Robnett’s Hardware, which has a long history in Corvallis, will close on February 29, 2024.
The story of the hardware store begins when Corvallis founder J. C. Avery returned from the California gold fields and opened a general store. In 1857, he moved the store from 2nd and Washington to a new one-story brick building he constructed at Main and Adams (now 400 SW 2nd Street). Avery and his partners H. Holgate and D. G. Clark operated a general store there, selling dry goods, clothing, groceries, hardware, and tools.
The store changed hands a few times but eventually in 1891, Robert M. Wade leased the building for a store selling farm equipment and hardware.
The original Avery store (right side) had three bays with double doors in each and a simple top with dentil (small rectangular blocks) molding. Wade and Company built the attached warehouse on the south side in 1891. This building featured a wide garage-like door with a tall window on either side. Some time during the 1890s the small shed at the left was added; it was later removed. By 1912, the building was extended 25 feet at the back. In the 1970s, the front facade was remodeled and the three bays were replaced with a center door and large plate-glass windows.
Not only did the building remain a hardware store all this time, but, since 1891, all the owners have been related to Robert Wade. For many years, Wade’s nephew, William Currin, managed the store for Wade. In 1911, Currin took over the business. Six years later, his nephew, Floyd Spurlin, joined the firm and it was renamed Currin and Spurlin Hardware. The photograph shows the interior of the store with William Currin on the far left and Floyd Spurlin on the right.
Currin died in 1922. In 1937, Spurlin’s daughter Virginia and her husband, Charles Robnett, became partners in the business. Spurlin died in 1957 and Charles Robnett in 1961. Children Jerry and Donna Robnett helped Virginia Robnett run the business after Charles’s death. In 1977, Jerry Robnett and his wife Julia, bought the store and incorporated as Robnett Hardware. Today, the store is owned by their daughter Tori and her husband Scott Lockwood. Now they are getting ready to retire, ending the six-generation operation.
What will the building become?