In 1902, S.E. Latimer arrived in Bloomfield to open Latimer Bros. Department Store on the south side of the square at 105 E. Franklin St. (Images of the Past, Feb. 5, 2020). Like most of the south side, this storefront was built following the massive fire of December 1892 that destroyed all but two structures. The builders chose the ornamental pressed-metal facade and cast iron columns produced by by Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis to finish the store’s exterior (left).
By 1913, Latimer had expanded into the adjacent storefront to open a variety store. Now there were two Latimer stores separated by a staircase to the second floor. It remained this way until 1927 when Latimer decided to unify the two stores with a common front. That involved moving the stairs and using large glass windows and an unusual display case to help shed the image of the old dry goods store and project the look of a modern department store (above top).
Latimer selected George L. Mesker & Co. of Evansville, Ind., (a third Mesker brother) to provide the elements of this new store front — large glass windows trimmed with copper, a sweeping prism glass transom with a prominent art glass store name and oak paneled background merchandise display (below).
Now, generations later, this storefront still remains a significant feature on the Bloomfield city square.