G.C. Murphy Co.™ Foundation

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Paintsville, Ky., store

Dean Messer of Paintsville, Ky., sends along this photo and a note:

I'm attaching an old photo of the G.C. Murphy store that was such a large part of our community and my life.

I have no date as to when the photo was taken nor who took it. This photo has been circulated for years and has appeared on calendars and a host of other things.

I have so many fond memories here as a child and as an adult growing up in the area and coming to this store, if for nothing else, but to see friends and relatives and visit. This store had the finest snack bar that was ever created. Everyone in my family loved ordering Hamburgers and fries and the all important Fountain Coke. My mother and Aunt would only drink Coke that came from there.

The building still stands and has served many different purposes. To date it is being use as a antique shoppers mall, with many different vendors. The lady in charge is trying to restore as much as she can of the building when Murphy's was the primary occupant.

All the original door fixtures and the large Murphy letters on the outside are gone, but she hopes to find as much as she can, it is part of the Downtown restoration project.

Morgantown, W.Va., Store No. 197, 1987

This store at 222 High St. in Morgantown, W.Va., home of West Virginia University, opened in the 1920s and survived the takeover of G.C. Murphy Co. by Ames Department Stores in 1985. Its appearance is typical of a mid-1980s Murphy's store. The location was among the variety stores spun off by Ames to Murphy Co.’s old rival, McCrory Corp., in 1989. (Photo courtesy Ed Kinter.)


G.C. Murphy Co. home office, early 1980s

From this modest complex of buildings on Fifth Avenue in McKeesport, Pa., activities of the G.C. Murphy Co.’s 500 stores were coordinated. The three-story building in the center of the photo was the location of the first store in the modern Murphy chain. After J.S. Mack and W.C. Shaw took over the company in 1911, its offices expanded to take over an old church, a livery stable, and three neighboring buildings! The upper stories of the building on the right housed the Murphy Company's real estate and construction department. (Photo by John Barna.)


McKeesport, Pa., ‘Old Store No. 1,’ 1906

Store No. 1 on Fifth Avenue in McKeesport, Pa., was opened in 1906 by George Clinton Murphy on the first floor of what had been known as the Ruben Building. Within a few years, the store had relocated to a former church two doors away. By the 1960s, all three of these buildings, plus the church, had become part of the G.C. Murphy Co. home office complex. (Photo courtesy John Barna.)


Downtown Pittsburgh, Store No. 12, 1950s

A crowd gathers to watch a Murphy’s restaurant employee make submarine sandwiches in the window of the company’s flagship Downtown Pittsburgh store. Date unknown. (Photo courtesy Ed Kinter.)


G.C. Murphy Veterans’ Club meeting, 1954

The “veterans’ club” — an organization for Murphy Co. employees who had been with the firm for 15 years or more — was an important part of social life for the Murphy’s “family.” (Photo courtesy Ed Kinter.)



Opening of Fond Du Lac, Wis., Store No. 340

Managers of a new Murphy’s store in Fond du Lac, Wis., in the 1970s gather for a group portrait shortly before the first customers arrive. Even as smaller, inner-city locations closed, G.C. Murphy Co. continued to open both new variety stores and ”Murphy’s Marts” throughout the 1970s and early ’80s. (Photo courtesy Ed Kinter.)



Murphy’s Mart, 1979

As discount stores began to play a larger role in retailing in the 1970s, suburban “Murphy’s Marts” became more and more important to G.C. Murphy Co.’s success. This unidentified location, pictured on the cover of one of the corporation’s annual reports, is typical in appearance. (Photo courtesy Robert Messner.)



G.C. Murphy restaurant, late 1960s

Before fast-food restaurants were common, G.C. Murphy Co. lunch counters and cafeterias provided cheap, quick and nourishing meals — and enticed shoppers to spend more time in the company’s stores. This location may be the restaurant in Greengate Mall, Greensburg, Pa. (Photo courtesy Ed Kinter.)