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Old Noble Street business buildings up for auction Thursday

The Smoking Moose was the most recent prominent tenant

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Moose detail

This detail shot from a few years ago shows an iron column behind the facade of an old building at 1214 Noble St. The building is to be auctioned Thursday.

The former Smoking Moose and the building beside it are up for auction Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.

The buildings at 1214 and 1216 Noble St. have hosted various businesses during the many decades since their construction, running the gamut from music and grocery stores to furniture and undertakers, as a few examples. Interested parties will gather at the site, according to auctioneer Ronnie Motes, who operates Southern Pride Auctions with his father, Gene, and let the bidding begin without a minimum price, Motes said Wednesday. 

“It’d probably take longer to read the terms and conditions than to run through the auction,” Motes joked. 

As for the Moose building, part of its charm, Motes said, is its history, which stretches back to 1900. 

Advertisements attributed to the address began to appear in The Anniston Star that year, when a bold marketer took out a small ad with the word “MURDERED” in big, thick letters. In the ad, a fictional group of jewelers begged the public for help in the arrest of S. Martin & Bro, the then-proprietors, “from making such low prices on watch repairing, Jewelry, Watches, Rogers Bros knives and forks,” along with a few other charges. 

“The extreme low prices they are making are ruining our business,” the ad states. “Signed, Jewelers Who Want Big Profit.” 

By 1902, the building became home to J.L Murphy Furniture and Undertaking. "Licensed embalmer," the advertisement noted. 

Until 1908, customers could get 20 pounds of granulated sugar for a dollar from Shellnutt Stores Consolidated, though that business moved from the corner of 12th Street to Eighth and Noble Streets that year. 

Streetman & Watson, "The Live Grocers," advertised in 1909 that they “especially solicit the trade of the country people” and sell "all kinds of feed stuffs." 

Defying all expectation, in 1933 E.E. Forbes & Sons Piano Co. took out an ad for the Grunow, “an entirely different kind of refrigerator,” with the Grunow-Carrene vacuum system — an exclusive to the brand, says the ad. 

The longest-lived tenant at 1214 Noble was Cook Furniture, which opened in 1934 and closed in 1980, when the son-in-law of founder Frank Cook, Kenneth Shull, retired. 

Someone later opened the BMW Club, a night spot that closed shortly after someone broke into the building and carried off 40 tables, 100 chairs, a dishwasher, the lighting and sound systems, and several bottles of whiskey, according to The Star’s police blotter in October 1990. 

The building was purchased in 1992 by Patrick Kurtz, who opened the bar as City Limit, and later became the Smoking Moose, with the owners still operating as City Limit, according to court documents.  

Those same documents show that the sale is a court-ordered estate auction, with proceeds to be divided among parties with owning interests in the bar and with the estate of Michael Grimes, who owned 50 percent of the bar before his death in 2018. 

Motes said Southern Pride has held fast to live auctions, rather than moving online, an exodus that other auctioneers had made even before the pandemic. The last year hasn’t been easy for live auctions, he said, but he was confident the business would weather the storm without moving to a digital platform. 

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Motes said, “but we’ll still do live auctions.”