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Picturing the Past 14: New car time

Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009, at 9:42 AM

(Photo)
Cannon Chevrolet, from July 1965, in the Depot Street building which was demolished around 1979-80. (T-G file photo)
Here's Cannon Chevrolet, which was on Depot Street next to what is now 82 Bypass, from the first week of July 1965.

Two unusual items here, which you won't see at today's new car dealerships:

1. There are Texaco gas pumps in front of the building and a Texaco sign on the building. They also sold gas in addition to cars -- perfect for attracting potential customers. Admire the new cars nearby as your gas is pumped (no self-service then).

2. Look closely in the middle of the used lot, pictured in a second shot we've added to the Picturing the Past photo gallery, and you'll see what appears to be a pay telephone booth. Perfect for making that quick call to a bank or loan company ("Can I afford this car??")

How many dealerships do you see today with a gas station and pay phone?

In the photo above you'll see a '65 Impala 2-door hardtop (which would be a collector's item today), what looks like a '65 BelAir 4-door sedan, and a '65 Corvair.

This was about three years before Cannon moved to Lane Parkway in what's now a "dead spot" of unoccupied buildings.

I guess the old Cannon site could be considered a "dead spot" as well. Walk by on foot today and you'll see the bottom of the posts which were in front of the car lot, which appear to have been cut off with a chain saw at some point, and a little bit of the concrete parking lot. Vehicles must have been really jammed into what seems to be a small area for a new car dealership.

Does anyone remember the final use of this building before it was demolished? It was Buck's Kaleidoscope, a dance club run by one of the Buckingham brothers (I'm thinking Dwight) for only a month or so around 1979.


Comments
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Yep, it was Dwight that ran the dance club. It is funny that you should run this blog, as on Monday I was thinking about "Buck" and wondering what ever happened to him. I remember the dance club, as I helped complete finishing touchs before it opened, but I don't remember the car dealership being there.

William

-- Posted by HorseGentler on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 10:19 AM

I remember when the dealerhip was Boyds Chevrolet, prior to being Cannon. This was in the late 50's.

-- Posted by cordell on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 11:32 AM

David thanks for two more great pictures. Behind the line of pick-ups was a fence behind which was more cars and trucks, both used and new as well as customer cars that had been repaired and were waiting to be picked up.

In the fall of 1959 I priced a brand new 1960 Red and White 1960 Impala 2-door hardtop. I really wanted that car bad. The price was $2,400 on a 24 month loan it would have been $100 per month plus 4% interest and insurance plus $5.00 per week for gas. With me making $1.00 per hour I just never could make the math work out where I could afford it. Such is life.

I can not remember whether it was still Boyd's at that time or if Bill Cannon had already bought it out.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 11:58 AM

While we're on Depot St.who remembers the Pan-Am bulk plant that occupied part of what is now the parking lot of First Baptist Church, and the little Pan-Am service station that sat almost in front of the T-G? My first "public" job was in the bulk plant, keeping the books,tending to the office and taking care of customers that dropped by to order or pay thier bills."Sticking" those tanks wasn't a lot of fun when there was ice on the ladder and the wind was howling.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 12:40 PM

Yes, I remember the Pan-Am bulk plant and the Pan-Am station as well. It was between the Depot and Thompson Funeral Home and almost across the street from where my Dad worked at the Gulf Station. I was trying to remember who ran the Pan-Am station. Somehow Hart seems to come to my mind.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 1:03 PM

Yeah,leeiii, Don Hart ran the station for a long time, and his brother, Jess Hart, my boss, ran the bulk plant, assisted ably by J.W.Jobe.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 1:07 PM

I thought so. I remember all three of them.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 1:34 PM

I remember one particular night in, I think, the summer of 1977, shortly before the Pan-Am station (it was another brand by that time) was closed for good. Someone left the pumps on after closing time and by 8 p.m. cars were lined up for a block before the cops came and notified the manager.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 1:40 PM

Just my luck. That is another golden opportunity that I missed out on. David, I believe it was changed to American or Amoco which is just another name for American Oil Company.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 1:59 PM

Was there ever Winnabagos there at this car lot?

Seems like I remember a big Winnabago sign...there??

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 2:17 PM

It was The Bandit RV that was there. Hoyte Brown started it, but it didn't last too long. They made and sold Rv's.

-- Posted by mindyg on Wed, Jun 24, 2009, at 1:58 PM

One September morning in 1956, just about first light, I was pedaling my bike out Depot Street with a basket-load of Tennesseans to deliver when I stopped dead in my tracks to gawk at the car in Cannon's showroom window. My first thought was that Cannon's had started selling Cadillacs - but no, it was a silver '57 Chevrolet BelAir convertible. It had not been there the afternoon before when I set out to deliver the Banner. Apparently the Cannon people, with a flair for drama, had moved the new car into the showroom in the dead of night.

That's how I got to be one of the first people in Shelbyville to see a '57 Chevy. The car was an instant classic, and still is. The sticker price on the convertible was about $2200. You could buy one today in mint condition (not new, but frame-off restored) for about 40 times that.

-- Posted by w00dy on Sat, Jun 27, 2009, at 1:22 PM

Woody, welcome to the blog. I am looking forward to remembering the past with you and others about our same age.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jun 27, 2009, at 4:17 PM

Thanks leeiii - I will be checking this site regularly thanks to your heads-up to our classmates.

-- Posted by w00dy on Sat, Jun 27, 2009, at 11:43 PM

"I guess the old Cannon site could be considered a "dead spot" as well."

