In 1850 Laten Legg Stearns, a farmer from Massachusetts, came to Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, and opened his first store - L.L. Stearns. Shortly after the Civil War, he moved his merchandise by raft down the Susquehanna River to Williamsport, establishing a general store on Market Street. In 1883 the store name became L.L. Stearns & Sons when he admitted his three sons as partners. L.L. Stearns & Sons developed into a department store when, in 1889, it moved to this location at Pine, West Third and Laurel Streets. Here it was the center of Williamsport's shopping district for 95 years. Through five generations of Stearn's [sic] family ownership, L.L. Stearns & Sons became the largest and oldest family owned and operated department store in the United States.