Our display "Watson's Store" depicts a general view of how the old time stores would have looked. Renwicktown was the rural centre of the area for many years being established some time before Blenheim. As the rural centre, it had a large number of shops selling the essentials that the settlers needed to live. One of the most important was the General Store, and because the population's requirements were many and varied, these stores sold just about everything.
Of course W.S. Watson's Store, which was located at the site of the current petrol station, was only one of the town's many general stores, the ownership of which changed many times over the years. The Watson store itself went through a number of different stages as it was modified, expanded and then finally demolished.
The re-routing of the Opawa river in the 1880's meant that the once swampy "Beaver" (Blenheim) was no longer constantly being flooded and could begin to establish itself. This, coupled with the new road from Picton traveling through Blenheim and south to Ward, meant that the days of Renwicktown as a commercial hub were numbered.
Bary's Store - approximately where the 3 Bears Cafe now stands.
Andrews Store - on the opposite side of High Street to the current war memorial.
C. Mitchell's Store - on the corner of the current supermarket car park.
J. Mitchell's Store - diagonally opposite Watson Store on the junction of High Street and Uxbridge Street.
F.J.Litchfields Store - mainly imported millinery, hats, dresses, cloth etc. Situated just to the East of the stream opposite the current school