History of Conwell Candy Co building

History of Conwell Candy Co building

A work in progress, I hope to map out the complete history of this amazing building we now occupy.  Much of this has been gleaned from Facebook groups and local memories and there is a lot of digging left to do in newspaper archives and the memories of the elders still around.  As the timeline is filled out with the various businesses that have operated here over the last century I hope to then put it into the context of the wider economic history of down town and the country as a whole.  Growing up I was drawn to the old buildings in down town Newark and couldn’t fathom why so many sat empty and neglected.  I’ve since learned something about the ebbs and flows of economies, and how cultural and developmental trends led to down towns being abandoned in fits in starts from the 50’s onward.  But I digress.  This page is about the building at 28 N. 7th St. in Zanesville, OH.

Beer ad that ran shortly after prohibition ended

Built in 1919 for the Conwell Candy Co.  Run by owner Ted Conwell, the candy company was established when prohibition forced his Main St tavern to close.  In 1933 Conwell Candy Co began distributing beer as prohibition was repealed.  (whether by rumor or assumption, it’s been said Conwell never stopped distributing alcohol but I’ve found nothing written to back that up)  In 1935 Ted was struck and killed by a car but the operation continued in his name.  In 1938 candy was dropped as an offering and Conwell Candy Co. operated as a beer distributor out of this location until 1951 when it was moved to Linden Ave.

The next 11 years are a mystery pending further research.

Jim, Sandra Jean and Reva Lee of Lee’s Bakery, 1970.

Around 1962, Lee’s Bakery moved their operation into 28 N. 7th St and operated until there until 1972.  They were primarily a commercial bakery keeping many display cases full throughout the city.  They did keep a small case for walk-in customers and I’ve heard warm recounts of folks walking downtown for donuts on a weekend morning.  Some of the Lee family have been in to shop and share stories.  I really appreciated both and this picture of the Lee’s provided by Reva.


The exact timeline is patchy again from here.  Motion Electric operated in the 80’s.  Zane Surplus was occupying it by the early 90’s which was a variety shop that sold clocks, lamps and various odds and ends.   Christine’s Antique Mall was retailing on all three floors of the building by 1998.  Several customers have remarked on how neat of an antique shop it was.

28 N. 7th St right before we leased it

The building changed hands in 2002 and the current owner purchased the building in 2006.  Some updates were made on the first floor and Downtown Video (formerly Couch Potato Video on 6th St) operated here for their final months of business. The second floor was converted to an apartment but the retail space sat empty for several years and 7th was mostly a stretch of vacant eye sores.  Gemini’s opened here in November of 2015.  Over our first 2 years here we’ve seen much improvement on the street; the eye-sores have either been razed or bought and rehabbed.  Several new businesses and galleries have opened and or on their way within a few hundred feet of our door.  The momentum downtown feels positive.

28 N. 7th after facade renovated by Clean Cut Custom Painting

The landlord has been very gracious and takes care of the building.  Gemini’s has now acquired the whole first floor and will soon be adding 2 additional retail spaces and a dedicated classroom/guest reader space.  Plans are also in the works for an art gallery and studio space in the basement (Fallout Studios) in the short term and a yoga/martial arts/dance studio space on the third floor late next year.

If you have information or historic pictures of this building or the corner of 7th and Fountain Square please contribute!