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Midway Cafe
Bennett Mercantile 1915

501 N. Main Street (Block 13)

At the corner of West Fifth and Main Street on Block 13 stood the Pulaski Counts Hotel. The hotel was a log structure with a clapboard roof. A stone fireplace and round support poles in front. With twelve glass panes that made up each window.  Built around 1852 this was Salem’s first hotel. The hotel faced east toward Main Street. This building burned and a new larger hotel was constructed and ran by A.P. Duckworth. This new hotel was destroyed in a fire in the 1880’s. After this fire G.G. Guild built a building which housed his photo gallery and dentist office. The Bennett Brothers (Berna, William and Harvey) purchased a General Store on Fourth Street which was originally called the Will Hogle Store in 1902.

The Bennett Brothers purchased the G.G. Guild property and had a new building constructed on the site.  In 1911, their building was completed using J.R. Ray’s concrete blocks, which he made at his business, located where the Salem News is currently located.  The Bennetts moved to their new store in 1912.  Berna bought his brothers controlling interest in the store.  He then hired his sons, Edward and Frank, to help.  The name of the store became “Bennett Mercantile Company”.  In 1941, Frank and Edward bought the store from their father.  They also owned “The Lunch Box” restaurant which was north of Bennett Mercantile on the same block for thirty years.  In 1968 the Bennett Brothers decided to close the business after being in operation for sixty-six years.

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