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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Picturing the Past 27: A look at Kuhn's

Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009, at 7:19 AM

(Photo)
Kuhn's 5-10-25 cent store, on the Shelbyville square in 1963. (T-G file photo)
Here's a photo of Kuhn's 5-10-25 cent store on the south side of the Shelbyville square, from March 18, 1963.

Farrar's Hoisery appears just to the right of Kuhn's.

This photo clears up some confusion for me, as I'd been thinking Kuhn's was in the middle of the square's east side when I was a young boy in the late 1960s. Now I'm thinking that store may have been Cohern's.

I'm pretty sure this is what's numbered today as 111 and 113 South Side Square (Security Finance-111 and Hitchcock Insurance-113), based on the facts the frame of the window above the Kuhn's sign can barely be seen today (it's been filled in) and the upper windows next door have the same framing.

Actually, only the facade remains -- the rest of the building was gutted by fire in, I think, 1999. (That was one of my biggest "missed photo" opportunities -- occupants of a clothing store were tossing clothing out the door as flames erupted around an inside sign reading, of all things, "We're having a fire sale!" Then my camera's flash unit failed...)

The 1960s were the last days of the dime stores before Walmart-type centers took over. In fact, Kuhn's parent company operated Big K stores, which were eventually purchased by Walmart. Shelbyvilles' Big K opened in 1965.

Ben Franklin joined Kuhn's and Cohern's, which I think was locally-owned, on the square. The Ben Franklin store moved at some point into the location occupied by Kroger in the early 1950s on the corner of the east side square and Depot Street.

Ben Franklin was in that corner building by 1959, going by a photo I'll be posting eventually, and still there by 1963 since part of their sign can be seen in this picture. I remember Ben Franklin still there as late as the late 1960s and possibly early 1970s.

If you can get this photo large enough in your web browser, look closely at the reflections on Kuhn's and Farrar's front windows. They're confusing but interesting.

You'll see the courthouse reflecting on the left side windows, part of the Ben Franklin sign on the east side square in one pane, and backwards images of the Masonic Lodge building and Caperton's Drug Store and Dickerson Studios signs on the ground floor of the Gunter Building, on the west side.

Another thought: The Kuhn's sign and roof over its entrance sort of resembles what could have been part of a movie marquee sign. Was this the old Bedford Theater location?

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog.


Comments
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corhern's 5 and dime.. i was born in 1952 and my father, sarles corhern moved the family to shelbyville in 1953 or 1954 to run a second 5 and dime store for my uncle tom corhern. it was located on the corner on the same side of the square as the original corhern's 5 and dime store.. mother and i visited your town a couple of years ago and she said dad's store was on the corner in the same block as uncle tom's store.. we left shelbyville and moved to cleveland, tn. around 1955 to open up a western auto store.

-- Posted by corhern on Mon, Dec 21, 2009, at 1:07 PM

steadyeddie, My Mom almost turned me against scrambled eggs by mixing brains in with them and trying to tell me it was just scrambled eggs, and that reminds me that she almost turned me against orange juice by making me take castor oil and washing it down with orange juice.

I think that I will pass on the breakfast. Why don't you just have a couple of beignets with your chicory in my honor.

Justin Wilson used to say that to sop you had to motion it around a little bit.

Catheads tend to crumble (especially in good sorghum molasses) so it is a little more work to sop with a cathead.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 6:57 PM

ilikeoldsongs....when I'm back in Tennessee I pick up a couple of jars of "Moonlite Sorghum Molasses" from somewhere in Kentucky....and bring them home....and eat very slowly to make them last util my next trip. Mix the 'lasses with butter in your plate, then spread on your cathead. It will make you slap your grandmaw!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 6:03 PM

leeiii....I believe you "sop" when all that good stuff is running across your plate....and you "dunk" when you stop at the donut shop to chat with your cop friends. Am I anywhere close?

