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Picturing the Past 18: Rally on the square

Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009, at 1:05 PM

(Photo)
Frank Clement campaigns on the Shelbyville square for the Democratic nomination for governor in a photo dated July 12, 1952. (T-G file photo)
It's July 1952, and young Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Clement is rallying support on the Shelbyville square.

Looks like Clement, then 32, has drawn quite a crowd to the square's east side.

Go to http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagega... to read about Clement. To sum up, he was a moderate Democrat whose memorable achievements, according to a Wikipedia entry, were providing free textbooks in all Tennessee public schools and having white lines painted on the sides of Tennessee's highways (supposedly road builders were among his big supporters).

Clement, then only 32, was obviously holding forth on the east side of the square. Note the grocery store at bottom right. Was that Kroger or A&P in the building now occupied by the Center for Family Development?

Today's Kroger store has a plaque reading "Est. 1954" but I'd heard the first Kroger in Shelbyville was on the square well before 1954.

The photographer didn't make any closer-up shots of the rally. Apparently this photo was taken from a second floor window of the corner building on Depot which now houses a clothing store, the former Rexall building.

Also, note the directions in which the truck and car at bottom left are headed, and in which the cars in the center parking area are aimed. Obviously the square's traffic flow wasn't one-way counterclockwise as it is today.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog.


Comments
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i love the old photos. Can I remember two-way traffic on the square in the early sixties?

-- Posted by abner_t on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 9:52 AM

David, Thanks for yet another great picture from the past. I am not sure about the store. My best guess would be Kroger but I am not sure about that. I would say that the plaque declaring that Kroger was established in 1954 would be more accurate probably. If that is true then the store could be A & P, or maybe even Piggly Wiggly. In the recesses of my feeble mind it seems to me that I can remember window paintings of a pig or maybe "3 little pigs" on the window facing the square at that location, but I can not tell you a year date. On page 65 of the "Postcard Memories" book in the top picture you can see the Piggly Wiggly sign mounted on the upper lip of the metal awning and it looks very much like the back of the sign in your picture from 1952.

As for the traffic on the square, yes I can remember when traffic was two-way. The inside circle which we called the donkey circle has been in later years one way, or at least that is the way I remember it.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 10:41 AM

I can't remember a grocery store on the east side of the square, but I remember a grocery owned by the Taylor family but it was on the west side, across (north) from the Gunter Building. I definately remember when the traffic was two-way around the square.

David, thanks for posting these old pictures. When you started this, I bet you never had any idea how interesting the readers would find these.

-- Posted by cookie on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 11:00 AM

cookie, since you mentioned the Taylor grocery, I remember it well, and I am wondering if that is the same space that was once Grooms grocery on the West side of the square.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 12:26 PM

leeiii, I don't remember Grooms Grocery. Do you think that this was before Taylor's Grocery or after? I think Taylor's was late 40's or early 50's.

-- Posted by cookie on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 3:57 PM

cookie, I am not sure. I am just guessing that it was before. I know for sure that Taylors was there in the early '50s when I carried papers for the T-G because I used to go over there every now and then for a soft drink.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 4:18 PM

I wanted to weigh in on the "grocery stores on the square" discussion. I've been doing some research tonight--not finished yet, but here is what I've found

I don't find any grocery stores on the square after 1960. My next most recent phone book after that is 1953...and boy, did the square have some grocery stores then, and had for quite a few years.

In 1953 on the East Side there was Harry's Market at 124 (on the north side of the Parks Belk location). At the other end of the block on the East Side was Piggly Wiggly. It was at 100--on the corner. There are lots of photos and postcards where the P-W sign is readable. Taylor's Food Store was at 115 on the West Side. Then, there was Williams Northeast Corner Grocery (obviously on the NE corner at 200 N. Main)

In the 1952 City Directory, Harry's Market, Williams and Taylor's were there. However, there was no Piggly Wiggly, but instead at the 100 East Side was a Krogers.

Going back to the telephone directory of 1949, Piggly Wiggly was listed as was the other 3 previously mentioned.

Apparently, Krogers was on the square only a short time before moving elsewhere. My 1960 directory puts Krogers at 727 N. Main St.

In 1936 some early "players" are listed: A&P Tea Co. at 113 South Side of the square (about where Joe Katz was, next to the Bedford Theatre). M.P. Brothers at 106 on the East Side...where Corherns was later located. Then there was an H.G. Hills at 102 Depot, just 1 store removed from the square, next to the bank.

There was some mention of Grooms Food Store. It was at 105 West Side and R.A. Taylor & Son was at 201 West Side. Either there was some changing of numbers or Taylors moved a few doors away during the interim. I think this indicates that the Grooms store didn't just precede the Taylor's store.

The 1930 phone book had no yellow pages and didn't list many of the street addresses...especially those on the square.

I won't list them now unless someone wants me to, but in 1917 there were 6 grocery stores on the square.