I wonder if the entire Depot St.area from the old Cannon site to the little store on the left just past Myer St., with the exception of the T-G, of course, couldn't be called a "dead" area. If not a dead area, it is certainly an area of high decay.The businesses in the area are certainly not comparable with those that were around as recently as the 1970's, in that the present businesses are what I would call passive, as they are not capable of "driving" business to thier fellow merchants as were the likes of Mittwede's, Day Brothers, Model Laundry and Cleaners,Greenfield's Furniture and Appliances, L.L. Edwards Wholesale co., Dixie Grain, L.C. Fritzche, a pair of service stations and a wholesale gasoline distributor.

To illustrate what I'm trying to get across, you wouldn't be over at the laundramat today and all of a sudden take a notion to run across to the body shop at the old Model Laundry location to get an estimate on a fender replacement just in case you have a fender bender in the next day or two.

But if there was a furniture store with a couch in the window that had caught your eye in passing, you might go take a look at it.

It seems to me that the easiest way to get behind is to stand still, and it saddens me each time I drive through this area and see the results of being neglected by those charged with looking out for the health and vitality of the entire community, not just "busy Madison St." of several years ago, or North Main St., the newest darling on the horizon.

If Iron Eyes Cody could walk through this area, and some way compare what once was, with what is, I have no doubt that another tear would roll down his cheek.

And while I'm ranting on the Depot St. situation in general, let me get very specific on one point, and that is how some stupid, ignorant, idiotic nincompoop has laid out the left turn for traffic coming off the bypass onto Depot St. No less than three times already, I have been waiting on Depot to make a left turn onto the bypass, when an 18 wheeler has made a left onto Depot, and each time, although I was back a few feet from the line marked on the road, I have had to back up 20 to 30 feet to keep from being run over by the rear end of the trailer. Fortunately, each time I've had the turn lane to myself, and able to rapidly retreat. If someone had been behind me I would have been in a world of hurt. This situation is a maimiing or a death waiting to happen, and should be corrected as soon as possible.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sun, Jun 28, 2009, at 3:41 PM

ilikeoldsongs, once again I find myself in agreement with you.

If you fellow bloggers will forgive me for expanding on this subject, let me pull my soapbox out for a minute or two.

You are right, Depot was once a thriving area of commerce all the way to the square. I immediately want to blame the "superstore" concept for what we have lost. Let me be quick to say that I understand enough about economics to know that people will go where they can get their product the cheapest. When Big K first came into the Shelbyville area I was thrilled at the array of merchandise under one roof, however, I have gotten tired of the concept that "yes, we have that, but you will have to buy the whole bubble pack" full of items that you may never need in your lifetime. I miss stores like Knox Pitts where you could find what you needed somewhere in the store, and you only had to buy one if you chose. I miss the community store where you could buy a slab or a slice of bologna and a handful of crackers and only one pickle. I miss Dr. Pepper or Coke in the small glass bottle. As a matter of fact I still miss the peddler wagon where you could sell enough eggs to buy a bottled Dr. Pepper or Coke, and then go draw a bucket of water from the well to cool your soft drink in. I miss the fellowship you can have in a store like that "where everybody knows your name". Someone had mentioned in an earlier blog about the "spit and whittlers" on the Court House lawn. I miss them also. I miss the concept of "the customer is always right", and I miss the concept of "just be accomodating and they just might come back again".

I avoid the Wal-Mart Super Centers, Home Depot, Lowes, and all stores of the same ilk because I have been able to find the small stores that meet my needs even if I have to pay a few pennies more.

I can remember when I was a child and we lived on Whitthorne Street close to the Horse Show grounds walking with my Mother and Father to town. We walked up the railroad tracks to the Depot and then along Depot Street to town. During that walk was some precious family time, and that is another thing that I am afraid we are missing.

You are probably thinking "that must be an old man", and you are right, and before long I will join the other dinosaurs but I still miss these things.

Yes, Iron Eyes Cody would surely shed another tear.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sun, Jun 28, 2009, at 6:06 PM

"ilikeoldsongs, once again I find myself in agreement with you."

Thanks, leeiii, your agreement with my post is very much appreciated, as I have come to believe, through reading a number of your posts, that you and I share much common ground when it comes to our raising. Hard working, honest,friendly people, completely dedicated to the best interests of thier families, are terms I sincerely believe apply to both our parents.

And further, I believe you and I were fortunate in another respect. Our early years coincide with the last years of the last "handshake" generation. A time when a man's word and a handshake was all that was needed between honorable men. This provided you and I with strong outside positive re-enforcement, as we didn't have to look any farther than our neighbors, in most cases, to find the same attitudes of decency and respect that our parents were trying to instill in us at home.

But this attitude of friendliness by and toward strangers, came to a screeching halt when I was about 25, I guess, almost like flipping a light switch. Suddenly, strangers could no longer be regarded as just friends you hadn't met yet.

By then though, we had already been molded into our future selves, the tragedy being that our children, grandchildren, and future generations no longer can benefit from a strong, positive outside influence.

I fully agree with your post, leeiii, both the missing and dislikes.

How did you feel about Rex Jelly during the war years?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sun, Jun 28, 2009, at 10:52 PM

ilikeoldsongs, now you have thrown me for a loop. Rex Jelly is not a term that quickly comes to my mind.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Jun 29, 2009, at 6:21 AM

"ilikeoldsongs, now you have thrown me for a loop. Rex Jelly is not a term that quickly comes to my mind."

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Jun 29, 2009, at 6:21 AM

leeiii, Rex jelly was about the only product of that type that was available from the peddler that came by my grandmother's house. Best I can remember it had kind of a raspberry taste. Also think it might have been a low sugar product at the time, due to the sugar shortage. Some folks didn't care for it, as I recall, but I always liked it.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Mon, Jun 29, 2009, at 7:28 AM

ilikeoldsongs, sorry but it still does not ring a bell. I wonder if it might have been a product that was connected to another company like Watkins or Jewel T.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Jun 29, 2009, at 8:08 AM


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