If you lived in Huntsville at any point over the last 90 years or so, chances are good that you bought something from Lewter’s Hardware on Washington Street downtown.
The legendary and historic store closed in October of 2022, and since then, the empty store remains among the growing downtown area. But the City of Huntsville has found a way to keep the Lewter family legacy alive for generations to come.
The Huntsville Planning Commission voted to rename the 350-foot section of Meridian Street between Washington and Jefferson streets “Lewters Way.” The measure was introduced at the May 11 City Council meeting and will come before the Huntsville City Council for final adoption on May 25.
Lewter’s opened in 1928, and was a staple in the Huntsville business community, serving customers loyally over the next nine decades and more.
Preserving the Lewter Legacy
Mac Lewter (pictured above) has been instrumental in making sure his family’s legacy in Huntsville does not just die with the closing of the store last fall. Back in 1980, the store was among many downtown landmarks listed on a National Register of Historic Places nomination form.
But when the store closed, something really cool happened. Mac Lewter donated the hardware store’s ledgers — dating back to the store’s opening years — to the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Archives, Special Collections and Digital Initiatives.
The ledgers aren’t just pages of purchases. Donna Castellano of the Historic Huntsville Foundation said that the ledgers help us to reconstruct history. In them, you can get glimpses of what early 20th century Huntsville was like—how businesses responded to the Great Depression, how they responded to an influx of rocket scientists, how the textile industry impacted their business and more.
Eventually, UAH will also digitize those records so that they can be found online. You’ll be able to see the names of Lewter’s customers, where they lived and trace the patterns of Huntsville history.
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