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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Picturing the Past 22: Across the bridge

Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009, at 7:43 AM

(Photo)
Cars cross the old Duck River bridge in downtown Shelbyville. (Photo submitted by Sheila Allen)
Several generations of Bedford Countians crossed the old Duck River bridge on Cannon Boulevard in downtown Shelbyville, which was torn down for today's Veterans Memorial Bridge in the 1980s.

Here's the old bridge in what appears to be the late 1930s or early 1940s, seen again thanks to a photo brought in by Sheila Allen last week.

This is well before my time, but I'm guesstimating this is looking toward the north and today's floodgate area at South Cannon Boulevard and West Holland Street. At far left is an Esso sign which may have been connected with the square building with a porch visible behind the cars. What looks like a house is behind the Esso sign.

A street goes to the right in front of the gas station; another house is on the left side of the street. On the right is a building with what looks like bars on a window.

Look closely at the billboard at right. Some of the words, "STYLE...get...FORD" are visible. If it could be determined when Ford did an advertising campaign using those words, then we'd be able to figure out approximately when this photo was made.

This photo was actually found discarded some years ago in Shelbyville's city dump. It looks like it was cut from a photographer's proof sheet.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.


Comments
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David...For some reason the "lattice work" railings along the side do not look familiar to me. Seems like the sides were of concrete construction??..Anyway, I can well remember the flooded Duck River coming to the very top of those side rails!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 8:11 AM

Thanks David for yet another great photo. It sure does stir up memories. I will have to look at it a little bit before I comment on it. At this moment I am staring at a little porcelain gold type plated dog that looks like it may have come from someones what-not. I found it on the floor of this bridge after the water had receeded from one of the floods. I can not be sure what the year was, but in my memory I am thinking 1949 or 1950. I do remember that very little of the bridge railing was still exposed at the peak of the flood.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 8:16 AM

The "lattice work" railings were on the bridge as late as the 1980s. The flood you may be thinking of, leeiii, was probably 1948, as I've seen photos from that year. We used to have an envelope of them at the T-G, which is among those apparently removed for repackaging; if they're eventually returned I'll post one or more of those photos.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 9:56 AM

I agree with the lattice work being there until the bridge was replaced. During the 70's the sidewalk was added and i believe with chain link fence for the safety feature on the side.

-- Posted by abner_t on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 10:06 AM

David, There are a few things that jump out at me. First of all I think that the location you have mentioned as the building with the Esso sign is I think the later location of the Texaco station that Otis and Clayton Arnold ran before moving a little further out Cannon Blvd. It is very well possible that their station was a little further up the street but I am not sure. I do not know if it was this same building or if this building had been demolished and a new one constructed. The street that runs up toward the square in front of the building is Bridge Street. I do not recognize the building with the Ford sign on it so I am not real sure if it was still there in the late '40s or not. I can not recognize either of the two other houses that you mention. I do notice the Duck River sign on the cross girder of the bridge. The place where I found the little dog figurine that I mentioned in an earlier post is about where the second car back on the left in the picture is sitting. I found it between the back fender and the bridge railing.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 10:07 AM

I too agree with the latice work always being there. steadyeddie, I am wondering if you might be remembering the concrete on the bridge on the old Tullahoma Highway.

David, you are probably right about it being the flood of 1948.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 10:11 AM

The building with the Ford sign on the back was a "Cut-Rate" gasoline station in the late 1950's...( Gasoline was 15.9 to 17.9 cents per gallon )...From 1957-1959 there was a vacant graveled lot across the street where we parked to carpool to Huntsville, AL....

-- Posted by FlaDon on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 2:13 PM

I keep trying to recall what the landscape looked like at the other end of this old bridge. I do remember going skating on Saturdays in the very early 50's (or late 40's)....we would walk from the Square to the bottom of Bridge Street, then walk over the bridge, but I can't remember how much farther it was to the rink. Seems like it was fairly short distance on the left. In fact, I can almost hear Jimmie Richardson playing that organ right now!..Great memories!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 7:56 PM

David, I believe I misstated in my last post....The Gasoline Station I mentioned was a then modern metal building with a lot of glass in the front and was located at or about the site of the building with the Ford sign...

