Thanks to the memory of Fred Ickes, we have an extensive recollection of this photo. As memory allowed, he supplied the snippets of information to Dick Wolf, who submitted the photo from his collection. This is a photo of Fishertown looking north on Valley Road. The small white building was the headquarters of A.C. Blackburn Wholesalers (later moving to Cessna as Blackburn Russell Co., and now located in Bedford). The large building was the largest store of four in the village, built prior to 1877, probably by Uriah Blackburn, who operated a general store in it from 1870 until 1897. The Post Office was also in this building when it was established in Fishertown.
In the early 1880s, Uriah Blackburn owned and operated a small grocery store on the corner of main intersection in Fishertown, Bedford County, Pa.
In the mid 1880s, Allen C. Blackburn went to work for Uriah in the store, Seeing the potential for growth and the desire of Uriah to slow down, they formed a partnership of U. and A.C. Blackburn. Then in about 1888 Uriah did retire and the business continued as A.C. Blackburn Co.
Allen, seeing the need and potential in supplying other retailers began to operate both as a retail store and also a wholesale grocer.
Some time in the early 1890s, needing more room and also needing to be on a railroad both for receiving goods and also shipping goods, he moved his operation to the village of Cessna, Bedford Co., Pa.
At this time, he decided that to grow he needed a partner and joined with Scott Hammer to form Blackburn, Hammer & Co. in Cessna.
After a period of time, about the turn of the century Mr. Hammer decided he wanted out of the partnership.
(He later worked for a time as a salesman for Allen) At that point, A.C. made arrangements to move to Bedford and purchased the H.C. Heckerman wholesale warehouse.
Mr. Heckerman wanted out of the wholesale business to get into the making of candy and peanut products.
Needing another partner, Mr. Blackburn called his brother in law in Michigan and together in 1904 they started Blackburn Russell Co.
In 1926, Mr. A.C. Blackburn died and several years later Mr. J. Frank Russell retired and their two sons took over, J. Russell Blackburn and Arthur C. Russell. The business continued to grow and the third generation of Blackburns and Russells began to take an active part in the business.
In 1957 four new successors took over. They were John R. Blackburn Jr., Robert B. Blackburn, James K. Russell and John F. Russell.
In 1960 the company moved to its present location at 157 Railroad Street. The company again bought an Old Heckerman warehouse, and added a new addition for offices and warehouse space.
It was in the 1970's that John and James Russell decided to retire and their share of
the business was bought by the two remaining partners, John R. and Robert B. Blackburn.
The business was expanding and in 1976 was incorporated. The fourth generation started to help with the business operations. John R. Blackburn's' two children William J. Blackburn and Carroll B. Clark, and Robert B. Blackburn's' two sons, Robert B. Blackburn Jr. and Jeffrey R. Blackburn.
In 1985 the company purchased the former Howard Johnson Building on Mann Street and expanded their business to include frozen foods.
In 1992 John R. Blackburn Jr. retired, his brother Robert B. Blackburn followed in 1995.
The family business is now owned and operated by four of their children.
Blackburn-Russell Co., Inc employs approximately 50 employees. Covering the Tri State area as a full line distributor in the food service industry.
On October 12, 2018 the company was purchased by Curtze Food Service located in Erie Pa.