P.S. How easy is it to sop with one of your catheads?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 5:56 PM

Hey Guys....could we get together tomorrow morning for a mess of Brains and Eggs with a good strong cup of chicory coffee?...I'm buying!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 5:48 PM

If ya'll will excuse me I think I will go make me some cathead biscuits now.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 5:13 PM

Then add a bucket of sorghum molasses that's so thick you have to wind it on a fork to get it out of the bucket, and bubba, it's Magnolia and Azalea blooming time in Dixie.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 4:38 PM

Amen. Pass the biscuits please and I will show you the difference between sop and dunk.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 4:09 PM

By cracky...y'all are food experts!..Down here in the Bayou everybody goes for "hogshead cheese". To me, it's about the same as "souse" in Tennessee....leeiii, I've never had that "livermush", but I have had "scrapple" in New Jersey...Just give me some Tennessee country ham with red-eye gravy and a side of grits...and I'm in hog heaven!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 2:52 PM

We lived in North Carolina for a period of time. Souse was as scarce as hen's teeth over there, but a big item for breakfast food was livermush.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 6:56 AM

steadyeddie, salt rising bread, and souse with a good dash of vinegar, was a big part of my early years food adventures.

And in case you enjoy a mess of frog legs now and then, let me ask you this: Did you know that there is a strip of meat on a bullfrog's back that tastes an awful lot like chicken? My mother-in-law was the only person I ever knew that removed this strip of meat and cooked it along with the legs. Tasty.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 9:50 PM

ilikeoldsongs....you made me hungry talking about those catfish steaks....and fresh balogna by the slice...by any chance, are you old enough to remember eating salt rising bread? Man, that stinking bread was wonderful....and it's now very hard to find.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 9:00 PM

Thanks, bomelson....for confirming my thoughts about the old A & P store on the square. Now I do recall Mr. Mitwede being in that store. The Midwedes were a super family...good food stores, good in sports.....and I reckon Mrs. Mitwede must have taught every little girl in town how to dance....Good memories.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 3:55 PM

"Please get me a can of beans and a loaf of bread."

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 8:34 PM

How times do change, and the food industry is no exception, and in fact is probably one of the frontrunners.

I remember once, about 1951, we had been to Mt. Pleasant to visit my older sister, and stopped by our old neighborhood grocery store to say hi.(Folks used to do that). Well, one of our former neighbors had caught a big old catfish down at Pickwick, and they had it iced down in a wash tub, and were selling boneless steaks from it. Some of the best eatin' I can remember.

Another time, during winter, I saw a half dozen rabbits hanging on a store porch in Columbia for sale.

Bologna used to come in long, round sticks which were sliced to order, while most other meat types were square. All of it was handled by hand, and no one gave that a thought, at least I didn't.

Candy and cookies were kept in jars on the counter, help yourself in most cases. But somehow we survived all that, and finally got to the point where the federal government was able to look after us, and protect us from ourselves.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 8:47 AM

steadyeddie, I talked with a person recently who verified A&P was on the south side of the square. The manager of that store was William Mittwede, who later opened his own market on the corner of Depot and Thompson streets. This information came from Mr. Mittwede's son.

-- Posted by bomelson on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 8:31 AM

David, since I was the one who originally asked the question regarding the closing date of the theater, just want to say "Thank You" for the extra time you took for research.

-- Posted by reilly on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 7:16 AM

marnold1118, I too want to echo my thanks for the research on the five and dimes. They were the stores that when I walked down the sidewalk with my Grandmother, she said that I would get on the street side of her and gently (or maybe not so gently) direct her into the five and dime store. Oh yes, I will always remember the little dump trucks that I could buy for a nickel.

marnold1118, You said that you were saving all the blogs. I get a distinct impression that there are many stories in there that need to be written. I can still see Harvie Brown coming down Belmont with his Grandchildren and his brown bag lunch.

Ah yes, the Rams from the early '50s with the crazy Ram's horns on the helmets that they still use today in a different color scheme.

LOL ilikeoldsongs, Yes on the hurry up thing because life is fleeting.

steadyeddie, Yes or maybe a slab of baloney with a quarter pound box of crackers and a big ole belly warsher.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 9:01 PM

Thanks, marnold1118....for finally answering everybody's Five & Dime questions. That's a lot of research!....Now I have one inquiry regarding the South Side of the Square. Was there once upon a time an A & P Grocery Store ..not far from the Bedford location. This was BEFORE super markets. I do remember the other Square groceries being the Piggly/Kroger and Taylor's Food Store at the corner of Bridge Street. It's hard to imagine walking into one of those old stores and asking the clerk to "Please get me a can of beans and a loaf of bread."