-- Posted by FlaDon on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 8:34 PM

steadyeddie, The skating rink was about 100 or so yards on the left from the end of the bridge. On the right side it was almost the same distance to some business places. ilikeoldsongs had mentioned in another post that he remembered a car lot being on the right for a brief period of time. Since you left in the mid '50s it is hard for me to remember exactly what things looked like there at that time.

FlaDon you kind of threw me with the statement about the cut-rate gas station, and as a matter of fact even with the metal building with a lot of glass I am still having a hard time visualizing it. Maybe someone else will add some comment that will trigger my memory of what was there.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 9:08 PM

I believe the cut-rate gasoline station was a Consumers station. A man named Beck was the operator and he also sold gallons of delicious Brunswick dtew his wife prepared for him.

-- Posted by bomelson on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 10:31 PM

Although I'm not 100% sure, I believe that, at least in the mid to late 60's, the first gas station on the right after you crossed the bridge going south was a Sinclair station. I was only a little guy back then, but I believe the logo of that company was a green dinosaur. They'd give one away with a tank of gas. I hope I'm right, or my memory aint as sharp as I think it is.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 1:09 AM

Bo, I am sorry, but I still have a mental block on that one. I guess my oldtimers is flaring up again. I will continue to try and visualize it.

Tattoos & Scars, As I mentioned above it seems like I am afflicted today with memory lock. I remember the station you are talking about, and I remember that his first name was Bill but I am having a hard time coming up with his last name.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 6:59 AM

It just came to me. It was Bill Towery that had the Sinclair station.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 7:18 AM

While we're across the river, there are a few places that I don't recall us talking much, if any about.

Such as Blanton's Garage, (do I remember a dog lying around there, or am I thinking of another garage?)

Riverview Market has not got a lot of ink, nor has Magnolia Motel.

In the back of my mind it seems I remember a plumber named Tommy Lawell living, I believe, the next house past the Motel. Then again, given the state of disrepair of my mind, I could be confusing that name with Hubert Lawell who lived across town.

Of course Landers has been out that way since about three days shy of forever.

Back to the town side of the motel, the Mallard's, along with Tren Payne, operated a grocery store for a few years. The Mallards had previously opened and operated a grocery on Deery St. at what is now a pawn shop, operated by Don Edwards.

Ronnie Reed operated a Quick Mart type market on the other side of Cannon, probably in the late 60's, then later he left there and opened a liquor store closer to town on the right going out. Then he got into making folks rich with Edward Jones.

Well, that's all I've got right now across the river, may go to "where was it" after while and see what I can throw out along Madison St. that has not been discussed yet.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 1:24 PM

ilikeoldsongs, I think that I remember all of them except that I am having a hard time pulling up Tommy Lawwell.

Let's not forget that Milton Clanton had a barber shop in the same building that Lee Blanton had his garage. I can almost visualize Lee with his striped railroad cap and cigar sticking out of the side of his mouth.

Yes, Landers Quality Recappers has been there a long time. As a matter of fact the present location is where they moved when they left Bridge Street. Elbert and Gilbert ran this business in the beginning while each of them also operated a service station. Their Dad, Leslie, also worked there for a time as bookkeeper. Their brother Burtis also worked for them at one time. I believe that he was also a bookkeeper.

Ah yes, the little store on Deery Street. We could almost do a book about the people who have run that store including Tren Payne, and the Mallards.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 2:02 PM

ilikeoldsongs, We were just talking about Racehorse the other day. I noticed his obit in the paper.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 2:16 PM

Yeah, leeiii, I really hated to hear about Racehorse, always thought the world of him. Some of my friends and I used to hang around the police station, and shoot the breeze with Joe Wheeler, and the patrolmen when they would drop in off thier rounds. Wayne was always as friendly as a dog in a meat house, and Raymond Arnold was a neighbor in whose yard I've played a lot of football, so I had a good relationship, all in all with the police dept. Raymond did tell me, some years after the fact so to speak, that they could have nabbed me and my friends a dozen times if they had wanted to, and I don't doubt it for a minute. But like he said, there's no crime in being young.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 2:55 PM

And speaking of barber shops, I can remember a shop being at Camp White, before it gave up the ghost to progress, I guess, but can't remember who the barber was at that location, around the late 50's early 60's.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 3:05 PM

Whew, it is good to hear that, else my record would be as long as my leg. Roy Fann was always one of my favorites as well.

