Tools of the Trade: Makinson Hardware

Throughout the month of June 2020 we will feature local businesses related to the new Tools of the Trade special exhibit now on display at the History Museum. The exhibit will run through October 12, 2020, and features the past tools and objects of various trades. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Makinson Hardware

William Burroughs Makinson of Maryland was one of Osceola County’s early pioneers. He traveled in 1883 by boat to Jacksonville, then by train to Sanford, finally arriving in Kissimmee on the first train to make the run from Sanford. He was affiliated with the Katz Brothers grocery business for several years but later opened his own business.  

Trading hides of opossum, lynx, wildcat, panther, raccoon, otter, deer and alligator with the Seminole Indians, W. B. sent the hides to New York City markets. He aided farmers and citrus growers, as well as fisherman by finding markets in the Midwest for their goods. Expanding into the cattle industry, he loaned money to local businessmen who brought Brahman cattle to Kissimmee to improve the herds. When the town of St. Cloud was founded in 1909, W.B. opened a store on New York Avenue but after several years, it changed ownership.

The store was commonly known as “the store with the horse out front.” The horse was purchased in the late 1930s from the Hialeah Rack Track. It may no longer be out front, but still looks out the window at approaching customers and once participated in various parades to promote the Silver Spurs Rodeo. The W.B. Makinson Hardware Company is Kissimmee’s oldest family-run business still in operation in Kissimmee.  

Written by Anza Bast.

Sources:

Osceola County Centennial Book 1987

“Kissimmee Gazette” April 25, 1958

“Orlando Sentinel” April 16, 1972

“St. Cloud Historical Trail” by Steve Rajtar