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 8:34 PM

...Maybe I should write that story!

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:23 PM

Maybe you should put me on the list to be one of the first readers, and maybe you should kinda hurry up, cause I'm not going to be around forever.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:45 PM

"Crazy Legs."

Thanks David for mentioning that movie. Brought back a lot of memories from my early, sports crazed days. Had not thought of Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch in at least 40 years, I guess. That L.A. Rams team of the early 50's was quite a collection, including Tom Fears, "Tank" younger, Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield, who was the husband of Jane Russell, of "Outlaw" fame.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:37 PM

Thanks David for the answer to the Bedford Theatre. That's a tidbit of information that we need to file away and remember.

Your brief synopsis of the history of the T-G stirs some memories of long ago. I've contemplated writing a story, blog or something on "kinda how it used to be".

I'm talking about Lawson Gregory, Paschal Horsley, and others setting type on Linotype machines. Harvie Brown using wood type to set ads and headlines, Walter Jackson melting used metal type to reform "pigs" to provide "new" metal for the Linotypes. During those days of moveable type you had to read it "upside down and backwards" to make corrections...a learned skill I still pride myself in being able to do.

I'm not sure that the old flatbed press we had didn't predate Noah. It was Franklin Yates' pride and joy and he enjoyed showing it off. I remember when a very young country music star, Brenda Lee, visited one day and had her picture made in front of the press. I think I still have a copy of that photo somewhere.

...Maybe I should write that story!

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:23 PM

A little research on the Five & Dime stores.

The oldest one I found was "Freeman & McAlexander" which was listed in the 1936 city directory and was located in 100-102 on the east side (at the corner) of the square. This is where Kroger, Piggly-Wiggly were later to locate and where Ben Franklin was at least from 1960 through 1966.

Also in 1936, Kuhn's was at 106 Depot St. (next door to what later became Castner Knott). Wright's was at 112 N. Main (on the east side of the square adjacent to Brantley's Drug Store).

By 1949, Ben Franklin was still on the corner and Corhern's had opened at 106 on the east side of the square. For some reason Kuhn's was not listed in the '49 phone book but did reappear in 1952 at the 106 Depot St. address.

By 1952, in addition to Kuhn's and Corhern's at their same locations, we can add Eagle Store at 112-114 east side of the square. (Note, Pope's Cafe was at 120). Ben Franklin first came on the scene at 200 Depot St. (across from the Princess Theatre). 1953 is my latest phone book and all 4 stores were at their same places.

Jumping to 1960, Ben Franklin shows up at 100 east side of square--on the corner. Kuhn's has moved to 113 south side of the square from Depot St. (located between Joe Katz and Robinson-McGill). By 1960 the Eagle Store is not listed.

The '62, '63 & '64 phone directories show no changes for Ben Franklin, Corhern's and Kuhn's. In 1965, Eagle Store is listed again on the east side of the square, but no number is given.

In 1968 Corhern's and Ben Franklin merge to become Corhern's Ben Franklin and is located at 112 east side of the square...only a slight move for Corhern's. With those two stores becoming one, then Wright's reappears at 100 east side, in the old Ben Franklin location on the corner.

In 1975, U.S. 5 & 10 has taken over the Corhern's Ben Franklin location, and Wright's is still on the corner, but by 1977 only U.S. 5 & 10 remains and apparently was the last of the Five and Dime stores in Shelbyville.

All the above info from phone books and city directories.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:07 PM

steadyeddie (and all others), here's the short version of how the T-G became the T-G. I've seen copies of these newspapers and, though it was quite a few years before I was born, someone who's been in the business as long as me can view the competition with some insight.

The Bedford County Times and Shelbyville Gazette merged on Feb. 2, 1948 after a newspaper "war" of sorts.

The Gazette, a weekly for most of its history, went twice-weekly in summer 1946 and to a tabloid morning daily in November 1947. The Times, also a weekly (except twice-weekly from 1935-41), became a tri-weekly the same week.

I've heard over the years that the Gazette was about to go under before the merger, in which ownership was combined with Franklin Yates of the Times as publisher and Bill Surber of the Gazette as editor.

