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Picturing the past 43: North Main in '63

Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at 10:00 AM

(Photo)
The east side of North Main Street during the urban renewal process in January 1963. (T-G File Photo)
Here's a look at the left and right sides of North Main Street just off the Shelbyville square, as they looked during the urban renewal project on a snowy Jan. 23, 1963.

Above is the left side of North Main looking south from roughly just south of today's post office. The building at left is obviously being demolished. A "Kilpatrick's Shoes Factory Outlet" sign is in front of one of the buildings.

You'll also see the still-existing Stewart-Potts Motors building with what looks like a '62 Ford and a new '63 Galaxie four-door in front. Wonder what happened to the 'Ford' neon sign in front? It would be a real collector's item today.

Beyond that is an "Oertel's 92" beer sign in front of a tavern further toward the square. Anyone remember the bar's name and who operated it?

Photobucket

The west side shows what appears to be Stewart-Potts' car lot, directly across the street from the dealership. Had the lot been across the street or beside the building before urban renewal began?

It's clear that's Stewart-Potts' lot because of the 'A-1 Used Cars" sign. I've got the photo blown up large as I write this and can see the new car sticker in the window of a '63 Ford if I look closely. Others on this lot are used cars.

Further up the street is the light-colored building which I'm guessing is where others have mentioned an Oldsmobile dealer was located in the 1950s.

And the large, dark-colored building which stands out is the back of the old Hotel Dixie. Look closely and you may be able to see its sign to the left of the building. I'm also seeing something that I wonder if I remember correctly or not: Did the Dixie have some more rooms in a wooden portion behind the main brick building? I seem to remember a wooden structure in such bad shape that I wondered how it was still standing.

The one-time Shelbyville landmark had become an eyesore and was demolished, as I remember (I was there) on a cold Saturday morning in 1977 or 1978; I'm thinking '78.

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


Comments
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The Williams Store photo mentioned above will be appearing in this blog soon.

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 3:29 PM

I vaguely remember the Statum Cab co. I must have 12 or so. It seemed to be a street level business of a larger building. I should remember more, as it was my grandfather, Clyde Statum, and his brother, Fred "Brownie" Statum, that owned and operated the cab stand.

-- Posted by strider9 on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 2:33 PM

I may be going back too far, but I found a 1933 photo of Williams store on the N.E.corner of the square with Lillard Stephens "Banks" and A.B.Jennings standing in front.There are at least three buildings going North that are two stories and then it appears to drop down to single story. Wash boards were 22cents,sorghum molasses 40cents for half gallon and 75cents for gallon.

-- Posted by Cal t on Tue, Feb 9, 2010, at 5:54 PM

Cal t, I remember the Tune Tractor Company being at that location. To the best of my memory they sold Ford Tractors.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Feb 9, 2010, at 7:46 AM

Take a look at Times Gazette " A Pictorial History of Bedford County ". Page 65 shows more North Main looking toward the square and another taxi sign directly across from Ford .Page 64 shows the other view to East.

-- Posted by Cal t on Mon, Feb 8, 2010, at 10:24 PM

On the West side of North Main across from the Ford car dealership in the late 1950's was Tune Tractor Co. My brother and I were at the street light going South toward the square when we saw fire trucks coming off the square with lights on. About the same time the front of the Tractor Co. blew out into the street with huge ball of flame and smoke. The Fire Dept.was still on the square back then. Cal t

-- Posted by Cal t on Sun, Feb 7, 2010, at 5:31 PM

Very nice pictures. I have a picture of my first haircut around '56 with Mr. McBee. He looked to be in his 60's at the time, but could be wrong. Thanks for the memories.

