The Pease Store in Chester, Main Street. Open for the very last time, new owners have great plans to repurpose this building while keeping the historical aspects intact. Thank you Lois and best to you!

One of the first things customers usually notice about the store is its historic architecture. Walking into the store is like taking a step back in time: the antique oak cabinets, original hardware, and embossed steel ceilings are all testament to a bygone era and still remain intact for all to enjoy.

Built by Frank Fay in 1896, the ground floor of the building originally housed two businesses: a boot, shoe, and clothing store operated by William M. Mullen, and a crockery, stove, and household furnishings store operated by Mr. Fay, who used the upper two floors as furniture showrooms. According to a news article published in the December 31, 1896 edition of the Springfield Republican newspaper, the newly constructed three-story Fay building was recognized as “the strongest and most substantial built building of the kind in Western Massachusetts.” Frank Fay (1862-1940) was also the town undertaker, and at the time the Fay homestead next door was connected to his three-story store.

By 1912, Moses Terrill and Charles Pease had purchased the first floor clothing business from Mr. Mullen, after which it operated under the name of M.W. Terrill & Company. The clothing, or “dry goods, store operated under this name until 1928 when Terrill sold his interest in the business to Charles Pease.

Frank Fay retired from the undertaking business in 1937, but continued the business of selling household furnishings. After the death of Frank Fay in 1940, Charles Pease rented the entire building from Frank Fay’s widow, Grace. Pease converted the entire building to clothing sales, purchased the building after Grace Fay’s death, and later ran the business along with his son Hewitt.

Those who remember Hewitt Pease may recall coming to the store to purchase clothes for their families and hearing the tick-tick sound of the antique wall clock as you came in the door. Hewitt was a graduate of Williams College, an Army WWII veteran, and worked as a French teacher at the Chester High School throughout the 1930s and until 1942. In the tradition of his father and men like Frank Fay, Hewitt had a wide variety of interests and served on many town committees over the years.

In 1982, Hewitt sold the store to Diane and John DeMoss, whose appreciation of the original character of the building has contributed to its preservation as one of the only remaining “dry goods” stores in the area. For forty years their friendly service has upheld the tradition of the original owner, Frank Fay, who was credited in a 1940 newspaper as being “a friendly man” for whom “a visit to his store was a social event as well as a business transaction.”

It seems that the history of the Fay Building has come full circle. In 2022, John and Diane DeMoss sold their historic building. Getting back to its origins, the store is currently owned by the folks next door, who purchased the original Fay homestead and own Drowsy Dragon Kitchen. Its use is evolving.

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