In 1886, J. Albert Kirven and his brother Richard moved their growing department store from No. 90 Broad to this location at 1136 Broadway. With $500 of his own savings and a $2500 loan from his sister, J. Albert Kirven purchased the bankrupted Acee and Murdoch's and opened Kirven's Department Store on August 2, 1876. This family-owned business prided itself in providing a wide array of goods to the people of Columbus with superior customer service for 111 years until it closed its doors permanently in 1987.
From the very beginning Kirven's was more than just a store. People came by for the chilled watermelons to be eaten on the sidewalks and the charcoal filtered cistern that boasted the town's most refreshing water. Later, in the 1900s, shoppers would wander in to see Richard Kirven's rose bed or to add their names to the long lists for nylons and washing machines during the war. They shopped side by side with their dogs as they listened to the squawks of Madame LeQuinn's parrot across the street at the White Elephant Saloon. Many young men purchased their best girl's engagement ring from Kirven's. Customers could rest their weary feet and get a bite to eat in the Tea Room, a cozy restaurant within the store. Perhaps Kirven's biggest claim to fame was the elaborate Christmas windows with motorized winter scenes that captured the imagination of young and old alike.
In 1950 Kirven's expanded by building a four-story addition above its original store. Mindful of their customers, the construction was organized so that the store's normal business hours were never disrupted. In the 1980s the growing market drew larger department store chains to Columbus, making it more difficult for the smaller, family-owned
business to compete. The decision was made to close Kirven's in 1987. Days after the store's closing, Columbus Bank & Trust purchased the Kirven's building and brought new life to the city's old landmark. This purchase provided much needed additional space for the large banking enterprise, while helping to insure the downtown area would continue to flourish.