-- Posted by cfder on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 4:39 PM

Wilderness 68, That is exactly right. razyn helped me to pinpoint exactly where the John C. Huffman appliance store was located.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 6:12 AM

The Barber Shop and Cafe were owned by Hazletts. Jack Hazlett and Robert McBee Sr. were the barbers. Mrs. Hazlett ran the cafe. My Mom and Dad worked for Jack Ray, next door at The Bedford Paper Box Co. My Dad would take me with him on days school was out to eat lunch. I loved the beef stew. leeiii and I went to school with Don Hazlett their son. The railroad track ran right beside the Box Factory and the side going to the square was an appliance store owned by John C. Huffman. Mr.Bracy bought it from him. I think next it was a pool hall. Gerald Hammer Huffman was adopted and his brother by Mr. John C. Huffman we went to school with them ,too.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 6:55 PM

LarLMoore, I remember that barber shop, in fact got my hair cut there a couple of times, though I can't recall the barber's name at this time who cut it. I think this would be the same location that Jerry Stewart would later operate a pool room.

Just out of sight and behind Stewart- Potts building was Tommy Reed Electric Co.(Think that was the name) Udell Moses worked for Tommy around the time of these photos, they were brothers-in law.

I'm having trouble with depth perception on the East side photo, making it about impossible for me to guess what might have been in the Kilpatrick location before they moved there. I'm thinking that it's mighty close to the former Bud's Cafe location, but can't say that with any assurance.

One thing that has changed in the area of these photos, and has to be taken into consideration when trying to visualize where various businesses on the East side of North Main St.were located, is the fact that this particular block, from Stewart-Potts to the post office, is considerably "shorter" now than it was in, say,1960. The reason being, that several feet were converted to traffic lanes to widen East and West Lane Sts. This block used to start with Compton's Hardware at about where the present day traffic divider is located beside Stewart-Potts.

Looking across West Lane St. toward the S-P car lot, the first thing that I can remember being built there after Urban Renewal was a paint store, I believe a Sherwin- Williams store, and just West of it was a Sears store(bought a Garcia fishing reel from them). After Sears left there was a Radio Shack store there for a while. I can't recall what might have been there between Sears and Radio Shack, if anything. The Sheriff's Dept. occupies that area now.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 4:20 PM

The Hazelett cafe was indeed in that location. I remember a barbershop being located next to it. The cab company was owned by the Statum's and the one underneath Bracey's Hardware was next door to another tavern, I think and seems as if was run by a guy named Stevens. I went into the US Army in February of 61 and returned in Jan of 64. I hardly knew my old hometown as urban renewal had revamped the western part of the city ; re-located streets and created new business opportunities. Was a much-neede change for Pencil City.

-- Posted by LarLMoore on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 2:35 PM

Thanks David for two more great pictures. ilikeoldsongs and cookie you have revived more great memories. I remember Hazlett's Cafe at the location of the Oertels 92 sign. Along with the Olds dealership (which I can not place) I also remember L. T. Bellar Pontiac being in that building, and also Burtis Landers and Bryant Thomas, Jr. had a VW dealership there at one time. As for the cab stand, Statum's Cabs comes to my mind, but I am not sure. It is possible that Statum was under the building that we have identified before as Bracey's Hardware (however, I think that was City Cab at the Bracey location).

I remember the wooden structure along with the porch well on the back of the Dixie Hotel, but I do not think that I ever knew what it housed. I think that I always thought that it had something to do with the kitchen.

I do not think that I had ever seen pictures of this area before while Urban Renewal was going on. My Dad's Gulf Service Station was previously just out of the bottom picture to the right. It was on the corner of North Main and West Lane.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 12:50 PM

I remember the taxi service that was at the back, and under the hotel. It was facing the east. I also remember that behind the Dixie Hotel a wood portion of the Dixie Hotel that never seemed to have a coat of paint, and there was a large wooden porch. The rest of the Dixie Hotel was brick, but this portion was wood. I wonder if it were just off the kitchen of the Hotel.

Thanks again, David, for the memories.

-- Posted by cookie on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 11:48 AM

David, that was Hazlett's Cafe with the '92 sign, and the owner was, I think, Jack Hazlett.

The light colored building does seem to me to be in the right location for the Olds dealership.

About the rear area of the Dixie Hotel, I have been meaning to ask for sometime now if anyone remembered a taxi service located at either the back(North East corner) or possibly under the hotel around the mid to late fifties.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 10:59 AM


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