326 Court Square—From at least 1913 until the early 1950s, this corner was occupied by a two- story building owned by Maggie Goodwin. She had a grocery on the first floor and she lived upstairs. Then this building was constructed in the early 1950s to house a short-lived farm co-op business. When it went out in 1954, this became Harold Young’s Department Store. Young’s Dept. Store really defined the 1950s and 60s in DeWitt. The store carried a large selection of goods, from toys to clothes to furniture and appliances. There was a service station in the back of the building and a meat market to take your animals for butchering. Most people remember riding the mechanical pony in Young’s as a child. DeWitt Publishing Company and the DeWitt Era-Enterprise moved into this building in 1981 after Young’s closed. The DeWitt New Era was founded in 1882 by Charles H. Spiller, and was appropriately named because it broke from the old era of short-lived newspapers in DeWitt (17 short-lived papers in all). The DeWitt Enterprise was founded in 1916, and in 1929, it absorbed the DeWitt New Era to become the DeWitt Era- Enterprise. The paper continues today, claiming to have never missed an issue in 128 years (since the 1882 founding of the New Era).
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.