Tax Credit Program Highlight: M.L. Edwards & Co. Building

Mount Vernon, Franklin County



Individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Historic Use

Hardware store, general store, undertaker

Current Use

Retail shop, restaurant, events venue

Date Certified

September 11, 2018


Also certified for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Project Contact

M.L. Edwards & Co; Ostertag Enterprises, Inc; Ogee Preservation


The M.L. Edwards Building is an excellent example of an early 20th century commercial structure, but is most notable for having been owned by members of the Edwards family for 100 years, from its construction until 2016. The building was constructed by M.L. Edwards after his general store business outgrew its earlier, smaller building. The new building allowed him to expand retail offerings, and an undertaker service on the second floor. The new store was designed and constructed by Harry Smith, a local depot agent who was well known as a woodcarver. Smith and Edwards traveled to Dallas to look at newly constructed buildings for inspiration.

Rehabilitation Project

Because the building had been continuously occupied, it was in relatively good physical condition. Minor alterations to the building had been undertaken in easily reversible ways. The original storefronts were replaced in the 1980s but were stored on the second floor. The new owner was able to remove the non-historic storefront and restore the original storefront, which features transom windows painted to advertise wares. On the exterior, the roof was replaced, masonry repointed, and windows restored and repainted. Inside the building, the expansive tin ceiling was selectively repaired, as needed; non-historic portions of the mezzanine were removed; HVAC, plumbing, and electricity were updated; a small kitchen was constructed; and a new lift was added to make the second floor accessible. The original freight elevator that carried coffins to the second floor was restored, and remains in limited use.

Photo Gallery

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  • The M.L. Edwards Building is an L-shaped building with its main entrance on the town square and a side entrance tucked behind the neighboring building on the corner.