Local History Corner- D.E. Turner’s Hardware Store

compiled by Andy Poore, Special Collections Curator,  Mooresville Public Library


Buying out the  Tomlinson Hard-ware Store in 1899, Mr. D.E. Turner, in conjunction with his father, W.W. Turner formed the new D.E. Turner Co. and was first established at 170 North Main Street in 1899, before moving to their current cite at 111 North Main Street in 1909. The building at 170 North Main Street then became the Confectionary store for Charles Mack before he moved to Center Avenue in 1937; today, the building is home to The Famous Toastery Restaurant and the former home to The Daily Grind. In addition to a hard-ware store, one could purchase buggies constructed at the store at a cost of $23.75 to $123.00 as well as other goods. The double doors to the right were used to roll completed carriages into the street. The balcony at the back of the store was where the carriages were assembled before being rolled out of the store. The large arch to the right of the store was the entrance to the First National Bank which was located beside the hardware store as well as the entrance to Dr. Stephen Frointis, whose dentist office was located on the third floor above the hardware store. Today, the stairs are closed, but the doorway  was located just to the left of the inside of the arch. Inside Turner’s, the wall to the right is the back of the staircase, which was moved three feet out into the store to accommodate the staircase. Upon entering the store, you will find some of the original items sold at the store over the years in a display case. The store also houses the original counters that are now more than a century old. With the advent of automobiles, the store also became the first gas station in town, selling gas from a crank pump located in the front of the store. The store was constructed with granite from the area as seen in the areas above the windows as well as the end post on either side of the store front. The brick building that Turner’s Hardware has occupied since 1899 was built in the 1890’s and was one of the first brick buildings in the Town of Mooresville. At the back of the store, you will find the oldest certified elevator in the Town of Mooresville. The elevator was used to move the carriages as well as other materials. Even though the elevator is still certified, the elevator is no longer needed, but because the elevator is significant in the history of Turner’s Hardware as well as the Town of Mooresville, the elevator is kept on display in the hardware store. Turner’s Hardware has continued to serve Mooresville for more than a century and today, it is one of the oldest operating businesses in the town.

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