Harrison Brothers Hardware: A step back in time

Harrison Brothers first opened in 1879.
Harrison Brothers first opened in 1879.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A first glimpse Harrison Brother's Hardware and it looks like any old hardware store. A historic marker indicates it's a portal to the past.

"Harrison Brothers first opened in 1879, and they were actually on Franklin Street. They moved to this location in 1897 and operated a tobacco shop and then after the fire in 1901, they expanded," said manager Ginger Cobl.

"Most of the stuff up high on the built in shelves is original to the store and not for sale. The merchandise that we do sell, we focus on local and regionally made," said Cobl.

Twenty-five to 30 local and regional artists sell their wares at the store.

Thick floors have numbers and the same amount of nails for those people who couldn't read.

"Those run the length of the store. They were used to measure rope, chains, chicken wire. They're a yard apart," said Cobl.

Old treasures are mixed with new finds.

"Our cash register is 105 years old. This is 'Reggie.' He's a national cash register. He does still work. We use him to ring up every transaction," said Cobl.

Tennessee cast iron kitchen wares are still carried here. There is even a kit for goat cheese.

Cobl said the lost art of handwriting is showcased here.

"The desk is original and shows some of the receipts, and we have one of the ledgers open on the desk," she said.

A massive safe is another original. Cobl said it, too, is very old.

"I would really, really guess maybe 1880, maybe 1881. I would think they would have brought that in after they moved to this location as big as it is and as heavy as it is."

Dyed, local Alpaca wool is ready to be made into something beautiful, and there is a vintage "mix and match" silver collection that brides can register for.

There are so many surprises around every corner. In fact, the goat's milk soap is manufactured in Alabama. It's made in Deatsville.

Leeds, Alabama potter, Tina Payne's goods are also on display and for sale.

"In 2009, Miss Tina was up for an entrepreneurial award through Forbes, made it to the top five," said Cobl.

Artist's water colors, prints and more are everywhere you look.

"The last Harrison brother passed away in 1983, and Historic Huntsville Foundation, which is a nonprofit preservation group, stepped in, bought the store, the entire contents and the name. And it's been running as a nonprofit museum shop ever since."

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