As you can see, we've never lacked for places to buy food.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 7:36 PM

Kroger's was never at 727 N. Main St. That was site of Gowen Funeral Home until late 50's, when it moved to Union St. The old funeral home building was moved to Louisiana. The lot was then empty until the Dollar General was recently built. Kroger's was on North Main in the late 50's and 60's to the south of Renegar's Drug Store.

David, I am enjoying the picturing the past series. Thanks for continuing it!

-- Posted by dianainnc on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 8:23 PM

Kroger's was never at 727 N. Main St.

Posted by dianainnc on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 8:23 PM

Just a slip of the finger on the keyboard,I'm sure. But you are correct, Krogers was in the building at the corner of N. Main and N. Cannon Blvd., 627 N. Main.

In fact they were the first occupants of that building, as I recall. Mr. Ewing Thompson was a butcher at that store, and would be able to furnish detailed information, to those acquainted with him.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 9:11 PM

Regarding: Kroger's was never at 727 N. Main St. That was site of Gowen Funeral Home until late 50's, when it moved to Union St. The old funeral home building was moved to Louisiana. The lot was then empty until the Dollar General was recently built. Kroger's was on North Main in the late 50's and 60's to the south of Renegar's Drug Store.

dianainnc, you're obviously correct. I looked again at the 1960 phone book and it was just flat out wrong--both in the white pages and the yellow pages--listed at 727 N. Main. Renegar's Drug Store address was 629 N. Main when they moved from Madison St., so it was likely a missed proofreading error. Krogers was at 627. Thanks for straightening that out quickly.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 9:43 PM

marnold1118, Thanks for the research. However, I have a new question. How are businesses numbered on the square? For instance on the East Side of the square in 1953 it looks like they are numbered from right to left. On the West side in 1936 I get kind of a sense that they were numbered from left to right.

I remember very well when Harry Finney had Harry's Market on the square but I did not remember that being the name. We always called it Finney's. It also seems that I remember Williams Grocery. The name M.P. Brothers has a very familiar ring to it even though I can not get an image in my mind. It may have been gone by the time I was old enough to comprehend things.

Yes marnold1118 I think that does settle the possibility of Taylor and Grooms occupying the same space at different times.

It seems to me that I can remember Kroger being in that building at the corner of North Main and North Cannon Blvd.

dianainnc, You are very knowledgeable about the history of Gowen's Funeral Home. I get the feeling that you are or were very close to Glenn.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:51 AM

leeii, yes -- close -- I'm his older daughter! When I saw the 727 N. Main address in an earlier post, I knew it was etched in my brain. But I wasn't sure enough to post until I looked through some mementoes and quickly found an old cardboard hand-held fan with the address and telephone number 98-J. Those were the days when you talked to a live operator!

Back to grocery stores -- I'm pretty sure the store in the '52 photo was Krogers. I remember being there with my mother. Isaac Boucher was the manager of the North Main store and it seems that I remember him also at the East side of the square store. He and his family were later friends and neighbors of ours on Horseshoe Dr.

-- Posted by dianainnc on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 8:46 AM

Ahh, the old cardboard hand held fans. I remember them well. We went to a country church (North Fork Baptist) and played with those fans all during church. They are surely collectors items today.

Talking to a live operator. We usually knew her by name and recognized her voice and vice versa.

I remember Ewing Thompson from the Kroger store and the name Boucher also rings a bell.

ilikeoldsongs, Ewing Thompson is another name that we can add to those good old Gospel Quartet days.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:02 AM

ilikeoldsongs, Ewing Thompson is another name that we can add to those good old Gospel Quartet days.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:02 AM

Absolutely, and let's not forget how important the piano player was to the group. In the Hurricane Grove area we had our own "home grown" player in the person of Jeanette Patterson, Filey's wife. Now and then, we youngsters would coax her into playing a little "boogie woogie". Gosh, that lady could play!

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:36 AM

ilikeoldsongs, On the subject of piano players, I had mentioned Sara Sanders earlier. She was a very good piano player as well as her sister Mary Pickle. Maybe that is where Charlene got her talent from.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:44 AM

dianainnc, You mentioned the mementoes. Did you happen to run across the little cards where we folded our coins in to pay our funeral insurance? I can remember my Mother faithfully sending her coins in every month to pay her funeral insurance.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:32 AM

leeiii, I remember the coins, but not the little cards. My sister and I loved to watch the boys open the envelopes and stack the quarters in order to count them. I guess in those days the coins may have been dimes! Our family lived upstairs during my elementary school years, so I have lots of memories that were different from most kids.

-- Posted by dianainnc on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:12 AM

dianainnc, Yes I can imagine about your memories. Also, those were the days before we had EMT people and the Funeral Homes provided that service. In a way I guess that every Ambulance driver was an EMT of the day.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:20 AM

I've had an inquiry from the marketing director of the Antiques, Arts and Collectibles Mall asking for information about the history of their building.

