[Masthead] Fair ~ 57°F  
High: 65°F ~ Low: 41°F
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Picturing the Past 55: Gunter Building

Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at 10:31 AM

(Photo)
A portion of the Gunter Building in October 1958. (T-G file photo)
Here's a look at part of the Gunter Building in October 1958, when a Sears store was celebrating its grand opening.

The store stayed there until the mid-1960s before moving to a then-new (first occupant, I think) Lane Parkway building that today houses the Bedford County Sheriff's Department.

This is before I was born, but from what I've read I think the Times-Gazette occupied this location before Sears moved in. The T-G moved to its current building (which had been a Plymouth and, later, Pontiac dealership, and even today we still have a showroom) in 1957. I've seen advertisements indicating the Times-Gazette briefly had a photo studio across the street in the Riverview Building (a portion of it is visible here) in the very early 1950s, so this would have been a logical location.

Photobucket

Some of the crowd at the grand opening. Recognize anyone?

(NOTE: I've tried something a little different today to see if I can get secondary photos larger. Let me know if the inside-the-store shot took a long time to load.)

You'll also see signs pointing to businesses in the lower level of the Gunter Building: The Astor Cafe and a barber shop. Who ran the barber shop? To the right is part of Cohn & Glazer Department Store and, on the second floor, a sign for William H. Turner Insurance Agency.

In front of Cohn & Glazer you'll see what I think is part of a scale. People could actually weigh themselves while walking around the square. My question is, why would they want to? Bathroom scales were common by the 1960s. Seems like those large scales disappeared by the 1970s.

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


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Is this the west side of the square where the hobble house is now?

-- Posted by thementalist on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 10:38 AM

David that is a 1954 Ford in the picture.

Some of the scales also gave your fortune, now that was a bargin for a penny.

Do any of you remember the mans name that ran the sporting goods dept. in the basement of the Gunter Building?

-- Posted by jim8377 on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 10:44 AM

Did Capertons use to be in the Gunter building also or was that the building over? I remember my grandfather taking me there as a young child to pick up his medicine and I would get one of those great milkshakes or grilled cheese sandwiches I think.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 11:10 AM

David, You asked if the picture took longer to load. It loaded instantly for me. So maybe we can get close up pictures now. Thanks. :)

BTW...I hope to see pictures of Big K, Cooper & Martin, the metal bride that was took down at the dam below the square and Dr. Rogers office if anyone has these photos. I was sent to a Specialist in Nashville to find out what was wrong with me at the age of 12...the doctor told my parents that I had some sort of mental disorder/problem and wanted me to move into a facility in Nashville away from my family for a period of time. My father decided to take me to Dr. Rogers and ask his opinion on the day I was to be sent to Nashville because I was crying and distraught not wanting to go. Dr. Rogers looked me over thoroughly then looked through some medical books he had and told my parents that the specialist was inncorrect in his diagnosis and that I had a very rare disease called Chorea and I was treated by him for 6 months until the symtoms went away. He was a great Dr.

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 11:44 AM

David, The man wearing glasses and whose face is partially concealed by the lady in the dark dress is Rev. John Park Winkler. He was the minister of First Christian Church.

-- Posted by dianainnc on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 11:56 AM

David, more good photos, Thanks.

I may be wrong, but I don't think the Times-Gazette ever had a storefront in the Gunter Bldg. They were somewhere in the interior, plus the space you mention in the old Riverview (aka The Boone) Hotel. I think the old flatbed press was in the basement of the Gunter Bldg. Several early photos I have show Cohn & Glazer occupying the sections that are occupied by Sears in your photo today, plus the section to the right of Sears. Next to Cohn & Glazer was Caperton's Drugs and then Dickerson Studios. There are several old postcards around and photos in other publications that show Cohn & Glazer storefront extending to the corner. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm thinking that there was another dry goods store that preceded Cohn & Glazer. I'll have to do some more digging. I have an old T-G of the Grand Opening and I think it lists all the tenants and has congratulatory ads from most of them.

Help! I really need to locate a clear photo of the Gunter Building under construction. I think it was started in 1926-27 with the opening in 1929. You may contact the T-G and hopefully David will tell you how to reach me.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 2:10 PM

jim8377: Carl Reed was the manager of the sporting goods store in the Gunter Bldg. It faced Riverside Street.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 2:25 PM

Thanks David for two more great pictures. I did not have any trouble loading the second picture. It loaded instantly for me.

