220 Court Square—The Rexall Drugs Building was constructed about 1949 to fill the empty space left in the block after the New Theater burned. As far back as 1933, the theater was located about where the east (left) half of Rexall Drugs is now. After the fire, the New Theater relocated circa 1940 to a building off the alley at the southwest corner of the square. Just to the west (or right) of the theater was a little restaurant stand known as the Burger Tent. It was run by Barney Burnett and sold hamburgers, hotdogs, pie, and sodas. After the current building was constructed in 1949, it housed Western Auto, Delian’s Jewelry Store, and Dollar General before becoming home to Tommy’s Rexall Drug Co. in August 1999. The Rexall had operated next door at 216 Court Square from 1951 until 1999.
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.
204 S. Main—New “modern” store for Ferguson’s Grocery, constructed in 1967.
209 S. Main—Built about 1950 and has a unique arched roof or Quonset hut shape. It housed the J. I. Case Equipment Co. (farm implements).
201-203-205 S. Main—Also built about 1940, and housed J. W. White Feed & Seed.
123 S. Main—Built about 1940, this building housed the Merritt Liquor Store.
304 Court Square—A historic building was here before this one, but it was demolished ca. 1940 to build Clyde Merritt’s Grocery (current Merritt Building). Vacant lot to west was Norsworthy’s Grocery and then Schallhorn’s Hardware, beginning in 1938, when they moved to the south side of the square.
308 Court Square—The current building at 308 Court Square was totally rebuilt in 2000. Before that, there were two buildings in this space—one was a two-story building and the other a one- story building, both probably dating to about 1910. The two-story building was on the east side (left) and housed Joe Stephens Hardware in the early 1900s. Tony Mory’s Bakery was located somewhere along these storefronts.
320 Court Square—The current building was constructed about 1925, but this block has changed a lot since that time. From that time until at least 1943, there was a two-story building to the south of this one, followed by a three-story building, and then a small, one-story building on the corner lot. They are all gone now. But Harry Lipman Dry Goods was in the northern storefront (left) of this building, and Snarr Drug Store was in the right hand portion. In the next building over was Moncrief Grocery and then the Blue Front Café moved into that building. Underwood Dime Store was on the corner.
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.