Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meinzen Confectionery, Steubenville, Ohio

The oral tradition in our family was that Grampa Henry Meinzen, my maternal great-grandfather, owned a cigar store. My childhood response was, "Oh, yuck." (Of course I couldn't have said that aloud because it would have been disrespectful.)

Decades later, I was pleasantly surprised to find Henry in Steubenville city directories. In the 1904, 1906, 1911, and 1913 directories he was listed as a confectioner with a store at 308 South Third Avenue, next door to his residence. In the 1915-1916 Steubenville City Directory, he was listed as a grocer, but in 1918 he was again listed as a confectioner. A candy store!

I suppose it was easier on the adults to tell the children it was a cigar store instead of candy store: I loved candy and would have been a pest to learn what kind of candy he sold and how much it cost. But knowing he owned a candy store would have endeared him to me.

My father was a child of candy-buying age just a few years later. He remembered that a penny's worth of candy was enough to make him sick. My eyes would have sparkled at the idea of buying so much candy for a penny.

From the photograph above it's difficult to tell exactly what's in the cases. I think there are boxes which look about the size of our modern-day cigar boxes. And I see jars on a higher shelf behind that counter that look like they could have candy in them. It's possible that he sold both cigars and confections.

As far as I've been able to learn, Henry's last year as a shop owner was 1918. Perhaps the combination of age and illness caused him to close the shop. He was 79 in 1918, and his wife, Elizabeth, had already been diagnosed with cancer of the face.

Henry was born 176 years ago, on July 25, 1827. This post honors his memory. Happy birthday, Grampa!

This post is also a contribution to the Carnival of Genealogy: Business and Commerce. Thank you to Jasia of Creative Gene for hosting the Carnival. You can find links to all the submissions at her blog sometime after the first week of August.


  1. These are wonderful pictures. Wouldn't it have been fun to visit your grandfather's candy store? My husband and I recently took a trip to the town where his gggrandfather owned several businesses at one time or another. It was fun to take what we had found in a city directory and try to locate the site of his grocery store and skating rink.

  2. I realized reading your post that I have some great information on a g-grandfather's shoe store. Where is the time to write! Glad you are writing.

  3. What a nice story about your great grandfather's business. How funny that your parents told you it was a cigar store... that made me chuckle! It sounds like something my parents would have done too. Great pics! Thanks for sharing your story in the COG!

  4. What a delightful post. Great photos! I think you are right, those ARE candy jars!!!

  5. Nancy, what a great picture to go along with your story of your grandpa's store. I read the story, then I'd make the pic full screen size and lose myself in his store-- in the sitting area behind the curtain, the calendar on the wall, to jars and containers --- and that great guy, the customer I guess --- and then I assume, it's grandpa behind the counter. Love it.


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