The staff of Wright's 5 & 10 Store, in Shelbyville, from the late 1930s or early 1940s. (Photo contributed by Doyle Landers)
"This is Wright's 5 & 10. How do you like it?" someone wrote on the back of this photo many years ago, probably never imagining that readers of a web site and newspaper may answer her question years later.
Staff members were, top row from left, Geneva Pressgrove, manager Virginia Price, Frances Hickerson, a name that looks like Elvia Russell, and Mary Alcorn. Two of the women on the bottom row are Bessie Eyler and Hazel Teal, one of who is listed as "a soldier's wife," with one unindentified.
Doyle Landers, who e-mailed the photo, says it was made in the late 1930s or early 1940s. I'm guessing this was probably during World War II, since the manager was a woman during a time in which women rarely held such roles and because of the "soldier's wife" note.
A sign over the womens' heads, not overly visible in small-format here, actually says "5-10-25 STORE." Where on the Shelbyville square was this store? I'm thinking it may have been in the middle of the east side.
I remember, as a young boy in the late 1960s, visiting two "dime stores" where my parents bought me model cars - maybe where my gearhead status comes from today.
One was roughly in the middle of the east side of the square (which may have been the successor to Wright's) and another on the southeast corner where the Center for Family Development is today. Seems like the corner store had wooden floors, which appeared to me to be greasy, and had sort of a musty smell. The name Cohern's comes to mind for one of the stores.
Dime stores. Every small town had 'em.
Then Big K came along -- a super-sized dime store/Wal-Mart predecessor -- anchoring the new Big Springs Shopping Center, and the entire retail landscape gradually changed.
NOTE: As of today we've added Picturing the Past to our print edition each Tuesday as a companion to the blog posts, which will continue, hopefully with multiple photos posted to the web on some weeks. Look on the Community Calendar page.
Reader contributions are welcome, but I don't want this to end up becoming dominated by photos of groups posing for cameras. The five-and-dime shot works well because some of the store can be seen in the background and most people above a certain age remember those stores.
Street and building scenes have been requested by many readers. And we've got our vast stash of T-G negatives to pull from.
Also, I'd like to concentrate on post-1950 photos. The late Dick Poplin pretty much saturated the earlier years in his columns, and the later years seem to draw the most blog responses.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog.