Peebles was established in 1840, by two brothers, William Sharp Peebles and Joseph Rusk Peebles. They opened on the n. e. cor. of 5th & Race Sts. and was called W. S. Peebles. When Joseph died in 1866, his son Joseph S. continued in the family business. Their business outgrew the building and their capital, so they brought J. G. Schmidlapp into the business. He was known far and wide as one of Cincinnati's smartest financiers. In September, 1879 they moved into palatial quarters in the Pike's Opera House building. They incorporated in July, 1888.

Peebles7-pikes, Joseph R. Sons Co.-West 4th St.-Pike Building.JPG (394497 bytes)
Pike's Opera House

   Due to 4th Streets rapid rise in rents, in 1900 they secured a lot on the south side of Government Square which had been used by the Cavagna Grocery plus an adjacent building. On these two lots they erected a 6 story building with capacious wine cellars 20' deep. This is the store you see in the first two images below. I added the 3rd, later image, to show you who moved into these premises after they left, Kroger.

Peebles1a-1920.jpg (232442 bytes)        Peebles-5th St.-1910.jpg (403442 bytes)        Peebles2a to Kroger-1941.jpg (293661 bytes)

   Some of Peebles mottoes were "Not how cheap, but how good," and  "If it comes from Peebles it's good: if not, they will make it good," and "The remembrance of quality lingers long after the price is forgotten," were known all over the country. At one time or another Peebles had branches at 64 East Fourth street, northwest corner Seventh and Mound streets, northeast corner Seventh and Cutter streets, and in 1883 they opened the branch on the northeast corner of East McMillan Street and Gilbert Avenue in Walnut Hills which was known as Kay's Corner, called that after a local developer. Within 2 months the corner became known as Peebles Corner. It was rumored that Peebles gave gifts of cigars and groceries to bribe streetcar motormen to call out "Peebles Corner" at this stop.

Peebles departments that were used in their stores.

Peebles Bottled Liquer Department.JPG (690664 bytes)        Peebles Wholesale Liquer Department.JPG (1081791 bytes)        Peebles Grocery Department.JPG (531250 bytes)        Peebles-Section of Grocery Department.JPG (575248 bytes)
       Liquor  Dept.                     Wholesale Liquor Dept.                     Grocery Dept.                     Section of Grocery Dept.


Peebles Office & Counting Room.JPG (737511 bytes)        Peebles Retail Cigar Department.JPG (499863 bytes)         Peebles Wholesale Cigar Department.JPG (538642 bytes)        Peebles Fruit Department Window.JPG (570206 bytes)
Office & Counting Room                Retail Cigar Dept.                   Wholesale Cigar Dept.                         Fruit Dept.              


Joseph Peebles.jpg (71613 bytes)

   Peebles was the first mercantile house in Cincinnati to use the Bell Telephone, the first to deliver goods by horse and wagon, free of charge, and among the first to introduce the typewriter in the office. After half a century of service to gourmets who craved French Champagne, Russian caviar, and pate de foie gras, This store and two other branches closed in 1931 during the depression. The "fancy groceries" that Peebles was noted for became luxuries that few could afford, plus competition from Kroger and A&P settled Peebles fate.

Peebles5 Corner-Walnut Hills.JPG (594067 bytes)          Peoples Corner.jpg (160362 bytes)           Paramount Theater peebles Corner.jpg (430348 bytes)           Reprint From Peeples Corner.jpg (181501 bytes)
                             Peebles Corner                                                    Paramount theater               East from Peebles Corner
                                                                                                                                                          RPPC  Reprint

   The Paramount Theater was built in 1931 and replaced the Peebles store. If you look closely you will see the entrance is quite a ways up McMillan Street. They wanted to make sure people driving up Gilbert Ave. would not miss seeing the Paramount so they constructed the building all the way to the corner and placed a large Paramount sign on the large pyramid type pole on top. The 2nd photo shows the corner as it looks today and In the 3rd card you can see the old Orpheum Theater (built in 1909) this is where a young Tyrone Power worked as an usher. It was replaced by the RKO Paramount. The Orpheum was razed in 1952 for a variety store. The Paramount closed in 1961 although the building remains as a gutted relic.
   In 1985 Peebles Corner was added to the National Register of Historic Places although all that remains is the name.


Peebles Corner-1926.jpg (1741033 bytes)
Looking east-1926

    Peebles corner was so busy it required a Cincinnati Street Railway supervisor to be on duty at all times. That's him third from the right. This photograph actually has me confused. Peebles closed in 1931 yet in this 1926 image the Peebles building has a Rexall Drug store in business. Any help "out there"?



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