General Store flea market was a modern event at historic location

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The General Store at 220 E. Mesquite Blvd. is easy to miss for passing motorists who don’t know where to look. The house sits on the corner lot shaded on two sides by trees with low-hanging branches.

Most passing vehicles are turning left from East Mesquite Boulevard onto North Sandhill Boulevard. The General Store, a consignment store, sits on the southeast corner of the busy intersection where Hafen Lane morphs into North Sandhill as it crosses Mesquite Boulevard.

Friday and Saturday, the store was more visible. Parking filled the curbs on Hafen Lane and both sides of East Mesquite Boulevard past the intersection when it changes from a business district into a residential area.

It was the General Store’s fall flea market, which features local craftsmen and artists who set up their tables and booths to hawk their wares and visit with their neighbors.

You find all manner of people there: hobbyists who dabble and professionals with business licenses who sell their products year round on the internet. Among the crafts are merchandise that might look like junk to the uninformed, but are potentially valuable antiques to dealers.

The General Store location has been a hub of activity in Mesquite since 1901 when William Abbott built the two-story, mostly adobe structure on a rock foundation.

In those years before air condition made living in the desert comfortable, Abbott made the outside walls three adobe brick thick for insolation from summer’s burning sun and the chill that settles on the Virgin River Valley during the short winters.

Abbott was a prominent figure in early Mesquite, according to the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum. As a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 27 years he was well known. His home was the largest residence in the area. Each floor had six rooms to accommodate his large family of a dozen children. He also served as the local judge for many years.

When dignitaries from the LDS church in Salt Lake City or the nearby Mormon settlements in northwest Arizona and southern Utah would pass through Mesquite, they would stay in the Abbott home, which became known as the Abbott Hotel. Eventually any weary traveler could stay on the upper floor of the Abbott Hotel with the family still occupying the ground floor. The building also served as a community gathering place.

In the years since the Abbotts sold the home it’s served as a residence and for a while a chiropractor did his adjustments at the location.

The General Store is in its fifth year operating from the historic building.

The rooms now are filled with artifacts of past times and one can spend hours searching for treasures others may have missed on the crowded shelves, from Coca Cola products to kitchen utensils. And the store is a trove of Christmas decor and decorations.

The Abbott Home/Abbott Hotel is one of Mesquite’s historic places, and still is making history today.

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