Dreams pinned on corner of Public Square

“We’re working on the development model. It’s gonna be touch and go with the current economic climate, but I feel confident we can bring the Arcade back to life if we find the right people who share in this communitywide dream.

“I think we can make the Square a really special place in the next 10 years,” said Manous, who, with Bone, envisions retail shops and, ideally, a restaurant coming to the historic corner—a two-story, 23,400-square-foot, brick building.

Among the many treasures of the Arcade, which opened Nov. 1, 1909, are its skylights in a vaulted ceiling and a large, upstairs room that served as a banquet hall for a variety of Lebanon social and civic clubs across six decades.

“The Arcade used to be the center of entertainment of everything that went on,” Phyllis McCullough said. “The 1930s and ’40s, those were the golden years. It was the only place large enough to serve meals to a large crowd and host banquets. The Arcade just belonged to the community.”

Throughout the 1900s the upstairs provided office space for doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, seamstresses and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. The ground floor saw such business as Kuhn’s 5-10-25-cent store, McAdoo’s clothing store and Goodwill Industries.

“That was an inside shopping mall before we had inside shopping malls. It was the place to go and be seen, too,” said Jimmy McCullough, who operated McCullough’s Office Supply from 1964 to 2008.

The McCulloughs owned the building since mid-1996 until they sold it to Bone and Manous. From 1996-2008, Phyllis operated McCullough’s Art Gallery in the structure. The couple spent countless hours cleaning and preserving the Arcade over the past 14 years.

“We got in there and started cleaning it up, and it was filthy. We worked and worked and just fixed it up with a big dream,” recalled Phyllis, who has passionately researched the history of the Arcade.

“We’ve enjoyed it very much—doing business and preserving the building,” Jimmy said. “But we’re glad it’s going on to the next level, to restore one of the most important buildings in Lebanon.”

Bone and Manous plan to put a small office in the Arcade shortly so that they can meet face to face with contractors, city officials and potential clients.

“If we are successful,” Manous said, “I think it’s gonna be a win for the community and everybody involved.”

Ken Beck may be contacted at kbtag2@gmail.com.