The S. S. Kresge Company was started by Sebastion Spering Kresge in Detroit, Michigan in 1900. Kresge’s stores were five and dime stores where everything cost 5¢ or 10¢. In fact, Kresge was a pioneer in this type of store.
In 1925, Sebastion Kresge opened a store at the corner of 3rd and Center Streets in Ironton, Ohio. The store was officially named the S. S. Kresge Company, but most locals called it Kresge’s or the “Dime Store.” Lowell G. Modlin was the first manager. The store’s actual address was 101-103 South 3rd Street in Ironton. By the time the store opened in Ironton, Sebastion had expanded the selection available in his store. The new Ironton store was a 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢ store.
By 1930, Laverne E. Tappan had become the store’s manager. The store’s address was listed as 105-107 South 3rd Street in Ironton. At that time the store sold items for 25¢ and $1.00.
In 1935, the Kresge store had split into two separate stores. The first store was located at 101 South 3rd Street (Ironton). Vier P. Clary managed this store. It offered items for 5¢ and 10¢. The second store was located at 105 South 3rd Street (Ironton) with Russell H. Seasgo as manager. This store sold items for 25¢ and $1.00.
In 1937, Shafer O. Dieckmann took over Russell H. Seasgo position at the 25¢ and $1.00 store. Deickmann would keep this position until 1940.
In 1941, Deickmann was replaced by Clifford R. Williamson.
In 1943, the store changed its name to S. S. Kresge Variety Store. R. H. Fettus became the manager at 103 South 3rd Street and Emil Lowe managed the store at 105 South 3rd Street.
In the 1947 Ironton City Directory, R. H. Fetters, not Fettus, is listed at the manager of 103 South 3rd Street.
In 1952, the store is listed as S. S. Kresge Company again. The two stores at 103 and 105 South 3rd Street were combined into one store. J. S. Babier was the manager of combined store. Kresge Company is listed as a department store selling items from 5¢ to $1.00.
By 1956, the store had only one address, 103 South 3rd Street. J. S. Babier remained manager.
In 1957, John F. Holfinger replaced Babier as manager. He would responsible for selling items for 25¢ to $1.00. He would be the store’s manager for ten years until 1967.
For the next thirty years, Kresge Company would change managers often. In 1967, Marion J. Talley became the manager of the store. Instead of being a department store, Kresge Company was called a variety store. By 1968, Sam W. Taylor had replaced Talley as manager. Taylor held the job for two years before being replaced by Ray S. Gunter in 1970. In 1971, Jack Rohling became manager. By the next year, Gale E. Bake had taken over the management of the store. He held the job for two years before he too was replaced by Robert Davis in 1974. Davis was replaced by Frank Hathaway in 1975. Hathaway held the job until 1977. The trend continued when Robert Roach, Robert Clark, Gary J. Sodamon, James E. Ellis and David R. Lafferty managed the store. The managers rarely stayed longer than two years.
In 1987, the store was sold. It became McCrory’s Variety Store, although many local people continued to call the store Kresge’s.
The Architecture of the Store
The S. S. Kresge Company Store is one the older buildings in Ironton. The building was built in 1924. The architectural style shows some influence from the Neo-classical period. The two story building has a brick foundation and walls. The roof is a flat and made of composition. The storefront contains polished granite and plate glass. The second floor on the 3rd Street side has windows separated by decorated pilasters.