Hours:   Mon-Fri:  11-7   Sat. 10-5      131 Pleasant St., Morgantown, WV 26505   304.296.9007

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Our History

Adventure's Edge/Army Store, the longest continuously operating business in Morgantown, Since 1923.

Family History

A single Morgantown family owned and operated the Main US Army Store from 1923 until December 2001.  Orginally located at 77 Pleasant St. the business has been at 137 Pleasant St. since 1928.  The Army Store, as it is more commonly known today, has gone through a metamorphosis of the times since 1923.  It began as a men's store run by the grandfather.  It evolved into a variety store and then to an army surplus store around the time of the World Wars.  An old roll top desk left at the location produced invoices for tux rentals in the early 1950's for many of Morgantown's elite citizens. The business was passed down to two brothers. There was at some point some type of rift between the brothers as evidenced by a telegram found in the roll top that speaks of the situation.  Only one brother owned the business at the time of the purchase by current owner, Jan Kiger.  

In 1977, a grandson purchased the inventory and business entity Wall Street Board Exchange.  This was a small but successful skateboard and snowboard shop on Wall St. in Morgantown.  The inventory and business were incorporated into the Army Store footprint.  To complete the outdoor store image, Adventure's Edge was opened  in 1989 in the adjacent location, 131 Pleasant St. and a pass through between the two businesses was created.   The grandson operated the outdoor store, Adventure's Edge, part of the business while Stanley took care of business at the Army Store until he took ill in 2001.  It was then that the family decided to sell the business.

Jan Kiger, an avid climber, backpacker and general outdoors person, had been born and raised in Morgantown, WV.   She had been working in an outdoor store in Pennsylvania and when the opportunity to return to Morgantown arised, she jumped.  Kiger, a graduate of Morgantown High and West Virginia University had deep roots in the community.  The purchase took place in December 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  It was an unknown economic time for the US, but the business thrived under new ownership despite the uncertain times.

The Street

Pleasant St. originally ran from the Monongahela River to the Deckers Creek Valley.  In the mid 1800's a bridge was built over the Mon River and in 1899 a bridge was built to span over the Deckers Creek Valley.   It has been called Pleasants and Pleasant.  Today it is called Pleasant and the Army store began on 77 Pleasants St. back in 1923 and moved to 137 Pleasant in 1928..  Pleasant St. is one of the few streets in the downtown other than High St. (the main street)  that isn't named after a tree.

The Brick RowThe Brick Row 1867

 In the early 1890s, Morgantown was a booming industrial/college city, and housing was in short supply. The building that houses Adventure’s Edge was built in 1891 as Morgantown's first major apartment building. Named "The Brick Row Building," it was constructed in a 3-story rowhouse-style relatively rare in West Virginia. The Brick Row was divided into 5 rectangular sections with 5 street addresses. There were apartments on each floor. Wooden steps led up to a porch and door at each address. A unique facade individualized each bay of apartments, with arched openings on the front and side of the porches giving it an elegant appearance. The building was in the heart of town, between the railroad depot and riverboat landing and main street.

137 Pleasant St. on Left circa 1900-1910During these years the various rooms housed hundreds of people young and old--families, individuals, teachers, professors, doctors, college students, laborers (especially tin-workers), merchants, railroad employees, etc. The most famous resident, Morgantown architect Elmer Jacobs, lived at 121 Pleasant Street
 in 1901 and possibly longer. He designed many of Morgantown's most impressive buildings and homes (over 400, supposedly), and much of Morgantown's current look can be attributed to him. The lower bar of ‘123 Pleasant Street’ is now nicknamed Jacobs' House

The Big Change: 1st-Floor Conversion to Storerooms, 1921

1926 Store FrontsIn 1921, the start of the "Roaring 20s," stores were vying for space on High Street and found none, so the business district expanded onto Pleasant Street. The Brick Row was suddenly in a prime business location. In February 1921 the building was purchased and remodeled. The 1st-floor apartments and porches were removed and the floor level was dropped 4' (removing the porches and steps, allowing street-level entry) leaving the apartment fireplaces hanging on the walls and exposing the building's sandstone foundation masonry. On the 1st floor both ends of the building were extended, and yellow brick Art-Deco storefronts were added along Pleasant Street. The former apartments, the current location of Adventure’s Edge and Army Store became spacious storerooms with high tin ceilings and light pouring in through the large display windows. In April 1921 businesses began opening in the storerooms, including Coddington's Market at 121, Max Feingold's Clothing Store at 125, The Queen Shoe Store at 131, and Hammel's Variety Store at 137. 123 Pleasant Street  remained empty until February of 1922 when The Radio Appliance Company opened the first radio store in the region, setting up a public radio set and inviting all to experience "the wonder of the modern age." It was a neat idea, but the store closed within two years.

The Middle Years: 1922-1982

Brick Row 1936Although it seemed a lucrative spot, over the next 60 years businesses came went in the 5 storerooms. There were clothing stores, variety shops, restaurants, an insurance company, a dance hall, a martial arts school, auto parts stores, warehouses--some years rooms were empty. However, the upper floors always remained apartments for a cross-section of Morgantown residents. Often the person who ran a store on the 1st floor lived upstairs with their family.  The Manilla family opened a variety store on 77 Pleasant St. in 1923.  The Army Store opened in its current location in 1928.  

At some point the Art-Deco facades were removed from the Army Storeand Adventurer's Edge.
In 1967, the Blue and Gold Bar opened but quickly wentunder, yet it began a series of watering holes (70s joints like Jean and John's Tavern, Bob's Tavern, The Golden Nugget, Le Rendesvous, and The Fox Trap Lounge) in the building. In 1974, the Sportsman's Bar opened , and remained until 1978. Another bar, Cool Runnings, took over in 1980 followed by Meteo's in 1981. The Blue Ribbon Restaurant operated in what is now The Adventure's Edge, 131 Pleasant St..

A View of Morgantown

 

Looking East across Mon River Bridge

 

 

 

 

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The Bricks used to build the original building were made in Morgantown.

The mortar in the bricks has mud and horse hair in it.

There was a fire in the peak of 131 Pleasant Street.  You can see evidence of the replaced brick if you look carefully.

The art deco stylings were removed from the roof line of 131 and 137 Pleasant St.  

 

Morgantown View 1868