Do you remember when Joe ran the little store there by the Halls Mill ball field? He had war souvineers all around the walls. I thought for a long time that he lost his hand in the war.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 3:06 PM

It seems to me that I can remember that barber shop as well, but like you I can not remember who the barber was.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 3:08 PM

Yeah, Roy Fann was a good fella, as was Chief Wheeler. But no, I didn't have any contact with Joe except at the police station.

And I shouldn't tell this on myself, but I'm going to anyway.

One night near Haloween, a friend and I happened upon of the biggest 'possums I ever saw. My friend suggested that we catch him and take him up to city hall and turn him loose inside. We got him to sull pretty easily, and headed for town. Just happened that all the patrolmen were out on patrol when we arrived, so we eased the door open real careful like without making any noise to speak of, and released the 'possum. We never heard one word about that possum being discovered, and we sure didn't ask.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 3:23 PM

Why ilikeoldsongs, I would have never believed it. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on that one.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 3:50 PM

ilikeoldsongs, Speaking of possums, did you ever hear Justin Wilson tell the story about the little boy who found a baby out in the woods in a hollow log?

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 4:13 PM

"I wonder what the statute of limitations is on that one."

You know it was mostly my friend's fault, and that's easily discerned from the fact that my friend was kin to marnold1118. There you are!

"did you ever hear Justin Wilson "

No, But I can imagine that it would be hilarious, coming from Justin.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 4:38 PM

If everyone will bear with me a little bit-----"A little boy came home from school one day and ran into the house to see his Mother with a newborn baby. He asked "Momma, where you get that baby", and she said "out in the woods". The little boy said "I wonder if I could find me a baby out in the woods" and ran out the door. He searched and searched but could not find a baby. Just as he was about to give up he decided he would look in one more place-----a hollow log. There in that hollow log was a possum. As soon as the boy tried to get the possum out of the hollow log the possum sulled. The little boy picked that possum us and started running to the house with a sing song to his voice he said, "Oh my beautiful baby, you are a cute little baby, nobody got a baby as cute as mine, oh you cute little thing, they are going to be jealous of me because I have got the cutest baby of all". About that time the possum came out of his sull and latched on to the boy's chest, but the little boy kept running and bragging on his baby except now he was saying "Ow oooh oooh oh ow, you cute little thing ooh oh ow ow, nobody's baby is cute as mine". Pretty soon he ran up on a man in the woods. The man said "Hey boy, what you got there?", and the little boy said "Ow ow, got a baby, ooh oh, found him, oh ow ooh, in a hollow log, ow ow, out there in the woods". The man said "What you going to do with him?, and the little boy said "I am going to wean him if he ever turns loose."

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 5:04 PM

"ilikeoldsongs, I think that I remember all of them except that I am having a hard time pulling up Tommy Lawwell."

I can understand that, leeiii, because I just remembered the name I was thinking about is Raymond Lawell, not Tommy.

And now that I've got that in my mind, I'm wondering if he lived at this location, or have I got some other person mixed up with him.

As one can plainly see from all the confusion here, I would never have the mental capability to pull off a complicated 'possum caper on my own, and thus the blame for such atrocious behavior must be laid else where.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 5:09 PM

LOL, leeiii, that's a good'un.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 5:12 PM

ilikeoldsongs, I think that you are right. I think that Raymond lived in that area, but I am not sure which house it was

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Aug 19, 2009, at 5:14 PM

Raymond Lawell did live in the house on the south side of the Magnolia.

God rest Racehorse. And bless all the officers that worked with him during the seventies and my time of hitting the streets, he, along with Chief Swing, Mike Rogers, and Jan Phillips, just to mention a few, had their hands full.

