103 ½ W. Third Street: A Sweet Story

To continue to explore the history of the recently “lost” buildings in Jamestown, this week we will explore the building at what is now 105 West Third Street, often referred to as the Betty Dixon building. The Betty Dixon Candy Shop occupied that space from 1940 until sometime in the 1980s or early 1990s. The city directories list that company in the alphabetical section until 1984, but it is still listed at that location in the street directory until 1991.

When the building was built in that location remains a mystery. Possibly the deeds and the assessor’s office records could shed some light on that. Our Sanborn insurance maps, which begin in 1902, show that buildings on West Third Street between Cherry and Washington Streets were added or altered after that date. The last paste-over, which indicates that a change was made to a building or buildings, agrees with the buildings as listed in the city directory in 1909-10. There was an earlier paste-over, which of course is covered over now, so something had changed between 1902 and 1909. Included on the paste-overs are the street numbers for the buildings. The last paste-over includes the Betty Dixon building with a street number of 103 ½ West Third Street. This number continues in the Sanborn maps and in the city directories until 1940.

In October 1940, Darling Jewelers announced that they were opening a second store at 105-107 West Third Street. A building permit was issued for remodeling two stores owned by the Wellman Realty Corporation. The Sanborn map paste-over in the later Sanborn map book shows the building that was 105-111 then had three stores instead of the earlier four. The Betty Dixon building is numbered 105 and the double store area in the other building is 107. Also in 1940, John P. Stearns, founder of Betty Dixon Candies, sold his interests in the company and moved out of town. At the same time the new owners of the Betty Dixon Candies Company purchased the leases and fixtures of the Polly Prim Candy Shop, a retail store located at 105 West Third. That location became the retail shop for the Betty Dixon Candy Company.

 It is most likely that the Betty Dixon building at 105 West Third Street was constructed after the Wellman Building, which was built in 1897, and before the Pan American Restaurant opened in 1907 at 103 ½ West Third Street. The Wellman Building was 101-103 West Third Street and the other building in that block, before the alley, was 105-111 West Third Street. When the Betty Dixon building was built between the two, it was designated 103 ½ to fit between 103 and 105. In 1940, when the Darling Jewelers store remodeled the two store fronts, 105 and 107, into one, it became 107 and the 105 number was assigned to the Betty Dixon building eliminating the 103 ½ number.

The Betty Dixon building had the Pan American restaurant for about two years. Then it was a milliners shop, Moll and Lindstrom. It stayed a milliners shop with Moll and Neustrom, then Douglas and Neustrom. By 1930, it was King’s Hat Store and changed to King’s Men’s store from 1935 until 1939. The next city directory in 1940 did not list 103 ½ West Third Street, but did have the Polly Prim Candy Store at 105 and Darling Jewelry and Home Equipment at 107 West Third Street.

So over time one could have eaten a meal, bought a hat, and for almost 50 years, purchased candy, nuts and greeting cards at that location. Betty Dixon candy for many years was made in the brick building which was located at 518 East Sixth Street. That building housed a variety of businesses over the years and it is no longer standing.

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