Since there's so much interest in street locations on this blog, the Times was in the ground floor of the Gunter Building (the Times-Gazette's home until 1957) and the Gazette had been on Holland Street in the building now housing an auction company which was the home of Martin & Price Hardware in the 1960s and 1970s.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 4:10 PM

steadyeddie,

Shelbyville Times-Gazette. F 2 1948- d.

Supersedes Shelbyville Gazette, and Bedford County Times

Apparently those two merged February, 1948.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 2:44 PM

David...thanks for taking your lunch hour to check those old T-G's. Now that we've got the Bedford put to bed....I started thinking about those old newspapers...and how the T-G came about. I'm kinda thinking it was a merger of the Bedford County Times and the Shelbyville Gazette. Is that the way it happened?...and, if so, about what year was that?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 1:57 PM

Okay, gang, I had some free time over lunch and checked through old Times-Gazettes to track down the Bedford Theater's demise. The 1950s T-Gs published generally only 6-8 pages per day, and one ad each Friday listed all theaters' movies, so I could skim through quickly.

Apparently the Bedford's last day was Saturday, July 30, 1955, the last movies being a double feature: "Corpus Christi" and "Crazy Legs."

The ad in the July 29 T-G said the theater would close "temporarily." I looked on into 1956 and found no further mention.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 1:46 PM

There was a balcony (very small) at the Bedford. My uncle took me and my cousin to see Abbott and Costello meet the wolfman and we sat up there. Ahhh, the memories come flooding back.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 12:46 PM

leeiii....yep, I remember Joe Bailey. Then his son, Joe Jr., was our physics teacher at CHS.(But he never gave us any passes to the Bedford.)

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 12:29 PM

steadyeddie, I do not remember a balcony at the Bedford, but that is not to say that there was not one, just that I do not remember one.

You mentioned Mr. Lucas. The person that I most closely relate to the Bedford is Joe Bailey.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 11:51 AM

Question....Did the Bedford have a balcony? I do remember the balcony at the Princess...but can't quite recall the configuration of the Bedford. Seems like the lobby was very small where Mr. Lucas took your ticket....and sold you a nickel bag of popcorn.(Popcorn at the movies is a tad more expensive now.)

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 10:50 AM

Thanks for the info, ilikeoldsongs. Unfortunately, my memory is not that good. I thought it was the first Elvis Presley movie, but have decided that probably was not the case since it wasn't released until 1956.

-- Posted by reilly on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 10:00 AM

Of course if it was an older movie......

Which most of them were at the Bedford.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 8:13 AM

reilly,

If you remember the name of the movie you saw you can go to The Internet Movie Database and get all kinds of information about it, including the year of release. This could help not only you, but the rest of us as well, in our search for that closing date. Of course if it was an older movie......

www.imdb.com

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:52 AM

Thanks, steadyeddie, for the 1954 date regarding Bedford Theater. I lived in a neighboring town, was in the 6th or 7th grade, and could remember attending a movie in or around 1954 or 55 at that theater. Looks like my memory may still be better than my husband's.

-- Posted by reilly on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:34 AM

I have a picture of me and my Mother that was made sometime around '44. I am holding a book of Tatoos in my hand that I am sure was probably bought at one of the dime stores.

steadyeddie, in some way Ben Franklin's across from the Princess sounds familiar to me but I am having trouble getting a visual.

I have Cohern's pictured further down the street on the East Side of the square closer to Brantley's and I remember that they had a downstairs maybe for toys and model planes.

While we are talking about it, it seems to me that stores in that time frame of '40s, '50s, and '60s changed locations fairly regularly. They must have been jockeying for what they determined were better locations.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 7:32 AM

Hey Old Timers....While we are talking about the old Dime stores in Shelbyville....wasn't the original Ben Franklin's on Depot, kinda across from the Princess....Kuhn's was on Depot near People's Bank...Wright's was on West Side Square near Brantley's Drugs....and when Cohern's came to town.....I can't remember if it replaced Ben Franklin's or if it opened on the corner of the square where Kroger's was. Do I have my Dime store remembrances about right?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 10:51 PM

leeiii, I remember the lunch counter at the right rear of Kuhn's on Depot Street...The photo booth I mentioned was to the left of the front doors..I bought "Tatoos", "Funny Books" and Model Airplanes there...I have duplicated copies of my first comic and model plane from there...Castner's may have moved in there since it was a large store...

