Preserving history and the fabric of a community
ML Edwards & Co is a historic general store, café, coffeeshop, and private event venue located in the small east Texas town of Mount Vernon.
First established in 1900, ML Edwards began as a hardware store, expanding over time with dry goods, clothing, furniture, antiques and other items. It also served as the town's licensed undertaker, up until 1946. Operating as a family-run business for three generations, the store remains an integral part of the town's history. In 2016, the Edwards family began a new chapter and sold the store to the Ostertags.
A major remodel was completed in 2017, in cooperation with the Texas Historical Commission, and the building has since been accepted into the National Register of Historic Places. It was also awarded the Best in Texas | Historic Restoration Award by the Texas Downton Association. The general store is now home to retail goods, a café, coffee shop, and an event space. It continues to operate as ML Edwards & Co as it has for more than 100 years.
ABOUT THE BUILDING
Founded by Martin Luther Edwards, the first ML Edwards & Co general store opened on South Kaufman Street in Mount Vernon, Texas on September, 17, 1900. A building fire the following year forced the Edwards to move to the northeast corner of the town square. Seeking larger space, the Edwards soon began construction on the present building from 1915-1916, and officially opened on March 1, 1916.
The Edwards store occupies the site of the former Mount Vernon opera house. The large, two story wooden building dated back to the 1880's, and proudly graced the square until it was destroyed by a fire in 1910. Today it stands as a grand, two story, 11,000 sf brick building. The bottom floor is finished out retail space, with original pressed tin ceilings and original, unfinished wood flooring. An ornate wooden staircase leads up to a second floor with virgin timber flooring, exposed brick walls, and 14 ft ceilings with large wooden trusses. The original pull-rope freight elevator used to transport caskets between the floors is still in place and fully operational.