The exact origins of this building are unknown, but some reports state that the building was built by Heber Craft (1837-1896), the son of early town founder Hugh Craft, as the local publishing office of J. B. Lippencott, a New England book publisher. This makes some sense, as the Craft Survey Office was two buildings down from this structure, and Heber’s brother Addison Craft long had an office next door in the Old Presbyterian Church. Though a common date of construction for the building is 1866, it is more likely it was built during the post-Reconstruction building frenzy of the 1870s.
Throughout the 1870s through 1890s, the building was used for printing and as a bookstore for the Lippencott company (see 1887 Sanborn Map). By the 1890s, the building was being used as the Mayor’s Office (an early version of City Hall), and continued as the town’s political headquarters until the 1920s. By 1915, the building was being called “City Hall” (see 1915 Sanborn Map). City Hall continued to be housed here until the 1920s, when the current City Hall (1925) was built a few doors down from here.
From the 1930s until the 1960s, the building was used as the art studio of local artist Nettie Fant Thompson (1878-1960), who would frequently give art lessons from this studio. In the 1970s and 1980s the building housed Dr. J. A. Hale’s dentist office and an antique store. After sitting vacant for several years, it has recently become the office for a local accounting firm.
The Lippencott Book Store is a 19th century commercial structure, with two stories and three bays and segmental arch windows and a central doorway.