Don' forget Sonny Grooms and his James G shoppe in the building across from the Lawells in the same building that had a pantry grocery store in it. Can you recall Poor Ole Charlies and the liquor store that were in the converted service station at the traffic light at Lewis and Cannon? And I worked for Leonard Mallard on Deery Street at Mallards Market now that was great fun.

-- Posted by abner_t on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 8:07 AM

Thanks abner_t for the confirmation on Lawell's location, but you got me got me scratching my head on Poor Ole Charlie's and the liquor store. I haven't been through that area very much in the past 30 years or so, except maybe when I go to Lewisburg or Columbia. I need to pay more attention to my surroundings.

I can imagine that working for, or with Leonard would be a hoot, he's a pistol.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 12:22 PM

David, I've put in some serious time and effort trying to track down the Ford slogan on the billboard above, with no positive result. I think we're going to have to resort to a CSI type blowup of the license plate on the front car. That should give us the info we're looking for. Do you have that equipment available there at your lab?

If not, the next best option might be to use your considerable knowledge of older cars to try to identify the year model of the second car on the left, as it appears to me to be the newest of those pictured, maybe as new as a 1941 model, possibly a Plymouth. Based only on size and placement of headlights, and curvature of windshield. Sure could use a side view.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 12:49 PM

ilikeoldsongs, I'll blow up the plate in the next day or so and see if anything's visible. The original photo is small, so this may not work.

As far as older cars, my knowledge is limited on pre-war vehicles except by Googling model years and looking at the photos. Those older cars didn't change much from year to year -- just as today's models stay much the same for several years.

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 1:41 PM

I tried to make the license plate larger in Photoshop software and it only blurred.

Two thoughts, though: Ford wouldn't be advertising new cars on billboards during World War II. And note that the license plate on the car in front is cut in the shape of Tennessee with black (I guess...) letters on a white background.

I was e-mailed a photo this week from the early 1940s (you'll see it next Tuesday) and a similar license plate can be seen.

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 3:17 PM

David, I just now did a search among license plate collectors and I discovered plates from 1936 on into the '50s that were shaped in the form of our state. The colors in this picture could have been black letters on a white background, or black letters on a silver background, or blue letters on either background. In my search I was not able to find anything difinitive except that the county (first two numbers) apparently started about 1939. On the 1936 plate it has 3 numbers and 3 more numbers.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 3:50 PM

"Two thoughts, though: Ford wouldn't be advertising new cars on billboards during World War II. And note that the license plate on the car in front is cut in the shape of Tennessee with black (I guess...) letters on a white background."

Regarding thought #1: Notice two things about that billboard message. First, it is not extolling the virtues of a specific Ford model. It is not offering anything for sale. Second, notice how "vanilla" the message itself is. To me it seems to just be an attempt to keep the Ford name in the public's mind, without sticking thier thumbs in thier suspenders and saying, "look at me,I'm Ford", which to my way of thinking would be in keeping with a patriotic stance toward the war effort.

As to the shape of the license plate and it's bearing on the year of its production, I got all excited about that yesterday, but got shot down rather quickly. There seems to be hundreds of different plates listed on collectible sites, and the shape goes back and forth like a yo-yo. Some rectangular, some rectangular with the outline drawn on the plate, and of course some cut in the shape of the state. For instance, I recall that the 1939 plate was an outline plate with red numbers on a white background, while the 1952 was an outline, with black numbers on a white background. However, several years between those dates were plain rectangular plates with no outline at all.

It's a conspiracy, David. The republicans and Democrats don't want the little people to learn the truth about this photograph, because they fear that we will declare victory, and leave them out in the cold. So they have used the full power of the federal government to scramble all the sites that contain the information we need to solve this problem, and redirect us to useless sites of misdirection. I'm going to think on this tonight, and if I can come up with a solution I'll use my Dick Tracy Decoder wtistwatch to contact you and give you the details.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 4:21 PM

leeiii, you mentioned the county numbers above, and that is an interesting piece of trivia that I'll bet not a lot of the local population these days is aware of.