As for the barber shop. That is the barber shop that I went to from the mid 40s through probably the mid 50s. Roy Pressgrove owned the shop. The first barbers that I remember there were Roy Pressgrove and Pollard Moore. Both were volunteer fire fighters, so when they had to be called away to a fire they had to close the barber shop. I can remember one time probably in the mid to late 40s there was a fire. I think that it was in the Fairgrounds. While they were fighting the fire the chimney collapsed on Pollard Moore but I do not think that he was severely injured. Later on Milton Clanton was a barber at that shop, and somehow in the back of my mind I am getting a picture of John Pope working there as well at one time, but do not bet the farm on that. The old memory is not what she used to be.

Case in point is that I am having a mental block about the Sears-Roebuck catalog store being in that location. As a matter of fact I am also blocking out the T-G being in that location. I can only remember the T-G being just past Ewing Dickerson's sales counter and the elevator both upstairs and downstairs with an iron circular staircase between the top floor and bottom floor. The offices were upstairs and the linotype machines with the big ingots of lead dropping into the melting pot as needed to make the type. Type setting was also downstairs. I also remember the T-G having space in the Riverview building but I never knew what was done there as I never was in their space there. The printing press and postal mailing was in a little building directly behind the Gunter building. John (I believe his last name was Foster) and Ralph Locke were the press operators in the early 50s. It faced what you might call West Depot. The first remembrance I have of Sears Roebuck having a catalog store would have been in the location you mentioned on Lane Parkway. They must have been one of the first to occupy a building after Urban Renewal work was started because I can almost surely remember it being 1963 or 1964. You could order from the catalog at the store and your merchandise would be shipped to the store and you could pick it up there. Later on Sears Roebuck moved to the corner of North Cannon Boulevard and Delray Street.

jim8377, Yes, I think you are probably right about people not only getting weighed but having their fortune told at the same time. Also in the mid 40s it was one of the few coin operated machines to be found in Shelbyville, even before parking meters.

jaxspike, Yes, Capertons was the next store to the right in the top photo. steadyeddie may have made that milk shake or grilled cheese sandwich for you. It also had a side entrance just across from the elevator.

AmericanWoman, There are several great pictures of the old iron or steel bridge that you are talking about. David even used one of them in one of the Picturing the Past blogs. I think it was called "Across the river" or something like that, and yes Dr. Carl Rogers was well thought of in Shelbyville, and Christmas had not fully come until you made a trip past his house to see the lights and listen to the music.

David, Several of the people in the picture look familiar to me but I would not dare to try and identify some of them for you.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 4:53 PM

I remember in the early 50's there was a traveling human fly. He scaled the Gunter Bldg. while a large crowd stood in the middle of the square to watch. Also, do any of you guys remember riding the elevator to go register at the draft board/

-- Posted by eyeavol on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 5:27 PM

Check out the cafe sign at the left,indicating a downstairs location. Could this be your mystery cafe,featured a few weeks back?

-- Posted by Gus on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 7:36 PM

Gus, I always knew it as "The Astor Tea Room", and in my remembrance it was always advertised with a small painted sign. This is obviously a neon sign, so I can not tell you what it was at that time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 8:27 PM

My aunt lived in the Gunter Building when it was converted to apartments. I don't remember Sears being located in the Gunter Building.

-- Posted by chs61 on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 9:11 PM

Yes, leeiii....you are so right! I definitely made that grilled cheese and that milkshake. They each went for twenty cents.....Like some others, I never knew of Sears being in this location. It was Cohn/Glazer all the way to the corner in my day. Yep, John Pope worked downstairs with Roy and Pollard (before he moved to Edgemont). In those early days the downstairs restaurant was the "Tea Room". I don't know when it became The Astor. And down in that Gunter basement was Caperton's storage room and the very special "ice cream making room". I can still remember the taste of that Pineapple-Orange.Yum-m-m-m.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 9:38 PM

steadyeddie, The ice cream flavor that I remember most of all was Maple Nut. Caperton's was the only place in town where you could get it. It had a flavor kind of like it might have been made with Hickory Nuts. The closest thing that I have ever found in flavor was when there was a candy called Walnet-o's. It came in a pack with about 6 individually wrapped pieces wrapped in kind of a wax paper and in a little tray.

