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.
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.
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.
Liquor Dept. Wholesale Liquor Dept. Grocery Dept. Section of Grocery Dept.
Office & Counting Room Retail Cigar Dept. Wholesale Cigar Dept. Fruit Dept.
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.
Peebles Corner Paramount theater East from Peebles Corner
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 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"?