325-327 S. Elm Street Odell Hardware Building

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Odell Hardware325 was built about 1901 as the offices of the Odell Hardware Company, a major business of that period. Notice the Ionic pilasters decorating the upper story.

327 is one of downtown Greensboro’s oldest surviving buildings; the first two stories were built about 1885 to house the offices and showroom of Odell Hardware.

Odell Hardware had its humble beginnings in another building—the first sale was for a penny, which, in those days, bought two pencils! Farmers would come to the store in covered wagons, camping in a vacant lot nearby, ready to barter their produce for merchandise at Odell’s and at other stores.

An interesting sidelight is that George S. Sergeant, a manufacturer and inventor, bought Greensboro’s first telephones for his home and office and soon was so enthralled by the new invention that he bought a telephone for Odell Hardware so that he could easily communicate with that business.

The company no longer exists, and the buildings have been restored to house apartments and businesses.

More Guilford County, North Carolina History:

Greensboro History Museum
Guide to Guilford: History
Historic Guilford Photos