Almost 150 years ago, Fred Schilling came to Marietta to work in the hardware store run by Captain Wilson. Ten years later, in 1885, Fred purchased the store from Wilson and Schilling’s Hardware was born.
Fred Schilling was a metal worker by trade, and became one of North Georgia’s largest contractors of plumbing and sheet metal work. Originally, all the cooking utensils sold in the store were made from blocks of tin and copper. Local townsfolk would even bring in their old Civil War Minié balls (a type of rifle ammunition) to sell at Schilling’s store. These were melted down, and the lead was used in the construction of Marietta’s plumbing.
A demanding man who strived for perfection, Fred Schilling built a business that had some of the highest standards of any store in Georgia. His store sold more pocket knives than any other dealer in the southern United States. However, Schilling is also remembered for the twinkle in his eye when he would pass out nickels for the local children to purchase ice cream at Hodges Drug Store nearby.
In 1930 a fire destroyed the original store, which was located near where the Strand Theater is currently. A new store was built on the other end of the block, and even contained the first operating elevator in Cobb County. After the death of Schilling his two sons continued running the store until 1972 when it finally closed. Six years later, the store was remodeled into Shillings on the Square, and once again screwdrivers and rusty nails were available for sale on Marietta Square.