John B. Roden & Co.

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Roden's Book Store, c. 1915
1882 advertisement for John B. Roden & Co.

John B. Roden & Co. was a book, stationery, music dealer and jeweler in early Birmingham.

John B. Roden, an Alabama native who had spent some years farming in Texas, opened his book store at 1908 2nd Avenue North in 1875. The shop specialized in stationery, school and office supplies, writing instruments and sundries. In 1882 Roden expanded his business with a music and retail shop two doors down. In 1883 he operated a shop on the 1900 block of 1st Avenue North.

In 1884 Roden exhibited a collection of "stationer's articles" at the Alabama State Exposition at Capitol Park. That same year he advertised "croquet sets, base balls, base ball bats, fish hooks in all sizes and every variety, fishing lines, poles, reels, bobs, bates, etc." at his shop, by special order.

Before 1887 J. A. Mills was operating his own jewelry business inside Roden's store. The book shop and music shop were brought together when Roden was able to secure the lease at 1910 2nd Avenue in 1891.

The expansion housed a complete line of music and musical instruments, specializing in Smith organs and Everett pianos. William Copeland worked at the book store for six years before partnering with R. I. Stone in a wholesale book business. Roden took on partner Edgar Welsh who operated a branch of the business in Gadsden. That store was taken over by John Dubose in 1889.

In 1892, after hearing a sermon on the evils of gambling, Roden burned all the decks of playing cards in his store's stock, valued at $200.

The store continued to operate, with the addition of jewelry and watches, until at least 1915.



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