FIRMLY FOUNDED DECEMBER 2009

The following is an article by Pauline Schmidt, who was the curator of the Monroe

Historical Society at the time.. This was written in the Monroe Times in February

1995. It tells part of the story of what we call the 1910 Museum, at the corner of Main

Street and Elm Street. More will follow in later articles.

In 1950, Monroe was just a “wide place in the road” and the Corner Store was the center

of town where SR 63 and U.S.25 intersected. It was a general store, as it had been since

it was built—a convenient place to buy needles, paint, socks, school supplies, and

medicines. It also sold bus tickets for the Ohio Bus Lines and featured the only soda

fountain in the area. This building, now the Historical Society Museum, was built by

Marion Warner, who lived in a house next door. He previously kept a store across the

street in a building the Monroe Bank remodeled for its second home. The present bank

is its third building. Marion Warner was 18 years older than his brother, Clarence

(Boone) Warner, who was blacksmith and builder of the “paragon plow” and other farm

implements. Marion’s hobbies were amateur painting and photography. One of his oil

paintings, now in the museum, was done on stretched mattress ticking and was given a

prize in a community contest to the person who guessed the closest number of beans in a

jar. His photographic legacy to Monroe, however, is far more valuable because he

photographed many Monroe subjects. When an old shed behind his house was torn

down, his photographic equipment and several hundred glass negatives were found and

given to the Monroe Historical Society. About 100 photos have been printed from the

negatives and make up an album that is an authentic portrayal of Monroe around the turn

of the century. One of his photos was used this winter by Mrs Barbara Leib’s art

students at Lemon-Monroe High School when they painted the background for the

present window display at the museum. After Warner’s death, the store was run by his

wife. Lizzie was a better storekeeper than automobile driver, for she was notoriously

known to drive as if the center line of the road was to be straddled! Her daughter, Nell,

later operated the store and many older adults remember shopping there Saturday nights

around the pot-bellied stove. In 1946, the store became the property of Earl Marshall,

who changed the clientele by adding a soda fountain, the first in the area. Adults in

Monroe had always had a choice of places for refreshment and relazation, but young

people now had a place where they were welcome to have a soft drink, ice cream and

meet their friends. To cater to them, the name became the “Hornet’s Nest,” recognizing

the school mascot. But young people were not the only ones who liked the soda fountain

fare. The Cincinnati radio and early TV celebrity Ruth Lyons discovered the store on one

of her drives through Monroe to Dayton. She aired her opinion that Marshall’s had the

best chocolate sundae in this area and she made it a point to stop often for the treat. Mrs.

Mary Lou Marshall Cobb, who operated the store after her husband’s death, recalled

Ruth Lyons’ visits as a boon to business from out of town. After Mrs Cobb sold the

business, the store building was used for several purposes and finally housed part of

Monroe’s municipal offices. The 1910 building has been well preserved by James Price,

the present owner. The Historical Society uses the rooms for meetings, quilting, and

office, as well as for the ever-growing museum display. It is open every Thursday from 1

to 3 p.m., and the first Sunday of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. It has become Monroe’s

landmark and a most cherished historical building.

Share This