Legacy of Coon Hardware building

June 19th, 2015 9:08 am

First Posted: 3/7/2014

Clarks Green resident and historian, Warren Watkins remembers many of the businesses that operated in the former Coon Hardware building at 107-109 N. Abington Rd. in Clarks Green, but there was one, run by Herb Heim, that sticks in his mind.

“The building contained many retail merchants, but the one that I remember very well was a barber shop that was at the very right of the building,” Watkins said. “It was the only barbershop in Clarks Green and as a young boy that’s where I got my hair cut. Men in Clarks Green came to the shop to get their hair cut, and Herb even gave shaves.”

Watkins described the shop as very small with one barber chair and room to seat about five customers. Watkins said the topic of conversations at the barbershop always centered around horses.

“Herb raised horses, so he had pictures of his horses on the wall,” he said.

The downside of the shop, he explained, was, “In those days you could smoke in the barber shop and it was always smoke filled. Worse thing was he was a smoker and as he cut your hair he had a cigarette in his mouth. Luckily no fires ever occurred. I’d come home smelling of cigarette smoke which my mother never cared for.”

During the 1950s, Heim became ill and had to give up his business.

According to John Earley, Esq. of Clarks Green, the building is without a doubt, one of the oldest continually operating commercial buildings in this section of the county.

“A building in the Carbondale area might be a little older,” Earley said. “The building was a hardware store through the late 1940s.”

The hardware store, which was in continuous operation for 66 years, was initially run by Merritt Coon, who moved to Clarks Green in 1882, and in later years, by Merritt’s son, Willard. Among the items one could find at the hardware store were a wide variety of merchandise such as agricultural implements, threshers, moving machines, rakes, feed mills, pumps, hardware, tin ware, stoves, wagons buggies, pain, oils, varnishes, bicycles and sewing machines.

In years that followed, the structure served a variety of purposes, including a children’s clothing store, barbershop, picture and frameshop, and a cigarette and candy store.

“Since the mid-1990s it has been entirely given over to the picture and frame business,” Earley said.

The current owner, Charles Sandercock, of Summit Frameworks occupied a portion of the building since the 1980s, and in the early 1990s, took over the whole building and purchased it in 2006. The Abington Frame Shop was Sandercock’s predecessor from the 1960s to 1970s.

“In the 1950s the Village Green Gift Shop was here,” Sandercock said. “They got their original name because they were on the Village Green. After the Village Green closed, from what I understand, Coon donated the (village green) parcel of land to the borough. I also believe Coon built this house next door.”

Merritt Coon is also responsible for building the Queen Anne style Victorian home located at 113 N. Abington Rd.

“…We do kid around that sometimes when we’re here, we hear creaking upstairs, like they’re footsteps,” Sandercock said of his historically-rich building. “A couple of times, it was so loud you’d swear someone was walking around up there. I’m sure it’s the building creaking, but that’s what we say, ‘The ghosts are up there. Somebody’s walking around like Mr. Coon.

“I have a lot of affection for the building. It’s old and is kind of drafty and it has its quirks, but it was solidly built. For the time it was well constructed. It has been a part of my life and I have been here a long time.”