By the way, you had to go down the hall past Caperton's storage room and ice cream making room to come in the back door of the barber shop.

eyeavol, Yes I remember when the human fly scaled the face of the Gunter Building.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 8:01 AM

Thanks for the answer leeiii and steadyeddie! I don't know if steadyeddie made my food and drinks at Capertons . . . it would have been during the late 70s and early 80s? I am not as old as some of you since I was born in 1975 but I use to enjoy going with my grandfather up to the square and especially when we would go to Capertons. I also remember how much my father and I use to love getting popcorn at the popcorn stand on the other side of the square. Definitely some great memories.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 8:24 AM

jaxspike, No, steadyeddie worked there in the early 50s and had left for college by the mid 50s.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 8:54 AM

Yep, leeiii....you've pegged my years at Caperton's about right. Sorry I wasn't still there in the 70's to make a three-stip hot dog for jaxspike. Thinking back, our maple nut ice cream was kinda like hickory nuts. I always got Walnettos when I went to the Saturday picture show at the Bedford. About the only place I see Walnettos now is the catalog of Vermont Country Store....and sometimes at Cracker Barrel along with their Horehound Drops.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 9:39 AM

I was also in the Crowd that watched the "Human Fly" scale the Front of the Gunter Bldg...I remember the Elevator had a Human Operator and seems like the Door was not Solid but rather a Folding Wire Mesh type which made the ride kinda scary for a Youngster....

-- Posted by FlaDon on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 12:44 PM

I would love to have tried that maple nut ice cream. All natural, I'm guessing, with none of that artificial junk that most store brands feature. I vaguely remember Caperton's...they seem to have a great candy selction.

-- Posted by gottago on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 3:47 PM

sorry, should have been 'seemed to have had a good candy selection'

The comment section should have an edit option. T-G maybe you should consider that while you are trying to figure out the comment situation ;)

-- Posted by gottago on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 3:49 PM

I bought my 1st good Reel to Reel recorder (Roberts with Crossfield heads) From Sears when they were located on the soutwest corner of the square. A lot of my best memories revolve around Shelbyvilles Square. Lol a few bad ones also.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 4:16 PM

AmericanWoman,I have some newspaper clipping of Dr.Rodgers,as part of a group,if you would like them.

I remember his office so well.He always beautiful plants,and a fish tank.

He was a great doctor,and human being.He cared about people.

-- Posted by Gus on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 9:07 PM

FlaDon...you are so right about the human elevator operator in the Gunter Building....that was Esther who manned that lift for a couple or three decades. There was nothing automatic about that old elevator and that mesh folding (see-thru) inner door allowed Esther to see when she had arrived at the correct level to stop. It was always off just a little bit...so that's why she always warned "Watch your step."....Sorry that I wasn't around to see that Human Fly climb the Gunter Building. Can someone find a picture of that big event?

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Wed, Apr 7, 2010, at 11:54 PM

My mom,Jewell Fisher, worked at Capertons from 1960 to about 1971. Another lady, Ms Estill Baltimore worked behind the counter. I also worked there after school in 1968-1970 behind the counter. Yes, WE made the best milkshakes and the pimento and tuna sandwiches were made from scratch and fresh each day. I don't remember the walnut ice cream but we made butterpecan and the delicious pineapple-orange. Lunch time was standing room only with many of the offices in the bank, courthouse and gunter building calling in to go orders. I remember my first dentist was Dr Archer who had an office in the Gunter building, and Dickerson Studios was on the street level. Sears was next door and the Cafe downstairs was, at that time, called Foster's Tea Room and was owned by Miss Ruby Foster. My Dad used to take us there for lunch after church. We kids were delivered by Dr Rogers and we loved to go to his office in the Riverview building to see his fish tanks. His nurse was called Miss Dilly.

-- Posted by ZNanny on Thu, Apr 8, 2010, at 4:57 PM

ZNanny, You have stirred up the old memory machine. You mentioned Dr. Archer and that reminded me that both Dr. Archer and Dr. Ford had dentist offices in the Gunter Building at the same time. Dr. Archer's daughter Susan married a schoolmate of mine.

