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1960s: Do you remember Stockwell’s?

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, since prices in the 1960s are so “inexpensive,” at least compared to today’s inflated dollars, wouldn’t it be nice to purchase some 1960s furniture to decorate a room in your home?

In Hillsboro in the early 1960s, we have a few places to choose from, among them: D.M. Evans Co.; Johnnie’s Bargain Center; Pierce Furniture; Phillips Furniture; and Stockwell Furniture Co.

Perhaps we will visit all of these, but let’s start with Stockwell’s, located at 935 W. Main St. in Hillsboro. (Today, 935 W. Main St. is home to NAPA Auto Parts and was Holthouse Furniture before that.)

Stockwell’s was owned in the 1960s by Dick Starbuck, and the store with “over 40 years of fine furniture” was open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 9 p.m. The phone extension if you’d like to call is 3-3334.

As far as prices at Stockwell’s, a five-piece living room suite could be had for $199, with Drexel and Kroehler bedroom suites for $75-$100. Luxurious Berkline swivel rockers and recliners are specially priced at only $79.95.

For $65, you could get a Mr. and Mrs. Cherry Hill Rockers, because, “Ah, yes, there is a difference: he’s taller, bigger, so is his chair,” and according to a newspaper ad at the time, “she’s shorter, smaller, lighter, so is her chair.” These rockers are “designed for the solid comfort for Mr. and Mrs. for relaxation and are available in a choice of eight fabrics harmonizing with the warmth of Cherry wood finish.”

Now, if you’re looking for a deal, check out the west corner window, as “everything in our west corner front window is on Special Sale. You’ll love the bargains you’ll see there … all tables, lamps, chairs, sofa beds and card chair tables reduced by as much as half.”

Stockwell’s maintained it was the furniture store for “young lovebirds” and wove a cautionary tale. The ad began, “It all looked so easy. Here they were – young and in love and engaged – looking for furniture for their new apartment. And there was an ad, big, black and brassy, that showed three rooms of furniture for only $295 – even including a stove and refrigerator! It seemed too good to be true.”

It does sounds too good to be true to me.

“It was,” the ad answered.

The advertisement continued a tale of woe, “When our lovebirds arrived at the store the next day, several things happened. First, they were told that all of the advertised items had been sold, even though the ad appeared only the day before, ‘But over here,’ said the salesman as he herded them into another section of the store, ‘is really a better buy. A little more expensive, but…’

“You can guess the rest,” the ad continues.

“High-pressure selling, a final price they shouldn’t pay and couldn’t afford. Credit terms that tied them hand and foot … and when the furniture arrives, some piece not what they bought at all, shop-worn, cheaper brands. Damaged! Adjustments? Complaints? Ask the people who have tried!”

“So how can one avoid this disaster?” I wonder to myself.

“How to avoid it?” the ad answers. “Simply use good sense. Don’t be taken in by wild claims by bargains that are obviously impossible. Read ads with your eyes wide open. Buy at a store where you know the dealings are fair and honestly presented, where the sales people are well-informed and are out to serve you, rather than to ‘take’ you.”

By golly, I bet these aforementioned shenanigans don’t happen at Stockwell furniture store!

“There are such reliable furniture stores right here in the area, and Stockwell’s in Hillsboro is one of them … Their long-standing reputation for reliability and their ‘attitude’ toward young love are worth considering when shopping for furniture.”

Folks, consider the above a public service announcement dedicated to all you young lovebirds out there.

The owner of the store in the 1960s, Charles Richard “Dick” Starbuck Jr., was born Aug. 10, 1919, married Shirley Stockwell in 1942, served in the Navy during World War II, joined the H.S. Stockwell Furniture Store in 1947 and passed away July 18, 2008 at the age of 88. Shirley Stockwell Starbuck was born Aug. 23, 1920, moved to Florida with her husband after he retired in 1973 and passed away June 4, 2011 at the age of 90.

Let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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