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Picturing the past 3: Square in 1940s

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009, at 11:01 AM

Part of Shelbyville's square as Doyle Landers saw it in the late 1940s.
In some ways Shelbyville's square has changed dramatically over the years. In other ways, it's changed relatively little.

Thanks to Doyle Landers, of Knoxville, for e-mailing some photos he made of downtown Shelbyville in the late 1940s with a "box camera."

Here's one, a portion of the east side of the Shelbyville square. I'll post another one next week.

Doyle pointed out that it appeared the old Parks-Belk store was under construction. note the large opening where windows and doors would be. And, again today, there's a large empty space there -- the old Belk building's gone. Only a modern frame remains.

As a child, I was fascinated by Parks-Belk's pneumatic tubes in which money was transported from one floor to another.

Pope's Cafe was operating then, but note that the neon sign in front is similar -- but smaller -- from the one which exists today. The building then housing Simmons Jewelry is now filled with the old fixtures from Nashville's old Vandyland Soda Shop, which were moved to Shelbyville in 2006 but used for a short time if at all.

The two still-existing buildings pictured are now empty or being used for storage.

See 'Picturing the past' in this blog each Tuesday.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

How long has Pope's been on the square? Has it closed now? The last few times I have been by there looks like it is out of business.

-- Posted by titansfan on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 12:23 PM

Pope's has been out of business for some time. From what I read in columns by the late Dick Poplin, the cafe became Pope's sometime in the 1940s. It had been in operation since the 1930s, previously operated by a Huddleston.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 12:46 PM

I had forgotten all about the pneumatic tubes. The first time I was in there with my mom it scared the bejeebers out of me. SEEeeeeWOOooosh. For the record, I'm still not too crazy about bank drive thru visits......

Pope's closing is a crime against humanity. There should be a UN force in there making pancakes and hamburgers.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 9:15 PM

Simmons is still their. Look at those cars, they all look alike. LOL. : )

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 1:50 AM

Simmons is still in business, but they moved out North Main Street.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 9:03 AM

Popes, The Dixie Hotel, etc. I miss it all. Both, myself and Rick Dycus, (also from Shelbyville) were both stationed in Korea, in the same unit at the same time. My mom sent me two post cards of the Bedford County Courthouse. I gave one to him since he was from there. I hung mine up at my office and I noticed he had his hung up at his desk in the Troop area. Point is, there are some landmarks in Shelbyville that just have to maintain there existance. They mean too much to us when we're away.

Example, we all remember the "John Norton Slaw Dog" and the, "would you like a piece of pie" lady at Popes Cafe. You can't buy those memories for nothing and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

-- Posted by Cornelia.Marie on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 9:12 AM

I remember the John Norton Slaw Dog too! Loved it with those greasy fries. YUM! I used to get in trouble with my grandmother when she would take me there for spinning around on the stools at the bar.

-- Posted by titansfan on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 10:17 AM

I appreciate David posting these blogs about picturing the past. I have really enjoyed talking about a time gone by and reading what everyone has had to say about the pictures. I would like to throw out a suggestion. How about someone who post blogs on here starting one about what stores were located where on the square or even anywhere in town in a certain time frame such as the 70's, 60's, 50's, 40's or even 30's. I would hope that it would stir some interest among readers.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 7:26 PM


Sounds like you had a real advantage. My Grandmother was a big "Richard's" fan, which is OK, but when I had to eat out with my Grandmother, I remember the disappointment in missing out on that day's hit parade at Pope's.

Does anybody remember Pope's milkshakes? Those were always great just before the walk around the corner to the, "Capri Theater" on Friday nights.

Tim has an excellent point. Pope's Cafe should be looked at like the big three automakers. Some things you just shouldn't let die.

Also, speaking of "The Capri", is Mr. Philpot still alive? I'm afraid the last time I saw him he was getting on up there in years. He also had his famous flashlight with him.

-- Posted by Cornelia.Marie on Thu, Apr 9, 2009, at 7:14 AM

I remember my mom and I with my American Flyer going to Krogers on the west side of the square on weekends to haul groceries home as we had no car. Dad rode a bicycle to work at Wheatlys Lumber Company just off north side of the square. We got a weeks groceries for around five dollars for a family of four. We stopped at Popeyes greasy spoon on Depot Street on the way home for burgers that were out of this world. Ah those were the days. Hard times but I miss the good people of that time. A generation that will never be with us again.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 1:47 PM

Cherokee2, where was Kroger situated on the West side of the square? I can remember when it was on the East side of the square on the corner. I can remember Wheatlys and I also can remember Popeyes. My two favorite burgers were at T. L. Smith's on Union or (Elm) and I can remember a restaurant beside Taylor's Grocery between Taylor's and the Old City Hall and Jail that served a burger that would melt in your mouth. The closest thing that I have found to it is the Sonic burger with mustard or the old Number 2 Sonic.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 4:34 PM

I remember Popeyes. My mom used to take me there when I was a little boy. A lady she was related to ran it. Her name was Velma Corbin. Sometimes we would stop there after she picked me up at Rainbow Kindergarten in the early 60's.

-- Posted by dh38583 on Tue, Apr 21, 2009, at 7:51 PM

I remember Popeyes. My mom used to take me there when I was a little boy. A lady she was related to ran it. Her name was Velma Corbin. Sometimes we would stop there after she picked me up at Rainbow Kindergarten in the early 60's.

-- Posted by dh38583 on Tue, Apr 21, 2009, at 7:53 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.