Description: This is a photograph of the first building constructed on the courthouse square. It was located where number 601 East Lacy is now located, but it extended over approximately halfway into the lot of the current number 603. This was Alexander Joost's store, known after the Civil War as the "Cheap Cash Store". Joost was an immigrant from France who had an earlier store at Fort Houston. As soon as the site was located for the county seat of the new Anderson County, he bought land there and prepared to moved. He rebuilt after the 1874 fire and again after the 1879 fire. Most of the conflagrations that were destroying entire blocks of the city of Palestine in the 1870s and 1880s were set by an incendiary who was eluding the police. Even though numerous merchants in New Town and Old Town suffered from these fires, Joost took them personally, especially when rumors were spread around town that he was having difficulty maintaining a good stock of merchandise. To combat this, he took out an ad in the Trinity Advocate to let his customers know he was still offering the best merchandise at the best prices. However, when his store was burned to the ground in a third disaster on December 5, 1882, he decided to retire from business and return to France for a visit. He did not rebuild, and the site remained vacant for over thiry years, except for a brief period in the 1890s, when a temporary tentlike structure was put up for the Sam Jones Tabernacle.
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