Memories of Madison Hardware

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Posted by Train-O on Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:25 PM

cwburfle,

Thank you,

I stand corrected, I was told they owned the building.

Then, as usual, high rent prices drove them out, being one of the determining factors!

Ralph

 

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Posted by arkady on Sunday, October 23, 2011 10:08 PM

I never visited Madison Hardware, though I often wished I could have.  I got my #53 Rio Grande snowplow (mint in box, unused, and with the correct "a") by mail order from them in about 1972.  I saw it in one of those MR ads that everyone mentions.

 

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Posted by cwburfle on Monday, October 24, 2011 9:19 AM

I stand corrected, I was told they owned the building.

Then, as usual, high rent prices drove them out, being one of the determining factors!

There are many rumors circulating about Madison, as one would expect, given Madison Hardware's position in the world of Lionel. However, there were no better sources than Carl and Lou. Of course, what is posted here is second hand.

Let me restate: the owner's terms for a new lease was a minor factor. I wouldn't use the term "determining factor".

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Posted by Train-O on Monday, October 24, 2011 11:51 AM

cwburfle,

Was, the closing of a Legend and era. due to age?

Ralph 

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Posted by Texas Pete on Monday, October 24, 2011 1:01 PM

Dad took me to Madison one time.  Had to have been '55 or '56.  My recollection is that of a poorly organized warehouse, not a retail shop by a long shot.  It was like an auto parts store managed by a crazy person.  From what I've been reading it was probably a gold mine for Lionel enthusiasts who knew exactly what they wanted, but I was not impressed.

Pete

"You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light."  - Edward Abbey -

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Posted by DMUinCT on Monday, October 24, 2011 1:28 PM

Walls of small drawers, maybe 4" by 6", unmarked.  Ask one of the brothers for a part, describe it, they would go right to the proper drawer.  Price was good and fare.

Don U. TCA 73-5735

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Posted by Train-O on Monday, October 24, 2011 3:43 PM

Pete and Don,

You're both right.

I don't know how those guys knew where things were, as there were items all over the place, but I found out that most places, like that, function very well.

Ralph

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Posted by cosmic on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:09 PM

I realize that this thread is quite dated, but I just came across it, and the subject is very interesting to me,  also that you guys all have interest in the old store. Here's some answers/corrections that I hope may still be helpful.

Postwar Man07
You asked when the store was opened. As purely a hardware store it was opened in the late twenties, by Wm. A. Morrison, brother in law to Louis Shur. Morrison lost the enterprise during the great depression, and Lois took it over with the financial help of his mother, Esther Anastacia Shur, also William's mother in law. I don't know exactly when, but early in thirties Louis befreinded Lionel Cowan, and out of that friendship he was made a preferred distributor for the Lionel product line.

1688torpedo
You said that when the inventory moved to Michigan it was sold mail order. Bears mentioning that through almost its entire history MH in New York also sold mail order.
Also, the surname Shaw was an affectation, and never legalized. Carl was originally in show business (he was a drummer and worked in several big bands in the 20s-30s, when semitic names were bad business). His birth name was Carl Shur, and he was Louis's brother.

SotaPop
Here's a photo of a loco that Louis had brass plated and put on display in the store. Some of you oldtimers may remember seeing it. After his death his nephew Larry Morrison put it up for auction. I don't recall which auction house, but it's a prominent one for this kind of stuff, and the $69K that it brought was the highest price ever paid for this class of artifact.



Train Memories & msacco
See my response to Postwar Man07 above.

Train-0
They didn't own the building, they occupied it, for many years, on a lease. At one time (at least) Louis negotiated to buy it, but no satisfactory agreement was ever reached.

cwburfle
The major reason for Louis closing the business is that as he advanced in age, and became a multimillionaire out of this little shop, he became intolerant of the stress, and wanted to retire to Florida like the rest of New York. But in typical Louis Shur fashion he did it his own way, not Miami or Ft.Lauderdale, but Gainesville of all places. He lived there into his 101st year.

Texas Pete
Thanks! You gave me a laugh.







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Posted by SleeperN06 on Thursday, December 20, 2012 1:44 AM

Wow, I sure wish I could have seen it. I grew up in Pittsburgh and there sure was something to be said about those old long time stores. I was always just fascinated by hardware stores but to have trains to, wow that must have been something.

I’ve fantasized about having my own hardware store all my life from when I was a kid and I always knew that if it were ever to be, I would also sell trains and a large layout in the store all year long.

It’s kind of funny because I was just talking about this a few weeks ago with some friends as I was putting together my Christmas layout. It’s so big for an average house that I wish I had a place to show it off and someone mentioned maybe renting it to a store front someplace, but there aren’t many places like that anymore.

Thanks, JohnnyB
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Posted by cosmic on Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:22 AM

You're welcome Johnny. It may be of interest to know that until at least the early 60s the store also sold hardware: lamps, nuts & bolts, keys, what have you. Of course that was just an afterthought activity, quite casually managed, but it was there.

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Posted by cosmic on Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:44 AM

Have to correct a typo I just noticed in my original post. The brass plated loco didn't bring $69K, only a mere $60K.

Still true however, that it was the largest sum ever for that sort of artifact.

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Posted by mdeange3 on Monday, October 17, 2016 9:03 PM

That's true about Carl, black eye glasses without lenses. Carl was a ladies man. My brother-in-law and I were in the store one late afternoon, and when my wife and sister entered later, Carl dropped his attention off us, and it was all: HEL-LO, LADIES! After that, we could not get a word in edgewise and never finished business with Carl that day.

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Posted by cwburfle on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 3:20 PM

I guess most folks are aware that a Book has been written about Madison Hardware.
The book is being sold direct. Here is a link: http://www.madisonposter.com/

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Posted by thesiding on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:32 PM
I was there a few times includingafter going to an audition (did not get the part) and that time though I did not buy anything I said Someday I'll be back That was in the fall of 1988 II got many an item there including Lionel HO About one third of my collection came from there Then I did get back to the store when they were packing it in One of the young mne there who got me the HO Trains told me they had closed (THANK YOU RICHARD KUHN) If only I could have been let loose in there for an extended time what would I have found?

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