Downtown Ardmore has a rich history, told in part by the buildings and their tenants.
The Colston Building, which has stood on the corner of Main and A Street Southwest for 100 years this month, is one such building.
Originally the Simpson Building, the structure began as Ardmore’s first attempt at a skyscraper office building. Ardmoreites B.A. Simpson, P.C. Dings and Roy M. Johnson financed the project, according to
historical records maintained by Ardmore Main Street. The first floor facade was lined with white tile while the rest of the building was red brick. The original interiors boasted Ohio flint tile, Carthage grey marble, Vermont black marble, mahogany and light oak.
Each floor was originally divided into 22 offices. Tenants were furnished ice water from the basement ammonia ice machine, said John White, the current building manager and tenant in the first floor storefront.
The basement also held a vacuum machine connected by a pipe system to remove dust and litter and generated its own electricity. The coal-fired boiler heated the entire building through a steam radiator system. Those fixtures, though not operational, are still installed downstairs, said White.
The original first floor tenants were Guaranty Bank on the corner and Myers and Boyd Drug Store on the east side. Four other banks and three other drug stores have occupied those spaces since 1918.
Two families have been tenants on the fifth floor of the building since construction was completed in March 1918: the Dyers and the Dolmans.
Ardmore Mayor Martin Dyer said his father and his partner L.S. Dolman chose their offices from the building’s blueprints during construction. “My dad had only been out of law school a month or two,” Dyer said. “They were the first tenants in the building and they’ve been on the fifth floor the whole time.” Dyer said though they split the law partnership in 1943, they remained neighbors on the fifth floor. Dyer said the pair thought the building looked good. The building had elevators, where their previous third floor offices required use of the stairs. The Simpson Building offered more space and was up to date.
The building was purchased by Quintin and Carrie Lou Little in 1949 and renamed the Little Building. The Little family did extensive remodeling and utility upgrades in 1968-69. Dyer said Little remodeled the interior, adding wood paneling instead of the opaque windows of the original office design. The ceiling lighting was added as well. The original building had awnings over the windows to help control lighting and heat. The building was acquired by Bob Colston and Thomas Jobe of the Colston Corporation in 1975 and renamed the Colston Building.
Lisa Bean, daughter of Colston, still works out of her father’s office. The building is now owned by the Colston siblings, including Ronnie Colston, Leah Johnston, and Jobe’s children, Mark, Mitch, and Mike Jobe.
When Colston decided to purchase the building, Exchange Bank was moving out of its first floor location, which left a vacancy that was quickly taken over by Citizen’s Bank, founded by Colston and partners in 1975. A branch of the bank still occupies the location today.  
Bean said her father made upgrades to the building when he purchased it, including an automatic elevator in 1976 and central heat and air in the early 2000s. Before that, she said the building relied on a boiler system and window air conditioning units. Dyer said the old boiler down in the basement would get it pretty warm, even up on the fifth floor.
Dyer said there was a period of uncertainty about the building’s future when it changed hands from Little to Colston, but it has flourished since. “There are rarely many vacancies now,” he said. “The Littles were good landlords, and the Colstons have been good to us.” Dyer said he and his father enjoyed the location of the building, situated close to the court house.
“My father and I together have been here the whole 100 years,” Dyer said. “I came in 1954, he passed away in 1987. Dolman’s great great grandson, who is in the oil business, is still in the building too.” Dyer said the building has changed a lot and has always been well maintained. “We’ve never had any inclination to move out,” Dyer said. “A hundred years in one building is a long time.”