ABOUT RIVER READER BOOKS
Our building has looked over the downtown area for over a century. If you think about it, 1010 Main was built approximately 20 years after the Civil War ended. The building was around during the Victorian Era, and has seen the invention of the automobile, the Great Depression, two world wars, the first radio and television broadcasts, personal computers, the dot-com bubble and bust, just to name a few historic events.
The building is a "shotgun style", i.e. it is very narrow relative to its width. In fact, our store is only 20 feet wide! The reason for the odd proportions is simple: Taxes. Taxes on commercial property used to be based on frontage therefore the narrower the storefront, the less one was taxed!
Constructed about 1885, the building's Queen Anne style suggests a home above the commercial ground floor, although there is no record of that. Joseph Long established Long's Grocery in this prime location and soon was jointed by his brother George who ran "a first class butcher shop" in an early addition to the back of the building. Long's grocery offered local fresh produce and the "best stock of groceries, extracts and spices in town". Their ads indicated they also sold a wide selection of dry goods and household items.
The family business continued as two of George's sons clerked in the store at early ages and gradually took on more responsibility. When Joseph left that operation in 1914 to open a smaller store on Franklin Avenue, George and his son Otto continued in this location. A longtime employee, Leo Shinn, joined in partnership with the Longs.
Otto and Leo continued the grocery business, and Joseph J. Long returned from WWI to assist his father in the meat department. By 1945 Otto Long was sole owner of the business.
That year the property was owned by Oscar Wulfekammer established a shoe store here which he ran until the 1960s. The store was well known in the region for good quality shoes at reasonable prices.
The next owners of 1010 Main Street were Arlo and June Vincent. Arlo had run a small shoe repair and harness shop in Windsor, MO. After WWII he established Vincent's Shoes which he expanded to locations in Clinton, Warrensburg, and Blue Springs as well as Lexington. The Vincents' daughter Dixie Coffey moved to Lexington in 1965 to manage the store until it closed in 1997.
In 1967 a fire damaged several building in this block, included smoke and water damage to the inventory of Vincent's Shoes. Dixie Coffey held a "fire sale" which drew large crowds to the store.
In 2000 the building was purchased by Charles and Helen Heisler for their graphic design firm, Heisler Graphics. Rehabilitation of the building was begun at that time, and has been continued by us, starting in 2004. The building now houses our shop, River Reader.
(portions courtesy Lexington Tourism Bureau)