More than 50 people gathered in downtown Lawrence on Saturday, July 6, for the dedication of a historical plaque, sponsored by LPA, on the site of the former Ernst & Son Hardware store at 826 Massachusetts St. Former Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx, historian Brenna Buchanan Young and Linda Allen, the daughter of the late Rod Ernst, longtime owner of the store, spoke at the ceremony honoring the legacy of this important Lawrence structure, which was built in 1880.
Philip Ernst Sr. and Thomas H. Kennedy established Kennedy & Ernst Hardware at the location in 1905, and it became Ernst & Son Hardware in 1925. The Ernst family operated the hardware store for almost another century until it closed in 2018 after the death of Rod Ernst.
Generations of Lawrencians knew the hardware store as a treasure trove of household goods, tools, hardware supplies, doodads and knick-knacks, stacked almost to the ceiling—and in its legendary basement. Ernst family members were always on hand to lead customers to the most obscure items and to provide project advice to do-it-yourselfers.
Here’s a gallery of photos from the event. From top: LPA President Dennis Brown and former Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx; local historian Brenna Buchanan Young; Lynda Allen, daughter of late store owner Rod Ernst; attendees tour the building, which will is being rehabilitated and will open later this year as a Jock’s Nitch store; ornate woodwork in the former apartment over the store, which is being renovated as office space: