Store Logo From the Past Still Present on Building in Downtown Troy

By Judy Deeter

TROY - From generation to generation, some things never change.  For decades, people walking in the southwest corner of Troy’s Public Square have seen the logo “Harr’s on the Square.” While long-time Troy residents know why the logo is there, younger people and residents new to Troy may not know its story.

This 1912 post card shows the logo when it was new more than a century ago. It is on the building at 317 Public Square (where Bakehouse Bread and Cookie Company is today). According to both printed information on the post card and local historical records, the building opened that year as a clothing and general merchandise store. Some long-ago stories refer to the store only as a “clothing” store, but interior store photographs and old store advertisements indicate that glassware and kitchen merchandise were sold along with clothing. The store was owned and operated by the Daniel Harr family. At the time the card was published, the family had been a Troy merchant for more than half a century.  In fact, 1912 newspaper advertisements show the years of business as 1856-1912.

The post card was mailed from Troy on December 10, 1912. It was sent by a man named Clarence to Mr. T.W. Ingle in St. Paris, Ohio.  Clarence must have been in a happy mood as he wrote the card.  At the top of the card he has drawn a smiling face, which looks similar to an emoji that people often attach to modern day computer messages.

Prior to owning the store in the post card picture, the Harr’s had operated an earlier store at the same location. An artist’s sketch of the former Harr building was published in the January 4, 1912 edition of the Miami Union newspaper with the following announcement:  “This building will be torn down in February. Our rebuilding sale starts January 11th.”  In the newspaper’s next edition on January 11, 1912, an artist’s rendering of the new store was published. It is the same picture that is on the post card. The exact date the new store was opened and information about who and how the building was constructed has not been located. It was open by mid-1912.  Several businesses have used the building down through the years.  

Daniel Harr, a Virginian who had moved to Ohio in 1830, started the family retail business in Troy in 1856. When his son Julius became an adult, Harr made him a partner in the business. In 1880, Harr’s son Charles also became a partner. Their business in those years was known as D. Harr & Sons. In 1889, Charles Harr’s nephew Walter Duer moved to Troy from Fletcher to attend school and work in the Harr store. (Harr’s wife Martha and Duer’s mother Mary were sisters; both daughters of Mr. and Mrs. George Worthington of Fletcher.)  At some time prior to 1894, Duer also became a partner in the Harr family store.  The store business ownership name was then changed to Harr, Duer & Harr.   

For years, the name Harr, Duer and Harr was on the front of the building. It can be seen in the post card just below the large upper floor windows. In the 1890s, both Daniel and his son Julius passed away. (Daniel died in 1894; Julius in 1897). Charles’ son William became a business partner sometime prior to the opening of the new store’s opening in 1912.  Through all the family changes, the partnership remained as Harr, Duer and Harr to the end of their business operations.

Along with his business interests, Charles Harr served on the Troy City Council and was on the board of directors of the First National Bank. It is believed he was involved in family store into the 1920s. He died in March 4, 1922. His obituary in the March 4, 1922 edition of the Troy Daily News says that for many years he had been a friend and neighbor to Troy drug store owner Charles Tobey.  Both Harr and Tobey were well-known as successful local businessmen.  By coincidence, Tobey died just 13 hours before Harr. The deaths of the two friends and neighbors coming so close together were a shock to Troy residents. Their obituaries appear side by side in the March 4th newspaper edition.

Walter Duer sold his financial interest in the store to the Harr family members probably in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  It should be noted that along with his work at Harr’s, he also served for several years as president of the Troy Board of Education. He died in August 1933.

William Harr retired and closed the Harr store in the early months of 1933.  An advertisement in the December 6, 1932 edition of the Troy Daily News announced a “Quitting Business Sale.”  The sale continued at least until January 1933.  A photograph (below) taken by Barton Studio in Troy shows a crowd at the store’s going out of business sale.  The Harr family, however, continued to own the building until after William Harr’s death in October 1943.

Though the Harr’s store closed in 1933, their old “Harr’s on the Square” logo has remained part of the downtown Public Square.  It is still there today.

Newspaper stories and photographs of the store are in The Troy Historical Society research collection at the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library.  The library is located at 100 West Main St., Troy.  For information, call (937) 339-5900 or e-mail tths@frontier.com .

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