lee
First Business: Edmund Lee Grocery; William Pullen, Gent’s Clothing & Tailor
Building Name: Pullen building

During the unseasonably warm November of 1865, bricks were laid by Edmund Lee for Lowell’s first brick building. It is a two-storefront building built on the site of the old American Hotel/store which burned down in 1864. Lee briefly had his grocery store in the new building before selling the building to William Pullen.

Wm Pullen Sr in 1893

William Pullen’s Tailor Shop and Gent’s Clothing Store was located here from 1866-1900 with the exception of 1878-1881 when the building was rented to M. Jacobson & Co. for The Boston Double Store’s dry goods business. His son, Will Pullen ran the store until 1908. Pullen moved elsewhere and returned after the Boston Double Store failed. Because Pullen owned the building and had his business here for so many years, the building became known locally as the “Pullen” building. At times Pullen used both storefronts and other times he used only one and rented the other one out.

Above is a newspaper ad for The Boston Double Store, November 13, 1878; The Boston Double Store held a bankrupt sale in 1881. William Pullen then moved his clothing and tailor store back to this site. He also had a double store at times. In 1883, after the failure of the Boston Double Store, Langs & McNaughton had a furniture store along with A. D. Oliver’s jewelry store on one side and Pullen’s store was on the other side.

G. W. Bangs and J. E. Jessup are listed as having a grocery store in 1905, maybe at some other location, maybe here. We know, however, that Gain W. Bangs operated a grocery on the west side of this building under his own name from 1908 to 1918. Other west side businesses included a paint store (1938) and Norris Tavern from 1941 to 1946 before it became the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hall.

Interior of the Gain Bangs Grocery Store. Gain Bangs’ Grocery occupied the west half of the building from 1908-1918.

The east address was a Billiard Hall in 1885; Will Pullen’s clothing up to 1908; Weldon Smith Bakery for a year while he built the building next door to the east; Express Office (1918); and Norris Café operated by Mrs. Mary Norris Post from 1934-1941.

The second floor was used as the Masonic Temple prior to being purchased by the Flat River VFW Post 8303 in 1946. From the 1960s until they closed in 2001, the VFW utilized both the first and second floors.

In 2003, the building was purchased and remodeled by Mark Batchelor, Architectural Restorations. Since then, the west side of the building has been occupied by Mika, Meyers, Beckett & Jones and Noreen Myers, Attorney. Businesses on the East side were Voyages, Ella’s Coffee & Cuisine, and Sweet Seasons bakery and coffee shop since June 2017.

Below, the Pullen Building on the left survives another flood in 1905:

And here’s what the Pullen Building looks like today:

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