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Picturing the Past 77: Cotton and cars

Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2010, at 12:05 PM

Sylvan Mills, in an undated photo provided by Don Hoover.
Quite a combination, cotton and cars, but these are two random photos from my computer's "in" box.

Here's Sylvan Cotton Mills, in an undated postcard, as provided by Don Hoover. Where was this? I've heard of it over the years but never knew its location. Is the dam pictured the Duck River dam in downtown Shelbyville?


Remember when cars looked like these? What was just a used car lot's inventory in the early 1960s looks like what might be seen at a car show today.

Trey Arnold provided this photo of Arnold & Ragan Motor Co., on Madison Street in the building that still exists, although in a heavily remodeled and expanded form, as Economy Liquors.

All of these would be collector cars today. From left are a late 1950s Rambler American, 1959 Chevrolet station wagon, 1955 Oldsmobile, chrome-laden 1958 Ford Fairlane, 1959 Chevrolet Impala with the rare flat-top roof, and a 1957 Chevrolet along with a few less-visible vehicles.

The building at far right belonged to a dairy until the 1970s, and I can't remember offhand which one.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in the blog and each Wednesday in the print edition of the Times-Gazette. Reader contributions are welcome.

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Thanks David for two more great pictures. Somewhere around 1962 I bought a 1956 Chevrolet from Arnold and Ragan at this very location. If my memory serves me correctly I believe that it was Jersey Farms that occupied the building on the far right.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 7, 2010, at 1:49 PM


You are correct. My mother and father had Ray's Drive-In a little further out Madison Street and Tom Smith, current county official, was our "Jersey Farms" milk man (1956 - maybe 1966.)

Do you or do you know anyone who has any photo of Ray's Drive-In? I'm still looking. Thank you

-- Posted by decorate1 on Tue, Sep 7, 2010, at 2:05 PM

And I'm looking as well.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Sep 7, 2010, at 2:45 PM

No, but I am looking forward to someone coming up with one.

decorate1 I saw in the paper back several months ago where Barbara who was one of the carhops in the late 50s had passed away. Back in those days I could usually be found at Rays Drive-In, or the Rebel Maid, or the bowling alley on Madison, or on the square. If you could not find me at either of those places, as a last resort you could check my house.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 7, 2010, at 4:11 PM

David,Best I can recall that dam is off 64 west past the flat creek bridge.If you turn down Roddy lane and dead end on the river,it would be up about 100 yards or so.This would be in line with the old rubber mill.I think part of the cotton mill was later used for the rubber mill.Maybe I'm correct in my thinking.

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Sep 8, 2010, at 9:13 AM

Thank you leeii and David. Yes, leeii -- Barbara King, Johnny's sister, was always one of my favorites at "The Place" (as all of us kids called it) -- she always had a smile on her face and the customers loved her as well as both my parents and all of us girls(remember there were five of us). Patricia McPeak was another sweet one who worked there. Daddy decided to get out of the restaurant business when I was 10 -- just when I was old enough to take orders and carry the trays. My dream has been to have another drive-in just like his. Maybe one of these days.

-- Posted by decorate1 on Wed, Sep 8, 2010, at 7:13 PM

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