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G. C. Murphy 5 & 10 Store - Ellwood City PA

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In 1907 Horace “Abbey” Abbaticchio (1872-1970), the brother of professional baseball player Ed “Batty” Abbaticchio, opened Abbey’s Racket Store – a variety store popularly known as a “5 & 10 (dime)” or “dime store” – at #631 Lawrence Avenue in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. The store, soon known as Abbey’s Big 5 & 10, was the first of its kind in Ellwood City and sold all sorts of inexpensive items. In 1917 Abbaticchio sold the store, which was moved into a larger building at #512 Lawrence Avenue (shown above), to the G. C. Murphy Company, a Pittsburgh-based variety store chain founded by the late George C. Murphy (1869-1909) back in 1906. Murphy’s initially shared the location with W. T. Grant’s, another variety store chain founded by William T. Grant in 1906, but later took over the entire building. (c1918) Full Size

The G. C. Murphy store was in operation at this Lawrence Avenue location until it closed in 1986, after the chain had been purchased by Ames Department Stores. The building was soon reopened as the City Centre Emporium, home to a small collection of retail businesses. As of late 2012 the building is undergoing a major renovation as part of a downtown renewal project and is slated to reopen in early 2013 as the City Center Shoppes. (c1960) Full Size


  1. HiJames,
    I’m the supervisor for the Ellwood City Ledger. One of our freelance writers, Louise Carroll, has written a story about former employees of the G.C. Murphy Co. store in Ellwood City. I see that you have two photos on your site of the store, one from around 1917 and theother from what looks like the 1960s. Could you send my the jpegs of those two photos. We would be glad to credit you in whatever wording you prefer.
    Tom Bickert


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