Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Hole That Was Once a Row

Marker ID:  
Location: in the Cahawba Archaeological Park (nominal fee required), 9518 Cahaba Rd, Orrville, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 19.159    W 087° 5.73
  32.31931666    -87.0955
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The Hole That Was Once a Row

1822 - Crocheron's Row
Cahawba's First Shopping Center

This large hole was dug in 1822 to be the basement beneath Cahawba's first brick store.

In the 19th century the word "row" described a building that consisted of several similar storefronts, all arranged in a straight line or row. This building built by brothers David and Nicholas Crocheron contained eight different stores or offices. It measured 80 feet by 42 feet and had two floors above the basement.

The Crocherons were merchants from Staten Island, New York. They were very familiar with commercial rows in New York City. Before starting their own brick "row," they completed another brick building in Cahawba, Alabama's first statehouse!

1854 -The "Old Brick Store" Cahawba's First Superstore

The capital was removed in 1825, but Cahawba survived and prospered. Eventually, many brick stores were built in Cahawba, so by the late 1850s, townspeople were calling this building the "Old Brick Store."

Col. Sam M. Hill purchased the Old Brick Store, and turned the once subdivided row into a single huge dry goods store where shoppers could buy just about anything like a modern Walmart.

Most of the merchants in Cahawba traveled to New York each season to replenish their stock. They would travel by steamboat down the Alabama River, then by steamship from Mobile to New York City via Cuba In 1859, Col. Hill was able to make the return trip from New York in less than four days!

The Crocherons, the New York family that originally built the Old Brick Store, had a cousin named Edward M. Perine. Perine was probably Hill's biggest competitor. His store was called the "New Brick Store." It was located nearby on the southwest corner of Vine and Second North Streets.

Frontier Conditions

When Cahawba was chosen to be Alabama's first capital, it was uninhabited. A town had to be carved out of the wilderness.

In time Cahawba grew into one of the wealthiest communities in the nation. During the capital era (1819 - 1825) however, conditions were very primitive. Before the Crocheron's built their brick store, Cahawba's merchants lived and worked in small log cabins.

2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of The Hole That Was Once a Row