-- Posted by FlaDon on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 10:11 PM

Oh yes, leeiii.....Kuhn's on Depot definitely had a long, long lunch counter on the right side with about four times as many stools as we had at Caperton's. Meat entrees were 30 cents each and vegetables were a dime.....And I've got hundreds of pictures made in that curtained "Camera Booth". Some of them were actually tinted. These memories are strong since my Mom worked there when I was a tyke....Seems like it was very close to Castner's...but Kuhn's had been there long before Castner's came to town...I lived there until 1954 and I thought the Bedford was still there at the time...maybe not.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 10:01 PM

Thanks for bringing that out Wilderness 68. I have been thinking all day about Kuhn's being on Depot Street but I was not sure enough of myself to say so. Was it in the area where Castner-Knott was at one time? Also, did they have a lunch counter in that location or am I dreaming again?

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 7:57 PM

When Kuhn's was on Depot Street they had the first Curtained "Camera Booth" I ever saw...I still have one of the pictures...

-- Posted by FlaDon on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 7:03 PM

I found my million-dollar- baby in this 5&10 cent store.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 5:50 PM

Was it a lucky April shower, or just the most convenient door?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 7:02 PM

Kuhn's was first on the south side of Depot st. next to Peoples Bank. Mr Parker was president of the bank and Billy Don Jones was manager of Kuhn's 5and 10. I think it was there till it moved to Bedford theater location. I found my million-dollar- baby in this 5&10 cent store.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 5:50 PM

Tyger, I just now Googled Kuhn's-Big K on the internet. Wikpedia says that Kuhn's-Big K sold out to WalMart in 1981, but kept headquarters in Nashville.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 4:32 PM

Tyger, I am not really sure about the ownership of Big K, but the distribution center on Sidco Drive in Nashville in the '60s had the emblems of both Big K and Kuhn's Bros. on the building.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 3:43 PM

I'm confused about something; maybe someone can straigthen me out:

I thought that Big K was S.S. Kresge'a discount stores and became KMart?

-- Posted by Tyger on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 3:35 PM

jp1946, Eagles was actually on the East Side of the square in the space that was previously occupied by Wright's five and dime. And yes that is the same side Parks-Belk was on.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 11:42 AM

Nice picture; sure brings back memories. Anyone remember where the Eagles ten cent store was? Was it on the west side of the square, the same side as Parks Belk? I don't remember the Bedford Theatre, but I sure remembe the Princess. Spent many afternoons there, enjoying the matinee shows. I believe it cost .25 for a movie then.

-- Posted by jp1946 on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 11:37 AM

David, yes I am almost sure that the location shown was in the old Bedford Theater location. However, I can not remember going into Kuhn's at this location. I guess that I had gotten to old to look at the toys anymore.

Yes, I remember Kuhn's being on the East Side of the square, and I am thinking it was the same place that later became Cohern's.

Reilly, I can not give you a date on the closing of the Bedford Theater. My Dad bought a car in 1950 and I can not remember going to the Bedford Theater after that. The major dates I remember going there would be late '43 and early '44 before my Dad went to war, and then again in '46 through '49 after he came home. It seems to me that in the early '50s I always went to the Princess, maybe because the Bedford was closed, or maybe to meet my little girlfriends there.

This one should get the memory juices flowing freely.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 11:23 AM

reilly,

I haven't seen a definitive date yet for the actual closing of the Bedford Theater, just generalities such as "early fifties". One article in a 1988 publication by the T-G suggests that it was closed in either 1952 or 1953, but that is as close a guess as I've seen, to date. But stay tuned, someone may come forward with that information at any time.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 8:27 AM

Another great picture. You mentioned possibility of this location being the old Bedford Theater. I would love to settle a disagreement with my husband regarding the year the theater closed. I'm sure some of the historians can answer that question for me.

-- Posted by reilly on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 8:09 AM

David, Thanks for another great photo. This one should spark lots of comment. I was dissapointed last week to say the least that the three great photos from the maneuvers in Wartrace only elicited six comments and three of them were mine. I have some things to do this morning. When I get back home I will go over this one real good.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 22, 2009, at 8:03 AM


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