Women working at Mitchellace

Ghost story about The Mitchellace Co. 830 Murray. It is said that two brothers owned this building, formerly a shoe company. They went bankrupt and the one brother jumped to his death from a window on the fifth floor. Also rumors say it could have been the elevator shaft he jumped down. His brother was so devastated having lost his brother that he, in turn, killed himself. The 2 stories circulating are he threw himself off the roof, or jumped on the tracks in front of a train, which runs right next to the building. It is rumored that you can hear screams on the 5th floor and a breeze blowing, sometimes you might even see or feel the presence of a ghost. They don't have anyone work directly on the fifth floor anymore because people will not stay. One woman working there refuses to go past the third floor. It's definitely a scary place.

Williams Shoe Company

Picture is from 1930 0r 40's showing women working at the Williams Shoe Company. The women sit facing each other at long wooden workbenches, sewing on Singer sewing machines. Williams Manufacturing Company had been small specializing in low cost foot ware but during the great depression saw many people could not afford higher quality foot ware and began expanding. As the discount shoe industry continued to grow the company purchased the Old Selby Factory building in 1957. They continued to make "cheap" shoes, until the company found it increasingly difficult to compete with the influx of foreign made shoes and closed in 1976.

Irving Drew Company Specialty Kay Factory 533-537 Front Street

                        The Padan Brothers and Company in 1888 employed 187 people

JOHN PADAN was born in Ireland, May 10, 1823, a son of Henry Padan, a farmer of that which he worked at in connection with farming seven years in Ireland. He was married May 24, 1849, and the same year came to the United States, landing in New York, Aug. 9, Sept. 17 he came to Portsmouth and has since made this his home. He is a father of the Padan Brothers, proprietors of the Portsmouth Shoe Factory. He started his sons in business and made their credit good by his own risks. He is one of the oldest residents of Portsmouth and has always been prominently identified with all her interests. His family consists of five sons and one daughter, and is one of which any man might be proud. He holds the confidence and respect of a large circle of acquaintances.
History of Lower Scioto Co., Ohio - Publ. Chicago: Inter-state Publishing Co. 1884

Portsmouth Irving Drew Shoe co

Irvin Drew Factory about 1924

Drew's history dates back to 1875 when Frederick and Irving Drew, with only a few experienced shoemakers, started the business of hand-making extra fine welt shoes for women along the Ohio River in Portsmouth, Ohio, giving birth to the Drew Shoe Corporation (FKA the Irving Drew Shoe Company). The quality of the shoes produced was excellent, and business prospered creating a sizable company. A few years later, George Selby, an industrial sales representative for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, joined with Irving Drew, and the Company become known as the Drew-Selby Company. After several years of successful operations, Mr. Drew and Mr. Selby separated, and Mr. Selby formed the Selby Shoe Company of Portsmouth, Ohio. It was the infamous Flood of 1937 that struck the first blow to the shoe industry in Portsmouth. After the water had receded, the Irving Drew Company, which had been formed in 1902, never truly restarted their Portsmouth operations.

The Tremper Shoe Company was incorporated in June 27, 1895 and commenced business that September at the corner of Second and Jefferson Streets. The company made Ladies Turns, Welts and McKays. In 1889 they employed one hundred and were considering expanding.

Dr. W. D. Tremper, President; J. M. Wendelken, Vice President; Dan C. Davis, Secretery; F. B. Kehoe, Treasurer and General Manager; and John A. Ives was Superintendent.

The following hustlers represented the company: E. B. Kehoe, who introduced the Tremper shoes in Ohio and Wes Virginia; H. L. Ware, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa; F. C. Oliver, Chicago, St. Louis, MO; Kansas and Colorado; R. L. Lloyd, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten

1906 Irvin Drew Co., Portsmouth, Ohio

The Excelsior Shoe Company

Portsmouth Excelsior Shoe Co.

Excelsior Shoe Medal- reverse

There were three versions, this one is with good luck symbols on the back. All the symbols in 1910 were considered good luck symbols. The reverse swastika was a popular Victorian era good luck symbol and a favorite symbol of Lord Baden-Powell founder of Boy Scouts.

 Excelsior Shoe Medal front

This token was given out by The Excelsior Company to boys that purchased the official Boy Scout Shoe. It was an advertising gimmick. The hole in the top was to allow it to be tied to the shoe before were sold. Boy Scouts USA was founded in 1910.

New Excelsior Shoe Company building in1889

The Excelsior Shoe Company five story building extended along Gallia street from Findlay to John streets. This shoe company specialized in Boys', Youths' and Little Gents Shoes. The company was started by four young men D. C. Davis and three brothers John E., W. G. and D.C. Williams. The company was first started in the Stemshorn building on west Forth Street with a capacity of 100 to 200 shoes per day. Four years later the company was then moved to the Miller building, a three story affair on Third and Gay streets. This building had also been used previously by Drew Shelby Co. before they out grew it.

