Welcome to Downtown LaGrange, where history comes alive in its iconic landmarks – the Troup County Courthouse, the McLellan Building, Mansour’s Department Store and the Kress Building. From the courthouse’s architectural grandeur to McLellan’s resilient spirit and the Kress Building’s vibrant charm, each structure tells a unique story of LaGrange’s past.
1930s: Troup County Courthouse
Let’s begin our journey in the 1930s, a decade marked by resilience and determination. The Troup County Courthouse, erected in 1904, stands proudly as a testament to LaGrange’s unwavering commitment to progress and justice. Designed by architect Andrew J. Bryan, its elegance echoes that of the Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, AL. Albert Lehmann, Jr. meticulously tended the courthouse clock, installed in 1904 and readjusted it in 1930.
The courthouse faced a tragic fire on November 5, 1936, during which Nurse Ruby Williams and one of her patients perished, prompting Dr. Silas C. Rutland to heroically toss county health records from an upper window. Despite this adversity, the community rallied to save most records, preserving LaGrange’s history for future generations.
1940s: McLellan Building
Transitioning into the 1940s, we encounter the McLellan Building – a symbol of community spirit. Originally the site of the J.A. Bradfield House, it was torn down in 1913 for the Kress Building and the Callaway Department Store. Rebuilt between 1923-24 after the Callaway Department Store building burned in 1923, the McLellan Building became home to McLellan’s 5-and-Dime, a nostalgic establishment that offered solace and comfort to the townsfolk during the tumult of World War II.
Operating from 1924 to around 1975, the building witnessed the evolving landscape of Downtown LaGrange, adapting to the changing times while remaining a steadfast pillar of the community. Its transformation into the McLellan Parlor now pays homage as a beloved part of Del’Avant Event Center.
1950s: A Decade of Change
In the 1950s, LaGrange underwent a profound transformation as America emerged from the shadows of World War II. The post-war era introduced newfound prosperity, leading to economic growth and suburban expansion. Families sought refuge in the burgeoning communities surrounding LaGrange, yet amidst new development, Downtown LaGrange remained a beacon of tradition and community.
1960s: The Kress Building & Mansour’s Department Store
During the dynamic 1960s, a surge of cultural evolution and progress swept through America, casting its influence upon Downtown LaGrange. Standing proudly amidst this wave of change was the Kress Building, an architectural gem built in 1913. Born from the ashes of the J.A. Bradfield House, its construction by Pike Brothers Lumber Company ushered in a new chapter of the town’s history. Across the passing decades, the Kress Building retained its position as a vital hub of Downtown LaGrange, adapting to the shifting tides of retail and commerce. Despite the closure of Kress in the 1970s and the subsequent evolution of its spaces, its enduring legacy lives on within Del’Avant Event Center today.
Established in 1917, Mansour’s Department Store quickly became renowned for its commitment to offering top-quality retail products. What started as one small store in the early 1900s steadily grew into an entire block of bustling business, thriving in the 1960s under the visionary leadership of Nasor Mansour I and his family. Not only did the store provide exceptional merchandise, but it also cultivated a profound sense of community among its patrons, greeting them by name and fostering a strong sense of belonging. In an era marked by rapid industrialization and changing consumer habits, Mansour’s stood as a steadfast symbol of tradition, quality and reliability. Today, as the Courtyard by Marriott stands on the site, Mansour’s legacy of exceptional retail experiences seamlessly blends with modern hospitality, bridging the past with contemporary comforts in the vibrant tapestry of LaGrange’s history.
As we explore these historic sites, we’re transported through time, unraveling the layers of LaGrange’s past. Each landmark serves as a window into the town’s rich heritage, inviting us to continue celebrating the captivating history of Downtown LaGrange while honoring the resilience and spirit of generations who have called it home.