Ironton landmarks up for National Register

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2007

It was called the “daylight corner” when A.J. Brumberg ran one of Ironton’s upscale men’s stores at 222 S. Third St. in the early part of the last century.

Windows covering most of the exterior of the five-story structure built in 1906 brought the sunshine indoors like an atrium to what at that time was the city’s tallest building.

This morning the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board will decide if the Brumberg Building meets the initial criteria necessary to be listed on the National Register.

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If it does, that board will recommend to the State Historic Preservation Officer that the nomination be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places for further review. Usually, it takes 90 days for a building to be placed on the Register.

Also coming under consideration before the 17-member advisory board is another Ironton landmark, the one-time Marlow Theater building complex at the corner of South Third Street and Park Avenue.

The early 20th Century Neoclassical-style structure is made up of two buildings. One is a four-story building where C.F. Johnston & Co. operated a department store from 1920 to 1932. Later it became Stiffler’s Department Store.

Next to the Johnston building was the Marlow Theater operated by the Stern Brothers that showed first-run films —-silent and talkies —- from 1920 to 1952.

The complex’s name is an amalgam of two of Ironton’s most prominent citizens of the early part of the preceding century:

Col. H. A. Marting and his son-in-law, Dr. A.C. Lowry.

Marting, a Scioto County-born entrepreneur who relocated to Ironton upon his marriage, owned the city’s telephone company and Marting Steel and Iron and had an interest in the Foster Stove Co.

At his death around 1920, telephone service was stopped for a few moments in respect for the businessman.

Lowry, an Ohio representative, was indicted in the statewide bribery scandal of 1911, according to a New York Times archival report.

Among the criteria necessary for placement on the National Register, a structure must be associated with events or people who have made a contribution to the country’s history. Both Ironton buildings were chosen as representatives of the city’s early years as a commercial center.

The purpose of a National Register listing is to raise awareness of a community’s history. Owners of a listing do not have to make any repairs to a structure and can remodel or even tear down a building, if they choose.