Harrison Brothers Hardware was established on the downtown Huntsville square in 1897 but, dare you think this makes them “old news”, you could not be more wrong. Though they first opened their doors as a hometown resource for everything from hammer and nails to pigeons, today they combine the nostalgic ambience of yesteryear with a laser focus on providing local goods, art and downhome delicacies. I consider myself a big Harrison Brothers Hardware fan; heck, I even took up the role of Board Chair for the Historic Huntsville Foundation which owns and operates the store. However, I would never presume think I could possibly know all the amazing history behind this special hub of Huntsville commerce for over a century. So, I reached out to store manager, Cheryl Sexton, for the inside scoop on just a few of the things that make Harrison Brothers Hardware special. Here is what she had to share:
- Harrison Brothers Hardware has operated on the downtown Huntsville square for over 120 years. Even with all that time to browse around, what are 5 interesting artifacts shoppers may have missed on our past visits? “Next time you’re in, make sure to look for the nail heads on the floor that were pounded next to the numbers for people that couldn’t read. We have a few other quirky favorites including Harrison the cat, false teeth in a case on the freight elevator, a replica of the Harrison Brothers building made by a volunteer who used to work here, and you have to admire the beautiful wavy glass on the store front windows.”
- What are 4 little known facts about how Harrison Brothers Hardware operates, its mission in the community or its place in Rocket City history? “We love the history of Wernher Von Braun and his team shopping here. Also, we don’t think everyone realizes we are a non-profit business or that Harrison Brothers is the oldest continuously operating hardware store in Alabama. With all the Huntsville growth that has happened and continues to happen, it’s amazing to think this store was once the main staple for everything you needed in this community.”
- You get lots of visitors and residents alike shopping for special local treasures. What would you say are the 3 must-have Huntsville swag pieces anyone would love to have in their personal collection? “It’s definitely the handmade items by local artists, marbles, as well as vintage toys and candy.”
- Harrison Brothers Hardware has so many unique items but, if your customers were choosing their favorites with their pocketbooks, what would be the 2 things everyone has on the shopping list? “Gourmet foods made in Alabama are always popular and puzzles for all ages have been a big hit before, during, and since quarantine.”
- Lastly, what is the number 1 thing Huntsville residents and visitors alike can do to support Harrison Brothers Hardware now and for another 100 years to come? “We would always encourage shopping local and supporting events! Also, we would love for everyone to invite friends and relatives, including out of town visitors, to come to Harrison Brothers Hardware store.”
It is simply impossible to capture all the history this special place represents in just a few short paragraphs. So, next time you find yourself downtown grabbing lunch, a beer, a load of peaches from Greene Street Market or just enjoying a beautiful stroll, stop in at Harrison Brothers Hardware and marvel at this charming Rocket City treasure.
Sixth-generation native Huntsvillian and lover of all things Rocket City, living in constant fear of personal geekery deficits and overall lack of geographical nerd-appropriateness, but valiantly fighting to stay abreast of the latest and perceived coolest assets in North Alabama in order to be allowed to stay at the smart people party. I sometimes travel to cool places, see fancy things and write words about them at Tour Dates Travel.