Porter - Coolbroth Store

Photograph taken in 1908

The small building on the left is Porter's Market.

The house on the right is now 1080 Pequawket Trail.

In her 1971 History of Steep Falls, Evelyn Baxter writes..." Porter's Market, mainly a dry goods store was run for 32 years by Rose Porter in this house now owned by Daniel Bonville. The store was connected to her house next door now occupied by her daughter Eva Coolbroth. Mrs. Porter started this enterprise with only $10 capital. The store was purchased by her grandsons, Edwin & Guy Coolbroth in 1927, who then expanded it with groceries and a meat cart, operating it until it closed in 1960."

Postcard view from the 1920's

1076 & 1080 Pequawket Trail
From Cigars to Sleds, The Old Coolbrooth Store

The Coolbroth Store, once located on Route 113 in Steep Falls, is remembered as a store where you could buy "..anything you could want." Dottie Hulit, who remembers visiting the stone as a child, recalls that the store sold everything from cigars to sleds. Near the front of the store things like tobacco, candy, groceries, and a few necessary medicines like cough syrup were sold. Towards the rear there was a large variety of merchandise, including dishes, clothing, shoes, boots, and toys.

Dottie says it was a fun place for kids to go because of all the different things you could buy there. Some favorites among children were bubble gum, toy trucks and cars, dolls, penny candy, and bubble pipes.

"We always went there to buy penny candy and bubble pipes. They were little white clay pipes that you could get for a nickel to blow bubbles with." Dottie remembers the little things that she always enjoyed buying at the store. Her favorite memory of the store was the large assortment of things to buy.

"You could stay there all day and just look and look and look."

"The store was not very busy at all," Dottie recalls. It had a lot of other competition as there were two other grocery stores and an ice cream store just in Steep Falls Village. Dottie also remembers the people who worked there; the owner, Rose Porter and her husband Dan.

"I was scared of the man. He was kind of grouchy, but the woman was very nice," Dottie says.

The store was almost always open. Rose would open it for you anytime you went there. Dottie began walking to the Coolbroth Store when she was a mere 5 years old.

In the early 1940's, the Coolbroth Store finally closed down. An auction was held to sell all of the remaining goods.

"I remember the auction. It was sad to a lot of people because they hated to see the store go out of business," Dottie adds. She still has a basket and a little doll that her brother bought her at the auction.

Today, in the lower part of the village, the building that used to be the Coolbroth Store still stands. It is now a house, and looks different than the old store did, but in many memories it is still the Coolbroth Store.

A school report by Liz Robinson of Steep Falls

Interior view of store

Steep Falls Market Closed

Coolbroth's Market closed its doors for the last time Saturday after serving this town as a general store and grocery store since 1903.

The late Mrs. D. M. Porter, grandmother of the last owner, opened a general store in March of that year.

It has been said that one could buy anything from false teeth to caskets at Mrs. Porter's store. A customer once asked for fiddle strings, thinking that would certainly be an item not in stock. However, Mrs. Porter had plenty of fiddle strings.

In 1936 the contents of the general store was sold and grandsons Edwin H. and Guy Coolbroth opened a grocery store in the building. Four years later, Guy left to open a store at Cornish. Edwin operated the local store until it closed.

From a 1960 news article
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