Charles Morton Southall graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy with gold medals for...
The History & Architectural Legacy of the Christy Building in Sheffield
Let's delve into the fascinating tale of G.W. Christy of Elm, PA and the construction of his iconic building that became a cornerstone of Sheffield's history for many decades.
The narrative unfolds on June 10, 1890, when Sam Keller sold a lot at the corner of Fourth Street and Montgomery Avenue to Mr. G.W. Christy of Elm, Pennsylvania. The transaction, valued at $5,000, marked the beginning of a transformative endeavor both for Sheffield and for Christy himself. Not even one month after his purchase, the excavation for the Christy building commenced, signifying the birth of a structure that would stand tall as a high mark of downtown Sheffield.
Foundations and Progress:
Early July of 1890, witnessed the completion of standing water pumped from Mr. Christy's lot, allowing the excavation work to resume. A bustling scene unfolded by mid-July, as workmen labored on laying foundations for the building, under the watchful eye of Contractor & Builder W.J. Casey who also built the Sheffield Hotel and the school building that now houses the Sheffield Board of Education. Chrisy’s three-story stone and brick building, boasting a splendid hall in the third story, promised to be a testament to Sheffield's architectural grandeur.
By September 1890, the Christy building, estimated at total building cost of $10,000, had reached its last story, with interior work soon to commence. As October approached, the building neared completion, with roofing imminent. Mr. Casey affirmed that the structure, one of the city's handsomest stores, would be ready for G.W. Christy by mid-November, 1890.
Unveiling a Masterpiece:
November 9, 1890, marked the anticipated completion of the Christy building, hailed as one of the city's finest. The Knights of Pythias wasted no time and secured a hall within the building, showcasing their commitment to furnishing it to the highest standards. G.W. Christy's grand establishment was set to open its doors in January 1891, welcoming the community into an elegant space.
The journey was not without challenges, as evidenced by a fire on December 12, 1891, causing damage estimated at one thousand dollars. However, the community rallied together, and the building emerged fairly unscathed, a testament to its resilience.
Legacy Lives On:
As time marched forward, the Christy building continued to evolve. In 1897, Mr. James Gambill leased the building, adding a new chapter by opening the finest saloon in North Alabama. The structure witnessed changes in the later years, eventually housing the Galloway Drug Store for quite some time.
In the spirit of progress, the original Christy building met its end in the late 1970s to pave the way for new developments. The Sterchis building replaced it, a departure from the old architectural charm. Despite the changes, the memories and legacy of G.W. Christy's building lingered, a symbol of Sheffield's rich history.
G.W. Christy's building, once a beacon of architectural splendor, remains etched in the annals of Sheffield's history. As we walk through the evolving streets, we can't help but marvel at the echoes of the past and the indomitable spirit that shaped this corner of the Shoals. The legacy of G.W. Christy's building lives on, a testament to the intersection of local history and enduring architecture.