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Why are there white tiles embedded in the sidewalk near Pender’s Cafe on Front Street?

Ben Steelman

There used to be a lot more of those tiles around downtown, and you’re right — there are, or were, letters on the tiles and once upon a time, they spelled out something.

That something was at one point F-L-E-I-S-H-M-A-N-’-S. Fleishman’s Fine Clothers had its original Wilmington outlet there, at 223 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this], in the old Bulluck Hospital building, next to the old Bijou Theater (now Bijou Park). Fleishman’s moved there in 1948, after the Fleishman family bought  out Lewis T. Stein, and remained there until 1992. (The store at Independence Mall is still going strong.)

Even more intriguing are the two sets of five tiles on either side of the middle 10 (or 10-and-a-half, for the apostrophe). These seem to spell out D-R-U-G-S — perhaps a heritage of Speer Drugs, which was listed there in Wilmington city directories from 1928 to 1932.

User-contributed question by:
Deb Hewitt

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