MOUNT VERNON — Black and white tiles were uncovered at the entrance of Crickets on South Main. The tiles read “The Home of Good Clothes” the motto of Milton S. Lewis men’s furnishing store that was opened in the early 1900s.
Crickets on South Main, an antiques and collectibles store, has occupied the building at 120 South Main since 2017. It is one of 14 other stores to occupy the building, according to records that go back to 1894.
“We had this ratty little rug out there and we didn’t know what was going to happen with it,” Mary Stream, a vendor at the store, said about the removal of the rug. Mark Ramser, the owner of the building, decided to have his son Russ pull up the rug in August.
“That’s when we discovered this wonderful piece of history,” Stream said. “His son worked diligently, hours and hours, to get this back to where you can enjoy it.”
The tiles were cleaned off and had a sealer coat placed on top to protect it. At first, no one really knew where the tiles came from or which store had that motto. Stream had a personal collection of directories that she used to find out information about who the motto belonged to.
“We knew it wasn’t Worley’s since his motto was ‘The Customer Was Always Right’,” she said.
She dug deeper into her directories which included Walsh’s 1922 Mount Vernon Directory and The Rural Directory of Knox County from 1915 to 1920.
Stream came across an ad for Milton S. Lewis Men’s Furnishing store, which occupied the building from 1912 to 1933. The add included the motto that reads in the tile work out front.
Stream and the others at Crickets on South Main aren’t too sure when the tile work was done but they think it could have been done around the same time the Alcove did their front entrance tiling.
“You know when something happens to one store, someone puts an awning up, you put an awning up,” Stream said about why it is thought the tiling may have occurred around the same time.
“It’s phenomenal that this building has been used for so many things,” Stream said.
While she doesn’t know exactly how old the building is the records go back to 1894 and list Frank Beam’s Queensware as occupying the building.
Since then, the building has been vacant for only 12 out of the 123 years on record.
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