It occupies the old Knox Pitts Hardware location on the south side of the Shelbyville square. For you guys who can access street numbers, it's listed today as 123 South Side Square but goes all the way down to North Spring Street.

I told the marketing director that I'd seen photos (circa 1950) of Ed Craig Furniture in part of what is now her building.

I told her to watch this blog. Fill in the blanks, y'all...

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:12 AM

The store in the photo is definitely Kroger. I remember shopping there with my Mother, and one of the cashiers was Maggie, who was a beautiful redhead with a ready smile, in her blue uniform. The Dixie Hotel was a landmark on the square Northside and across from the hotel was Williams' Grocery which was a small specialty grocery locally owned and expensive, so we only shopped there on special occasions. There were Brantley's Drugstore, Fly's Drugstore, and Caperton's. There was a Woolworth's, Dickerson's Studio in the Gunter Building, Knox Pitts Hardware, Bonnie's Flowers below Fly's Drugs, H&H, H J Thompson's, and Park-Belk's. Down Depot Street were Ruth's Jewelers, First National Bank, Peoples Bank, Hames-Daughtery, Castner-Knott's, much later Carolyn's opened in approx. 1955. The drugstores took turns opening on Sunday afternoon - only one was open on any given Sunday. And Mrs. Moody was the Librarian in the basement of the Courthouse, always neat with her hair in a bun.

-- Posted by mcmorris on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:15 AM

Correcting myself on the Antiques, Arts and Collectibles building ... it borders SOUTH Spring Street.

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:41 AM

leeiii: Regarding Harry's Market. There was both a Harry's Market (on the north side of Parks-Belk on the East Side of the square), and there was a Finney's Grocery on Depot St. adjacent, or almost adjacent, to Castner Knotts (the east side). I'm not sure about the ownership, but somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind I recall that they may have been brothers...anyone know?

david: Regarding 123 South Side square address...in 1952 Ed Craig Furniture was at 131 (the last address at the corner on that side of the square). McDonald Furniture Co. was at 123. In between those two furniture stores was Henning Jewelers and Hale's Shoe Store.

Going back a bit further to a 1939 map I have, it lists H.F. Hoover Furniture and Undertaker in 123/125 (this is the same Hoover that had a funeral home in Bell Buckle). There was a T-G story written several years ago by the late Brenda Blanton about Mr. Hoover and talks about both the Bell Buckle and Shelbyville locations. The '39 map lists Roy Haithcote Auto Repairs on the corner at 131. Before 1915 the Post Office was in that location.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:03 PM

Wow marnold1118 you are truly a fountain of information. I just knew that you would be. For me the words Finney and Brothers go together I just do not know why they fit in my mind.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:29 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the memories. I love this column. It blows through the windmill of my mind, dislodging the dust of history and stirring up thoughts of (for me) better times than we now live in.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 6:37 AM

I remember one of the shoe stores (?Hale's) having a machine you could place your feet in and see how the shoes fit next to the bones of your feet. It was an x-ray machine of some sort. They sold Buster Browns there.

Wasn't there a Khun's or Woolworth's where the Family Development Center is now. I remember going in there with my mother to buy embroidery thread and being fascinated with all of the little bins that contained a myriad of penny and nickle items. We also visited the little popcorn stand and bought malted milk balls that was just outside. I think that was in the mid-fifties.

I also remember how everyone would gather on the square on Christmas Eve and Santa would be walking around for the children. I have a picture of Santa holding me when I was around three years old. I identified him by the ring he wore and blew the magic for a few kids. He was a local barber and his name slips my memory now.

-- Posted by ridgeroamer on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 8:16 AM

ridgeroamer, Yes I remember Hales Shoes and I remember that he had Buster Brown and his little dog Tyge too. The X-Ray machine rings a bell but I just can not visualize it in my mind.

Yes, we did have a Kuhns but I do not remember a Woolworth five and dime except in Nashville. Where is the Family Development Center?

LOL. I can think of several barbers that would be able to play Santa (sans padding).

-- Posted by leeiii on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 9:42 AM

The "Family Development Center" (actually, to be official, the Center for Family Development) is in the former grocery store pictued at right above.

-- Posted by David Melson on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 1:55 PM

OK Thanks David.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 2:40 PM

It's great to read all this fascinating history regarding Shelbyville! Ya'll keep it up, I'm enjoying every blog. I'm sure most of you remember the elderly blind man that ran the snack stand in the courthouse for many years. If I recall correctly, his name was Bob Wilkes. It always amazed me that he could tell the difference in the denominations of various bills. I think he ran that stand until about the mid to late seventies.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 1:39 AM

Yes Tattoos & Scars I remember Bob Wilkes well, and like you it always fascinated me to watch him make change.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 11:55 AM


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