County numbers were assigned based on population, back in the day, and in 1950, for instance, Bedford county's license plates began with 42-. IIRC Coffee county was 41 and Rutherford was 9. I believe Maury was 14, and as would be expected, Moore county brought up the rear at 95.

Before that practice of numbering went away, Bedford had moved up to 25, and coffee had passed us at 24.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 8:09 AM

Based only on size and placement of headlights, and curvature of windshield. Sure could use a side view.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 12:49 PM

David, I didn't quite get all my thoughts about the headlights above out of my head and onto the screen. These appear to me, based on thier somewhat smaller size, to be sealed beam headlights, which were not found on cars until 1940.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 8:24 AM

ilikeoldsongs, In the mid-'50s when you got your drivers license or had it renewed from the clerk's office, they put it in a little envelope that had all of the county two number designations on the back. They would be a real collectors item today I am guessing.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 8:52 AM

About those license plate prefixes, next week's photo is from the early 1940s and shows two cars with 25- prefixes. My first car in the 1970s had a 42- prefix. I think we fell from 25 to 42.

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 9:17 AM

David, I agree with you on this one. From my earliest days I remember Bedford County as being 25, and Coffee County being 41. I am not sure what year it was changed but after the change Bedford County became 42, and Coffee County became 24. Also Davidson County had been 2, and Shelby County had been 1. After the change Davidson County became 1, and Shelby County became 2. Sorry about that ilikeoldsongs. I have found that I hardly ever disagree with you, but I am going to have to go with David this time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 9:39 AM

"I think we fell from 25 to 42."

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 9:17 AM

David, you're right, thanks for brushing back the cobwebs on that one.

leeiii, don't hesitate to disagree when I'm wrong, I'm not here because I have all the facts, but rather because I'm looking for 'em, and appreciate each one I find.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 9:55 AM

Looks like I have done it again. I misrepresented Davidson County as being 2 and Shelby County as being 1 in the earlier days. Actually just the opposite is true. Sorry about that.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 10:56 AM

Somewhere between the 25 and 42 prefix the prefix was, to my recollection for Bedford County, EL- or EK-. Anyone remember those? Poor Ole Charlies was on the river side of Cannon Blvd almost straight in line with Lewisburg Hwy. I think it was built as a Shell Station.

-- Posted by abner_t on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 12:37 PM

I got an e-mail from leeiii containing a link to The Tag Monkey, who collects Tennessee license plates. He has a color photo on his site showing Tennessee plates year-to-year from 1940 through many later years. Plates changed each year during the 1940s; light-colored years were 1942, 1945 and 1946.

I can blow up the photo a little, not much, and it appears the license numbers are some distance from the edge of the plate, as in the early 1940s, while by the mid '40s the letters were closer to the edge. Put it all together and it appears this photo may have been taken in 1942.

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 1:13 PM

abner_t, Yes, I remember those plates, but I can not tell you what year, or years it was. I do remember that I did not like them because you could not tell what county they were from. If memory serves me correctly, that was before the little hardly visable strip of reflective tape spelling out the county at the bottom of the plate was put into use.

Yes, Poor Ole Charlies must have been in the building that was formerly Elbert Landers Shell station.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 1:51 PM

Can you recall Poor Ole Charlies...

Posted by abner_t on Thu, Aug 20, 2009, at 8:07 AM

abner_t, it seems like in the deep recesses of my mind there is a memory of a liquor store at this location trying to emerge, but I still can't say so for an absolute certainty. And I'm sorry, but Poor Ole Charlie still doesn't ring a bell.

I do seem to have a memory of a gun store in at least part of that location at one time, but can't remember the name of it. That wouldn't be the Poor Ole Charlie we're talking about, would it?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 6:39 PM

ilikeoldsongs

No Poor Ole Charlies was a small convience store that was in the office of the station and the liquor store in the service bays. In the past year or two there has been a gun shop in the building along with a hair styling salon that has been in operation for several years now.

Ya gotta love streching the memory.

-- Posted by abner_t on Fri, Aug 21, 2009, at 7:36 PM


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