Rolfsen Hardware and the Rolfsen Building

Rolfsen Hardware Store was established in 1914 as a tin shop. The store was located at 811 Oak Street. The business survived the 1915 tornado, which blew off the roof. During the 1937 flood, the building was inundated by over six feet of water.

The 1920’s brought prosperity to the business. The owner, Frank Rolfsen, made plans to construct a new store and living quarters for his family on a lot located to east of the original store on Oak Street. This new store was erected in 1927-28. The two and one half story wire cut brick building contained two businesses and an apartment on the first floor with two five-room apartments on the second floor. The Rolfsen Hardware Store occupied the main space on the first floor. Architect John M. Hemmer designed the structure.

During the early years of the Great Depression, Frank Rolfsen found it very difficult to pay the mortgage on the new building. At this time, the building was sold, and the hardware store was moved to the previous location (next door). Rolfsen Hardware continues to operate in this building today under the ownership of Ray Rolfsen. It is one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in the city.

Kentucky Post, April 18, 1928, p. 13; Ludlow Celebrates, 1864-1989, p. 32