Then and Now: South Main Street

July 3, 2011

South Main Street, Fairfield, IA near Madison Ave.

Then and Now: South Main Street, looking north across Madison Avenue

Above: In this peaceful view taken ca. 1910, South Main Street is as yet unpaved, but is flanked by stately houses and a lush double-row of trees.

Below: Even with pavement, street signs, and traffic lights, the tree-lined view up South Main is still recognizable in the winter of 2010-11. Though the old house at 402 S. Main, second from the left, has been replaced, most of the residences of a century ago yet remain.

The two houses in the foreground at left and right were both erected around 1895 by brothers-in-law and business partners. 406 S. Main, at left, was built by Edmund Hunt, who married Ward Lamson’s daughter Elizabeth M., and 405 S. Main, at right, by Elmer Addison Howard, who had joined Hunt’s shoe business in April 1883 when he married Elizabeth’s sister Mary.

Hunt & Howard first sold shoes on the south side of the square in the Wilson Block, but moved to the north side when they purchased Roth’s shoe business at 57 W. Broadway in 1889. Three years later they built the lovely turreted structure at 51 East Broadway which now houses the Guiding Light School of Massage and Healthy Inspirations.

Hunt & Howard’s father-in-law Ward Lamson lived just south across Madison from E. A. Howard, out of the picture to the right, in the old Caleb Baldwin house at 501 S. Main, which Ward’s son Ralph Waldo Lamson inherited and inhabited until his passing in 1938.

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