Hyman G. Ellis And The Globe Store
The Globe actually began after the arrival of Hyman G. Ellis in Watertown , N.Y., in 1892 (though you’ll see both 1892 and 1894 as given dates.) Hyman’s search for a small location resulted in the basement of an old home on Court Street belonging to the Hungerford family.
As the Thursday, May 31, 1934 edition of the Cape Vincent Eagle states:
Such was the beginning of the present Globe store 40 years ago. Within only a few years, Mr. Ellis’ patronage had increased immensely.
In January, 1917, after the business had moved a couple of times due to expansion, Mr. Ellis had a fireproof brick block, 541/2 by 138 built. This was the first unit of the present store.
Mr. Cole would lease space within the old Cole Block, a wooden structure that existed on the present site, in 1907. By 1912, he would purchase the entire Cole Block and the Cole house on Jackson Street. Construction on the first part of the Globe in its longstanding form would take place in 1919.
In 1923, Hyman Ellis would purchase the former Van Brunt home at 325 Washington Street which had been purchased several years earlier and extensively renovated by J. B. Taylor. The home would stay within the Ellis family, Rose A. Shapiro and husband Israel Shapiro, for a number of years until being sold to Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Phillips who would turn the brown sandstone mansion into the well-known White House Inn. The Shapiro family would also own the Winthrop Flats at one point prior to its being destroyed in a fire.
Further Expansion in the 1920’s and 1930’s
Mr. Hyman’s increasing business would demand additional room. Before long, the new building constructed in 1919 – 1921 would be expanded upon. As reported in the Dec. 12 1924 Watertown Daily Times-–
Hyman G. Ellis, proprietor of the Globe Store has just purchased the three properties on Court Street, adjoining the Globe Store at 308 – 312 – 316 Court Street now occupied by William Straus’ Bakery, Sidney Mantell, jeweler, and the A. and P. Tea Company’s grocery store.
The purchase was made largely to provide for the possibility of future expansion. Mr. Ellis also purchased the 60-foot frontage on Jackson Street at the rear of the Globe Store, and the proprietors of the latter are considering the building of a wing to the present building in the rear, to take care of the expansion of their business. This plan is being considered, but has not been decided upon.
The following year, the Globe Store would celebrate its 31st anniversary with a dinner on the second floor of its premise. Approximately 65 employees would attend, listening to speeches from various members of the community including Mayor John B. Harris who noted the the Globe’s success over the years. When it was Hyman Ellis’s turn to speak, he did so in such a fashion that reflected a man of philanthropy and service to his community–
“At no time in our history was there any thought of making great wealth for ourselves,” said Mr. Ellis. “We had no selfish interests. It was just work, for work’s sake, and hard work at that, in those early days to nourish the small frail trade which the store had. We sought only to serve the community, and I think that has been on of the greatest factors in our success.”
Mr. Ellis would then go on to give credit to every one of his employee’s devotion to the business, and their desire to “give to the public only the most and the best merchandise for its money.”
In November of 1926, Hyman Ellis would leave for surgery at John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore after suffering poor health for a period of time. Although his condition would reportedly improve at first, Mr. Ellis would unfortunately pass away in mid December 1926. The following day, neighboring merchants such as Max Albert, Boys’ Specialty Shop, Herr Fashion Shop and The People’s Store amongst others, would place an advertisement in the Watertown Daily Times informing patrons their stores would be closed during the funeral for Hyman G. Ellis as a token of respect. Even the flag at Public Square was lowered to half-mast.
The will of Hyman G. Ellis would give life rights to the property at 325 Washington Street as well as the Globe Store to his widow, Anna Ellis, and subsequently after her death it was to one half each to his son Joseph Ellis and daughter Mrs. Rose Shapiro. In 1934, the Globe underwent a major expansion, amassing 40,000 sq feet and become Watertown’s most modern store. It would re-open as “The New Globe,” as it remained under ownership of the Ellis Family.
The Globe would undergo another remodel in 1946, the entire first floor being updated. In 1951, it would receive a new facade. Over the years, it would continue to be a popular store and be headed by Arnold Shapiro with a reported $300,000 in improvements made in its last ten years. Arnold Shapiro would create the Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award in remembrance of his father. The award is presented annually by the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce to an outstanding citizen of the Greater Watertown area.
In December of 1973, the Globe Store would close for good. The structure itself would go on to have some success as The Globe Mini-Mall for a number of years into the 1980s, but, aside from a brief stint as home to a church in recent years, it has largely been vacant.
In 2020, the city of Watertown condemned the building and its future seemed a foregone conclusion until a local businessman, Dick Alexander, purchased the facility for $85,000. As of 2021, he had removed the asbestos from the building and was looking to donate it to either an agency or advocacy that could use it for helping the homeless and those with mental health issues. See the updated news segment below for more information.