Center & Abernathy moved their store to 113 Ocoee St, Copperhill, Polk County, Tennessee
(on the corner of Ocoee and Grand)
This store was once again destroyed by fire in 1925. The bank requested that the senior partner be listed first
on the loan to rebuild. The store name was also changed to Center & Abernathy, They continued in business, rebuilding
on the same site.
The building was specifically designed for the furniture business. 1st floor - Marcantile & furniture, 2nd floor -
offices & warehouse, 3rd floor - Funeral Parlour. A three story red brick building, it had a 3 bay façade and corbeled
brick cornice with a corner entrance. The first story had a large central display area with platforms on each side of
the cornered front door for room displays of furniture. There were ornate pressed metal ceilings and cornices, as
well as oak flooring and wainscoting. A prominent feature were the plate glass display windows on the first and
second stories. Those on the first story were framed with copper, while on the second they were framed with wood.
The store signage was printed on the front plate glass windows and reads, "CENTER AND ABERNATHY, Sewing Machines Stoves & Ranges." One of their favorite slogans was printed on the glass over the doorway, "You marry
the girl, We'll furnish the home". The second floor windows were printed with springs, mattresses & pillows, third floor windows were printed with Center & Abernathy Funeral Directors.
The Center & Abernathy Store building is one of the few 1920s buildings which have survived in Copperhill, and
is the only one which retains integrity of both the exterior and the interior until today in 2015.
**The building is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The following information was taken from their
Center & Abernathy's was, throughout the history of Copperhill, one of the most important and successful businesses operating. From their founding until the mid 1910s it was the largest general merchandise store in
Copperhill, then Center & Abernathy decided to specialize in furniture sales. Center & Abernathy's was the only
store in the Basin to specialize in the sale of furniture and their prices and credit terms brought customers from Ducktown, Isabella and McCaysville, Georgia as well as from Copperhill.
Center & Abernathy was the only store in the Basin to achieve that large a customer base. Their continued
existence though two fires, the depression, and the boom and bust cycle of the copper industry established
them as a leading business. Center & Abernathy's was one of the largest distribution points of furniture in the southeastern United States, and was one of the largest retail establishments between Knoxville, Tennessee
and Atlanta, Georgia.
United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Continuation
Sheet, Section number 8 Page 3
The Great Depression of the 30s took its toll on the entire area. Many businessmen were declaring bankruptcy to get out from under their debt and to survive. Luther personally paid off all of the store's debts.
In 1937, Luther decided to open his store on family property on Hwy. 5 in Epworth, Georgia and discontinued the mortuary business. Luther once again built up a thriving business with his sons working with him. Luther's son Charles remembers his father as a man of his word and the most honorable man he has ever known.
When Luther passed away on 29 April 1949, his wife Elizabeth and sons Carl Edd and Charles continued operating