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Showing posts from 2016

The 200 Block of Gay Street, West Side - The Gaps of Gay Street Part 4

For our forth installment of the "Gaps of Gay Street", and a follow-up to the 200 Block East side, we'll cross Gay Street to the west side. Much like the east side, the west side would not really begin to develop until the late 1880's. Unlike the east side, the west side buildings were much smaller and housed smaller concerns like clothing stores and shoe shops. What is perhaps the most interesting building on the block belonged to this man: Cal Johnson.






 Cal Johnson was born in 1844 into slavery for the McClung family. His mother was owned by Charles McClung and his father by Hugh Lawson McClung. After the civil war, however, Mr. Johnson went on to become one of the wealthiest men in the city and one of the wealthiest former slaves in the nation. He was a successful business man, best covered by Jack Neely in this article here. His first pursuits were in the saloon business. He purchased his first saloon, The Poplar Log, at the corner of Central and Vine in the 189…