Lemont Weekly Observer from Lemont, Illinois on March 23, 1894 · 10
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Lemont Weekly Observer from Lemont, Illinois · 10

Lemont, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, March 23, 1894
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LEMONT OBSERVER SOUVENIR EDITION. STOKE OFH.8 NORTON. 8. W. Norton, the Founder of a Great Department Store. Travel, Adventure and Suoceaa. VtYHE large department store of H. 18. Norton, to one of the oldest es-. tablished, best known and most extensively patronized of all the busi- tinued three years and then returned to the home of his parents at Lock port. Among the school fellows of Mr. Norton were congressman Ilitt, John V. and C. B. Farwell and General Lew Wallace. When his schooling was completed Mr. Norton was again employed in his father's store, this time at Lock port, where he stayed until his trip to California was begun in December of that Fjear. It. was accomplished in part by team from Lockport to New Buffalo, from New 8. W. NORTON. BBBKaaasnnBBZiUSSSaES . ness houses of Lemont, and at this time and on this occasion it seems fitting and right that something of its history and growth should be recorded, and that the history of its founder should be written out and set forth to the world as of one who. has labored faith-. fully, earnestly and conscientiously through the years of an active, productive and well spent life. The present business of H. S. Norton was founded by his father,' & W. Norton, thirty-four years,ago, as a general store, and was conducted in the front of what Sm now th storage and grain warehouse locaj between the present modern dapsftment store and the Illinois and Michigan canaL His father was owner of a mercantile and forwarding business of considerable . importance, at Preston and was the - - fc na ii et ni t Diuioer ox me unst jjawreucc rucr boat to ply between Kingston and Montreal that ever was made to successfully shoot the Lachine Bapids. He at one time controlled nearly all the import ant stage lines of the Dominion of . Canada, and he also served two terms in the Canadian parliament S. W. Norton, in company with his brothers L. D. and J. L. Norton, came to Chicago in 1839 having been preceded by his father and mother the previous year. His father had contracted to furnish the cement to be used in the construction of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and had built, about this time, cement factories at Lockport and TJtica, I1L, and shortly thereafter took up his residence at Lockport where S. W.Norton and his brothers "went to live with their parents, remaining until Mr. Norton s father returned to Chicago and opened a general merchandising business on Lake street, together with a large wheat warehouse on the North side. This was at a time, well enough remembered by old residenters, when wheat marketed in Chicago at 48 cents per bushel, oats at 18 cento per bushel and prime dressed pork at $L60 per cwt Here, under his father's tutorage, Mr. Norton first began to acquire prac- Buffalo to Detroit by rail, from Detroit to Niagara Falls by. stage and from Niagara Falls to New York by rail and boat In January 1850 Mr. Norton sailed from New York Harbor and on the trip much more and one day ran as high as 8,100. In September 1890 Mr. Norton sold his Interest in the placer mining camp with the. intention of going to Oregon but upon reaching Sacremento altered his mind and determined to come home. He accordingly started with the intention of coming by the way of Nica-raugua, but the ship on which he took passage was becalmed off the coast of Mexico, rations ran short, and it became neocessary to make thi nearest port which was Aepulco, Mexico, and which is now a coaling station for the line of Pacific Mail Steamships plying between ports of North and South America. From Aepulco to Mexico and from Mexico to Vera Crus the trip was made by means of mules and from Vera Cruz to New Orleans by sailing vessel. When approaching New Orleans and while, forty mites out from the mouth of the Mississippi this vessel encountered a terrible norther which struck her with terrific force, and detained her five days at sea during which time she rode on her beam end and lived through the storm with only a storm sail set This was a season of uncertainty and danger that all were heartily glad and devotedly thankful to escape. The storm having been safely weathered a landing was effected at New Orleans and the trip was continued by way of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Peoria, and from Peoria to Lockport by stage. Mr. Norton was expected home at Thanksgiving and long before he arrived, in February 1851, he had been given up as one dead. lie cleared about 4,000 on the venture. Soon after he took an interest in his father's business and remained with the firm five years after which he spent three years in farming before he again turned his attention to the world of business, came to Lemont and open- the store and assumed the active man agement of the entire business. In this capacitv he proved himself every Iron worthy of the trust that had been placed upon him and developed the characteristics of a shrewd buyer, a good seller and a thoroughly competent manager. Under his supervision a new impetus was given to every department of the business. Mr. Norton had a . great pride in the completeness, variety and quality of his stock, which, by judicious buying, was not only always kept com- pany.'and is one of; its largest stockholders. He is also a considerable stockholder in and a director of the Lemont State Bank and has been for several years a director and for three years treasurer of the Lemont Building, Loan and Homestead association. He is alo owner and operator of the