It stood at the heart of the Court Square – enduring there more than a century. It saw a courthouse burn down and a new one rebuilt. It stood by while state militia marched by to push the Night Riders back from the city.

The building at the corner of 4th and Main streets saw businesses come and go amidst one of Murray’s most commercially rich districts before it suddenly collapsed in the night Saturday, sending little pieces of history careening into the streets.

The property’s history dates back to Murray’s incorporation in 1844. The corner was an original part of the small farming town.

In 1876, the Covington Hotel was constructed. It was a posh hotel where a weekly Sunday lunch attracted the Murray elite. The hotel also hosted dances.

The hotel  moved north to a larger location, though, and deed records show that J.W. Gilbert and W.P. Gatlin purchased the property in 1887 from E.H. Covington. Gilbert and Gatlin shared the interests one-half each. A year later, Gilbert sold his share to Gatlin and the W.P. Gatlin & Company built the two-story brick building we know today. The construction costs amounted to less then $8,000.

For many decades, the west side of the first floor was a hardware store owned and operated by Jess and Bert Sexton. In the basement, the pair assembled and sold wagons, buggies and farm equipment. At the back of the building was the first location of the Bank of Murray. The east side of the first floor facing Main Street (or then “Main Cross”) was Mr. Foster’s grocery store.

The bank of Murray moved out of the location at the turn  of the century and many different stores conducted business in the location before significant renovations took place in the 1960s until last  week when the building housed the accounting offices Tony Page, LLC and Richard Jones Attorney at Law.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article was collected from the Murray Main Street and Executive Director Deana Wright.

Recommended for you