224-226 Court Square—Kroger came to DeWitt in 1935 and located in this building for a short time before moving to the north side of the square. By about 1937, Elmer A. Ferguson’s Grocery was located in this building, where it remained until its new building was constructed on S. Main St. in 1967. About 1968, Ed Cook moved his Southern Store to this location. The Southern Store sold clothes and shoes for the whole family, although shoes were eventually phased out. When Young’s Dept. Store closed in 1981, Ed Cook purchased the mechanical horse and put it in the Southern Store for future generations to enjoy. Ed’s daughter, Darlene Cook Horton, took over the store in 1997 and renamed it Southern Surprise.
Rather than being formed by intersecting streets, DeWitt’s court square was designed as a continuous street around a public square with one access street in the middle of each block. The northwest, northeast, and southwest corners have unique lots containing buildings with chamfered corner entrances. The town was platted in such a way that people wouldn’t just pass through the downtown and keep going—the courthouse and square would be your final des- tination. This is an extremely rare layout for a court square—I’ve never seen another town like it.