Scofield Building

Hayes Scriven

The first building located on the southeast corner of Division and Fifth Streets, a site now occupied by J. Grundy’s Rueb ‘N’ Stein, was the Jenkins House and Tavern. Herman Jenkins built the hotel in 1856 out of wood. It burned in 1867 and was replaced a year later with the Scofield Building.

The Scofield Building served as a drugstore for the patients of John Scofield, the first doctor in Northfield and in Rice County. Scofield was also a Methodist minister. He and his family moved to Northfield after the Civil War. The Scofield Building, like several others constructed around this time—including the Scriver Building and the Bjoraker Building—originally was made from limestone.

The Scofield Building is relatively small due to the shape of its lot. When it was first built, it had a narrow front on Division Street and a long side on Fifth Street. The two brick buildings next to the Scofield were constructed in 1907 and 1908.

Scofield ran his drugstore on the first floor. A printing shop occupied the second floor. In 1878, a fire started in the printing shop and likely destroyed most of the building. Scofield’s wife, Betsy, who had urged him to purchase fire insurance on the building (he did), said that the next morning nothing was standing but the “stone walls.”

Scofield rebuilt, using brick and cast iron this time. He also added a sheet metal cornice. Now only the word “STORE” remains, but originally it read “1878 Drug Store.” The local paper commented: “That cornice is a thing of beauty and may be a joy forever.”

One of the distinctive features of the Scofield Building, added when it was rebuilt, is its corner doorway. This made sense given the narrowness of the building, but it also provided an inviting entrance accented by cast iron Corinthian columns.

A variety of businesses—the drug store, a shoe store, and a grocery store—occupied the ground floor over the years, and the upstairs served as a roadhouse or rooming house. Finally, in 1942, Grundy’s Corner Bar opened. It has occupied the building since that time.