In December, James D. Conklin donated a model of the Conklin Hardware Store to the Talbot Library and Museum. James is the grandson of Henry and Ruth Conklin. The model was made by Paul Lantzer, the son-in-law of the Conklins, several years ago. Henry and Ruth operated the store for several decades.
The Conklin Hardware Store building was located on the southwest corner of Main and Colcord. The building was still standing in Colcord as late as 1985, but is no longer standing. The SW corner of Main and Colcord is now occupied by the Colcord Town Hall.
In January, 1946, Henry and Ruth Conklin purchased the Hardware Store in Colcord (then named Overman Bros. Store). The previous owners were Overman Brothers and Ed Smith/Elmer Andrews. The Conklins renamed the store Conklin Hardware and were successful entrepreneurs.
Upon buying the store, Henry built a new and larger ice house and grew the ice house route he had started for Ed Smith and Elmer Andrews.
Over time, Henry and Ruth enlarged the inventory/stock and introduced new variety items, including seasonal items. Customers would come from Fort Smith and Tulsa to pick up specialty items for holidays like Easter, July 4th, and Christmas. Ruth especially enjoyed selling children's toys.
After the Rural Electric Co-op was formed, and electricity was available to everyone in the area, Henry began stocking refrigerators. These sold almost faster than he could keep them in stock. Over time, the Conklins also did plumbing and electrical jobs.
Henry and Ruth were well liked in the community. The central wood-burning stove was a favorite meeting place for the townspeople. Henry worked to establish a water and sewer project in Colcord. He also served as the first mayor of Colcord after the town was incorporated.
The Talbot Library and Museum is honored to display the Conklin Hardware Store Model. There are memories of this store by so many people who have grown up in Colcord and those who still live in the area.
This post can also be found in our Bit of History Blog.
The Story of Two Towns: A History of Row-Colcord and the Surrounding Area, Volume 1 (1985)
The Talbot Library and Museum
Talbot Library and Museum