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Picturing the Past 54: South side square

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010, at 11:43 AM

The south side of the Shelbyville square from, probably, the 1940s. (Contributed photo shot by Dickerson Studios)
You've seen this before -- just from a later time

Thanks to a contributor, we're seeing the south side (more than just the 'southeast' side) of the Shelbyville square in a photo originally taken by Dickerson Studios. I'd guess this was shot from atop the Gunter Building.

From the looks of the cars I'd guess this is from sometime in the early 1940s. At bottom right is McDonald Furniture Co. and, moving east from there, is Nina's (a women's clothing store that was in business as late as the 1970s or beyond), and, a few doors up, the Bedford Theater.

Further up Depot are two steeples, one from the old First Christian Church when it was on Depot and I'm guessing the one further back is FIrst Baptist Church. Look at the far right , behind the building which still stands at the corner of South Main and McGrew streets (occupied today by a law firm) and I see what appears to be the top of a much shorter steeple. Is that the old Main Street Church of Christ?


GOING NORTH: A few blocks north of the square in the "Edgemont" area (back when it actually was the north edge of town -- it's more like downtown today) here's an April 1963 photo of Nichols Furniture from the T-G files. This was on North Main about where the parking lot of Shelbyville Lumber Co. next to Colloredo Boulevard is today. Looks like they believed in full service, even including a U.S. Mail pickup box and a telephone booth out front. I was pumping gas Monday night and noticed an actual pay phone near the convenience store -- something you see far fewer of in these days of cell phones. Of course, years ago you didn't pump your own gas, either.

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

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Harley Morgan did own The Waffle Shop for a few years. It was in between Knox Pitts and Hennings Jewelry . . . He was also known for his blue cheese dressing.

-- Posted by bbbluebird on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 3:28 PM

Thanks for the info garhawk. Hate to quote myself, but "The nurses are drunk on gin and no one has emptied the crack babies bin. It's Sunday Eve and almost dawn and how it will be when the Christians are gone".

-- Posted by Grits on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 10:55 AM

Yep, Nina was the wife of Eli Cooper and the mother of Judy and Jeri. Nina ran the retail store on the square and Eli sold women's apparell from the trunk of his car - cash or, on credit, to those who either couldn't, or didn't, make it to town.

Industriousness abounded in those days and, those endowed with the trait were, for the most part, successful. Today, with licenses, taxes, graft and coruption, (not to mention other contributions to the government for welfare recipients who don't live within one thousand miles of you and, aren't aware that there is a meal termed breakfast) the entreprenurial spirit has slipped away from the individual and into the hands of corporate thieves like AT&T and Charter.

-- Posted by garhawk on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 10:17 AM

Thanks leeiii and Wilderness 68 for the info on Nina's family. I asked my sister if she knew and she did'nt remember. But, she remembered how excited she became when our mother took her into Nina's for a new dress. And she remembered how kind and gentle Nina was. Made me remember how seldom we had a chance to actually wear new store bought cloths.

-- Posted by Grits on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 8:36 AM

Gus, Yes I remember the waffle shop although I never knew who owned it. I have also had a hard time remembering the name of the business.

I do remember that they had a delicious open-face roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 31, 2010, at 6:13 AM


I believe Judy's sister name was Jeri.

Does anyone remember the waffle Shop? Was the owner Harley Morgan? It was on the south side of the sqaure near where Nina's was.

Does anyone remember the man who parked on the corner of Depot and the east side of the square?He was a peddler,and I remember one item he sold was leather purses.He was there every Saturday.

This was in the late 50's early 60's.

-- Posted by Gus on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 11:13 PM

Hi everybody, I went to school with Judy Cooper. Her mother and Daddy were Eli and Nina Cooper. They owned the store for as long as I can remember. I really enjoy getting to remember with everyone. I believe Judy had a sister, but I can't remember her name.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 9:11 PM

I am not sure about Nina. In the back of my mind I am thinking that it was Eli Cooper who owned that store, but then again it could have been the Joe Katz store that I am thinking of.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 6:39 PM

Thanks David. I really enjoy these pictures that show so much of my early years. Nina of Nina's dress shop is mentioned. I talked to her for a while in 1987 when I was in town. She was doing OK, and she remembered my sisters coming into her store. I have been trying to remember her last name, but it escapes me.

-- Posted by Grits on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 5:34 PM

There's even someone standing on what was known as Fly's.

-- Posted by bomelson on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 3:50 PM

This answers the question of where the Bedford Theater was located.

-- Posted by bomelson on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 3:19 PM

The "southeast" in the caption written on the photo threw me off. Obviously this is the south side of the square with just a small portion of the east side. I've edited accordingly. Thanks.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 11:45 AM

I love these pictures and especially the ones before my time (which most are). The square looked like a happening place and too bad we can not see that same kind of look today. My father and mother first met where the Bedford Theater is located in this pictures in the 1970s so it is fun to see what it looked like before even then.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 11:44 AM

marnold1118, you are correct. If this were truly the east side fully showing we would be seeing the hotel directly ahead, which was on the north corner.

-- Posted by ontheoutside on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 11:20 AM

Either I'm disoriented (which may be possible) but in this submitted photo (likely taken from the Gunter Bldg.) aren't we looking east with the south side of the square fully shown but only a corner of the east side? Beyond the south side of the square the viewer is looking down Depot Street (towards the Times-Gazette office). I think the original caption which was a part of the photo should have said south side instead of east side.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 10:42 AM

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