elevator located on the bank of the Illinois and Michigan canal, between the canal and store building and into which the building erected by his father for store purposes so many years ago was DBT GOODS DEPARTMENT. plete, but prices were always low and consistent with qualities. In 1888 Mr. Norton was married at the home of the bride's parents to Miss Mary E. Jacob of New Philadelphia, Ohio, with whom he soon' after returned to Lemont and established a from New York to California spent three months at Panama. Here he temporarily engaged in the business of a ticket broker which served to add considerable to his balance of cash on hand. At the end of ninety days the trip was resumed and all went well until the boat was within four hundred miles of San Francisco when' the coal supply gave oat and a landing was effected at the nearest port Mr. Norton completed the trip by post chaise and horse rT - i . . . .--...i SHOE DEPARTMENT. tical business knowledge. His father remained in business in Chicago about four years after which he again moved to Lockport and engaged in the mercantile and milling business. During the latter part of his father's Chicago residence Mr. Norton begun a course of study at Hock River Seminary, Mt Morris, 1U, where he con- back to Sacramento where he arrived in June 1850. From Sacramento he went with three other prospectors to the North fork of the Yuba river where placer mining was jointly engaged in by the four men. Their work was productive of an average of about four ounces of fine gold daily, though the occasional results of a single days work were often H. 8. NO ETON 8 STORE AND WAREHOUSE. ed a general store in what is now II. 8. home of his own. Three children, al Norton's grain elevator and storage girls, have been ' born to Mr. and Mn warehouse, Norton, the eldest of whom died in Jan-Here his business prospered and soon uary, 1889. Two bright little twin girls took rank as one of the leading business two and one-half years, remain to cheer places ol Lemont their lives and fill the home with a flood In 1809 he opened the first of the quarries south of the canal and below the village which he operated about fifteen years. He also opened the first quarry north of the canal below the village. Asa contractor Mr. Norton constructed part of the Illinois & Michigan canal, part of ' the Northern Pacific railway and a big levee on the bank of the Ohio river at Shawnee town, Illinois. During all these years he continued in active management of the store, the business of which grew constantly. .j About 1870 the present splendid business structure, occupied by II. S. Norton, was built of native Lemont stone, and from that time Mr. Norton's attention was directed entirely to his business in Lemont H. 8. NORTON. H. S. Norton completed his college course at Evanston, came home to Lemont, and entered upon the active duties of clerk in his father's store in Decem ber, 1875. At the same time he took the position of assistant book-keeper, in urkink Mnaltifv risk BflMfod 0im naaala ma year, when he had become thoroughly SSvtt familiar with all departments of the which resulted in the formation of the store and was given charge of the book-. Lemont Electric Light and Power com-keening department He continued as I pany, which has given to Lemont one ixxJt-Keeper .until tne spring or mtj, soi me nest eiecme uw . f'"? i he was given exclusive charge off country. lie is president oi uus corn- converted, and is and has been for years, the only shipper of grain from this market The elevator has a capa city of fifty thousand bushels. The business of the store has kept fully apace with the times and is still undergoing a sure and steady growth. Its reputation for goods of the highest grade and for prices always as low as is consistent with articles of known merit has given it a place in the estimation of the general public which assures the continued liberal support of all who seek merchandise of the best quality, and desire to go where the strictest reliability can be placed in every representation. Groceries, fruits, dry goods, all the desirable fabrics in ginghams, flannels, cotton and woolen goods, comprise a portion of the large stock which he carries. The shoe department comprises every thing from shoes for little girls and boys to the finest of ladies dress and' walking shoes and the highest grade of gen tTeinens cordovan and kangaroo lace and congress stock. Crockery, queensware, tin, glass and aluminum ware, china, table cutlery and woodenware all find places in their respective departments. Coal, wood, feed, hay and grain are all among the commodities handled. The conveniences of the store are modern throughout including a complete heating plant, by which the entire store b ltiing is thoroughly heated. It is also lighted throughout with electric lights. The Stanua. d Cash Carrier system is also in use. Some years ago, in response to the demands of patrons, and citizens generally a safety deposit vault was placed by Mr. Norton in his store which is complete and substantial This vault of Mr. Norton's is built of steel on a found-tion of solid rock and around and over all is built a thick stone wall. The interior to fitted up with individual compartments or safe deposit boxes which may be rented by the year for a nominal mm. GROCERY DEPARTMENT. of sunshine. Mr. Norton has always been a man of Well provided, substantially built and presided over by one thoroughly able and competent to maintain, in every sense, the excellent reputation already gained, the store of II. S. Norton bids fair to grow to even greater proportions and to stand for many decades as the practical result and exemplifies-, tion of what may be accomplished by enterprise, industry and integrity.

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