This new factory was one of the most modern in plan, equipment and facilities at the time. With the five stories there is 37,500 square feet of floor space giving a capacity of 2000 pairs of shoes daily. The building was furnished with electric power, light and heat, and had complete telephone service, together with automatic sprinkles and means of fire protection. 350 skilled men and women were employed daily. Local outlet for the shoes was the Anderson Bros' retail store on Chillicothe street and West Second.

picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten
The Standard Shoe Company located at 37 and 39 West Front Street, Portsmouth, OH
information courtesy of Sherry Staten

The Star Shoe Company was organized January 16, 1894. The directors were A. Titus, M. D. (President); J. J. Radin (Secretery and Treasurer), S. O. Titus (General Manager), Chris. Uhl (Vice President) and Irvin Drew. The factory and main offices were located 107 and 109 West Front street. The product of the factory was Misses' and Children's fine and medium grades in McKay, sewed and Goodyear turns, which were gradually being improved in quality and the annul increase in output. from 100 pair in the fall of 1894 to 950 in the spring of 1898.

picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten

Selby WWII Honor Roll

Selby Stamper

The Heelers Department at Selby Shoe Company 20 October 1926

Selby's Wood Heel Dept.-May 8, 1953

Wood Heelers department 13 March 1925

Selby C.A. Southworth is 2nd from left, with left arm across chest, in Row 2.

Selby Shoe Company in 1938

W. W. Gates, George D. Selby, P. E. Selby, Irving Drew, and J. M. Graham Company officers in 1889

Selby Office workers in the order department

Selby Box Makers

Selby Shoes laster department

Selby Shoe Factory Portsmouth, Ohio about 1919
Opened in 1906 and in 1957 the Company was closed and liquidated.

Selby's specialty was fine women's shoes, with their Arch Preserver line being their most popular. Selby Shoe Company Slogan "Compare and you'll wear" also"Keeps the foot well (Arch Preserver Shoes)"

Drew-Selby Shoe Co. about 1906

Drew Selby building used from 1881 to 1891 located at Third and Gay Streets with a floor space of 15,000 feet and a capacity of from 300 to 900 pairs per day.

1144 people standing in this picture of the 12000 employees in April 1889 At the time the factory was being enlarged to provide over an acre of additional floor space and employment was expected to grow to around 2000 people. This building was started in 1891 on the square bounded by Gallia, 7th, Findlay and John Streets.

picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten

Drew Selby building used from 1877 to 1881 with a floor space of 4,500 square feet and a output of 100 to 200 pairs of shoes daily..

picture and information above courtesy of Sherry Staten
In January of 1877, the Irving Drew & Company was formed. It was reorganized in 1879 under Drew, Selby and Company with partners Irving Drew and George Selby. The first location of their factory was on the third floor of a building on Second Street between Court and Market Streets. In 1881, the plant moved to a leased building at the Northwest corner of Third and Gay Streets. Shoes that were previously made by hand (and foot power) could now be made in this new powered plant.
picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten

Portsmouth Brodt Shoe Co. In 1912.  The Brodt Shoe Company purchased the Portsmouth Shoe Company building and plans to enlarge the building.

THE BRODT SHOE COMPANY was formed on 1912-10-28 in Ohio. The company presdent was George H. Brodt.

picture and information courtesy of Sherry Staten



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The Portsmouth Shoe Company, located at 127 West Front Street, was organized in March 1893 under the name The Portsmouth Turned Shoe Company and for a time made only infants' and turned shoes. Because of demand for a more complete line McKay's and Welts were added and so the product line in 1889 consisted of Ladies', Misses, children's and Little Gents' $1.00 McKay's, Turns, and Welts in fine and medium grade.

March 12, 1898 the company was completely reorganized changing the name to The Portsmouth Shoe Company with the directors being: F. V. Knauss (President), George Appel (Treasurer), C. F. Kendall (Secretery), B. F. Richardson (Vice President) and W. J. Shumate.

The capacity of the factory was 800 pairs daily.

picture and information above courtesy of Sherry Staten
In 1873, Rober Bellï's son-in-law, along with 2 others, formed the Portsmouth Shoe Manufacturing Company. The factory was located on Front Street, and among those mentioned as the stockholders were; Fred Drew, Irving Drew, George Paden, and Henry Paden.

 Portsmouth, OH Shoe Companies pictures and information


     Robert Bell came to Portsmouth July 1, 1850 and opened the first shoe factory in August of that year.  Bell is considered the pioneer of shoe and boot making in Portsmouth.

     All the shoes were made by hand until the business purchased a machine in March 1869.  in that year, the factory employed 25 men and 15 women and was reported to have made 200 shoes per day.  During this time, Frederick Drew, Irving Drew's father, worked as a foreman for Mr. Bell

   Bell went into the wholesale shoe business with partners W. H. Ware and Joseph Vincent, but by 1874 had left the profession to go into the insurance business.

Next door to the Cadot building on Second street was another shoe company. Now 524 Second street was the Kendall Shoe Company.  I believe it was around 1840s.

Next door to that was Portsmouth Hat and Glove company. Now 522 second street.
information from Jack Vetter

Excelsior shoe company then became Williams Shoe Company then Mitchellace

Please email additions or corrections to hladvertising@hotmail.com.
Or mail to Waverly City Guide, 455 Hay Hollow Road, Chillicothe, Ohio

Tracy Shoe Company looking at the back side of the building taken Dec 2011

photo by Tyrone Hemry