When I was working at Renegar Drugs on Madison Street in 57-59 Morton's Mother made sandwiches every day from scratch and brought them to the drug store before lunch for sale. She made Bar-B-Q, Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese, and Cream Cheese and Olives on Wheat five days a week. Every time someone came in and ordered a Banana Split, I would run next door to Edwards Market and buy one banana to make it with.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Apr 8, 2010, at 5:49 PM

leeiii...boy, y'all really had it made at Renegar's. You had someone to make those good sandwiches for you while at Caperton's we had to make them ourselves. Yours probably tasted a little more "homemade". I laughed at your comment about running to the store for a banana when needed for a split...I did the very same thing at Caperton's. I would run to Taylor's Food Store at the Bridge Street corner and pick up that banana.

Yes, Dr. Archer was my dentist until I left

Shelbyville for college. I remember his "spit bowl" very well. His office assistant, Mrs. Green, lived in an apartment in our house on North Main. His partner, Dr. Ford, lived across the street with his wife and young son, Jimmy.

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Thu, Apr 8, 2010, at 8:15 PM

What was the name of the sporting goods store

that was in the basement of the Gunter Bldg.or in

a little bldg. just behind the Gunter bldg.?

-- Posted by birds215 on Thu, Nov 25, 2010, at 12:14 PM

To the best of my memory that was Gunter Lumber and Hardware that also carried sporting goods.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Nov 25, 2010, at 12:20 PM

I have a few memories of Dr. Rogers and the Gunter building. He was our family doctor for years when I was a child. I remember him as being very kind and attentive, especially with children that asked a lot of those why questions. The big red Coke machine in the hall sold the little six ounce cokes for a dime and they were always ice-cold. I also recall the soda fountain at Capertons. My grandmother bought me a root beer float nearly every time we were in there.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sat, Nov 27, 2010, at 4:27 AM

Astor Cafe was between Taylor's Grocery on the corner of the square and the fire hall until urban renewal and then moved to the basement of the Gunter Building. Mr. & Mrs. Baucom were the owners and their food was very good. She made pies and he cooked great stew, really pepper hot.

-- Posted by luckylu on Mon, Nov 29, 2010, at 10:15 AM

I remember the Gunter Building well. I delivered T-G newspapers from the back of the Gunter Building for two years. Capertons did have great grilled cheese sandwiches but my favorite was a hot dog sandwich, that was two hot dogs split long ways cooked on the grill then put on toasted bread. The sandwich was then complemented by the worlds best cherry-coke. After I finished that culinary delight, I would go across to Dickerson's Studio and talk to Jean Gardner. I joined the Navy in 1953 so that is when my Gunter Building history ended.

-- Posted by jsutton on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 3:16 PM

jsutton.....let me just say that you had very good taste if you enjoyed having conversation with Jean Gardner at Dickerson's. She was one classy lady!!

-- Posted by steadyeddie on Fri, Dec 24, 2010, at 1:02 AM

I remember Dr. Rogers very well, as a matter of fact his daughter, Jeannie married my cousin Tommy Reed. Sadly they have been divorced for many years now and are both remarried, But I used to go to his house before they were married when Jeannie gave swimming lessons in the back yard pool.

-- Posted by sammy9136 on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 10:35 AM

Just wanted to say Thanks to everyone who has posted their memories! I just moved into a Gunter Building forth floor apartment this year and loved reading all of your memories over the years about the building. Keep posting them! Interesting to see how things change over the years. One day I may have memories too of Emily's Cafe and The Coffee Break.

-- Posted by Callie594 on Tue, Dec 6, 2011, at 12:25 PM

I visited the Eichelsdoerfer (She was born Mary Hill) who lived on Mechanic Street..several summers during the mid-forties..my best freinds were the Breedlove children and Trudy McCullough (there was also Harlan Boohr sp?)..we spent time in the community center on the town square, riding our bikes by the old bridge, picking tomatoes (for fun) I want to write an article about my experiences but have no pictures of those days...does anyone have some of the square, the bridge, the elks club, the trees...anything..?

Thank you

Jane Christian Roland

-- Posted by lady jane on Sat, Jun 29, 2013, at 4:46 PM

I'm trying to remember if it's Foster's Tea Room. They had great food there! Might be another restaurant being mentioned but I know for this one you went around to the side of the building and it was downstairs.

-- Posted by Number25 on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 2:38 PM


Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.


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