|This early 20th century postcard view of downtown Waynesburg shows how little the block has changed. Ganiear Building is on the far left. Next to it is the Ganiear family home, painted yellow. (greeneconnections.com)
Although “Ganiear’s” is written across the decorative metal cornice at the top of 138 East High Street, the place is more often described today as the “Floral Building,” recognizing the Waynesburg Floral business that was long operated by the Rice family. Many Waynesburgers have a fondness for this building with happy memories of going inside to pick up bouquets and boutonnieres for the prom or flowers for their wedding.
|The front section of the building will be saved. On the left is the rear of Ganiear House with the new two-story porch added by the author.
The Ganiear name has been associated with this lot since 1847 when a cabinetmaker named James Ganiear, and his wife, the former Rebecca Johnson, purchased it from the estate of William Crawford. Like all original lots in Waynesburg, it was 60 feet wide and 180 feet deep.
|Ganiear House today.
Today, I am the proud owner of “Ganiear House.” After five years of renovation, it is fully restored and occupied. The Brandon Meyer Law Office is on the first floor with two apartments on the second. Behind the house is a barn that was the original location of the furniture shop. The barn also sheltered the family cow, horse, buggy, and even a horse-drawn hearse. The hearse was necessary because, in addition to making furniture, the Ganiears were undertakers. Although this combination seems strange today, it was typical in the 19th century when cabinetmakers also made coffins.
|J. Hayes Ganiear, son Charles Hedge Ganiear and grandchildren in front of the family business. Published in 1907 in Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful by Fred High. (greeneconnections.com)
Between 1896 and 1900, Hayes Ganiear replaced the frame shop with a handsome 3-story brick structure. Its front was built of rusticated sandstone, topped with a cast metal cornice that proudly announced the family name. This was the beginning of the current “Floral Building,” and is the part that will be saved by the RDA. Similar cornices were added to other buildings in the block at the same time, including next door at Ganiear House, changing the roof line from gable to shed.
|Following a family tragedy in 1908, Hayes Ganiear sold the furniture and undertaking business to G. Edward Huffman who is shown here with his family. Professional photograph by Babbitt, Waynesburg. (www.greeneconnections.com)