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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Picturing the Past 102: Back to the square

Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011, at 11:41 AM

The south side of the Shelbyville square again, this time from the late 1930s or early 1940s. (Photo supplied by Monte Arnold)
Here's another look at the south side of the Shelbyville square, this time from what I'm guessing is the late 1930s or early 1940s. (And we'll go on to something else before long, but it's interesting to compare how much the square had changed in just a short time. See PTP 100.)

This photo, courtesy of Monte Arnold, was obviously shot by Dickerson Studios based on the fact that Ewing Dickerson tended to write on his photos, and apparently liked to shoot from upper floors of the Gunter Building. This one shows more of a view down Depot Street than past photos have.

Note the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Shelbyville's first Kroger location was in that same building in the early 1950s. Did Kroger buy out the Piggly Wiggly store?

And Blue Front Drug Store at the bottom right sold quite a combination: drugs and Gilman paint.

I've heard that practically most of the county gathered on the square in older days on Saturdays. From the crowd it looks like this could have been one of those Saturdays. Also makes me wonder if two-way traffic on the square would work today.

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

David, I certainly understand. I will be looking forward to next week's blog and picture.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 6:27 AM

Just to note here, I'm going to have to skip a week of Picturing the Past for the first time since it started. Too much going on news-wise for me to have time to check the files. Usually I scan several months' worth at a time and I simply ran out. We'll have something new next week.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 2:36 PM

Look @ all those cars. Money or gas could not have been an issue.

-- Posted by marwi on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 2:07 PM

A year or two ago there was mention here of Jane Townes's study (in progress) of local decorative arts from the Civil War era or earlier. I know she is interested in the Ruth silversmiths -- though the mark on that eBay watch fob (Jno. W. Ruth & Sons) is early 20th century, and too late for her study. The marks of J.W. Ruth, or GWR in a rectangle with little teeth (George W. Ruth), would be appropriate. Also John M. Sehorn (SEHORN) and Daniel Turrentine (DT in a rectangle) are early Shelbyville silversmiths. In the early 1970s there was a little display of spoons by all of these craftsmen in Tip Thompson (or maybe it was called Robinson-Thompson) Men's Wear store. If anybody knows the present whereabouts of those, or other early Shelbyville silver pieces, it would be nice to let Jane photograph them.

-- Posted by razyn on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 7:29 PM

Caligal, do you have more info on the ebay link that you saw the Jno. W. Ruth watch fob?

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 10:57 AM

Some info on Jno. W. Ruth & Sons Jewelry Store:It celebrated it's 100th anniversary in 1922. It was the oldest jewelry store in Tennessee. There is a antique watch fob made by the Ruth Jewelers for sale on E-bay in Italy! Did one of our soldiers lose it there during the war? It is for sale for $60.00 or 43,23 Euros. I just came across this information by chance.

-- Posted by caligal on Thu, Mar 3, 2011, at 6:10 PM

Caligal: leeiii is correct. I'm sure that for the approximate time period of this photo, the Jno. W. Ruth Jewelry Store was not on the square, it was on East Depot Street, on the south side and beyond the banks and what used to be Castner Knotts. I remember my parents taking us there to buy our school books.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Thu, Mar 3, 2011, at 9:46 AM

caligal, I am not sure that I know the answer to your question, however, the location that I remember for the Jno. W. Ruth Jewelry Store which sold school books in the mid-40s when I started to school was in the first block of East Depot Street on the same side of the street as the two banks. I do not know whether or not Jno. W. Ruth Jewelry could have been located on the South Side of the Square in the late 30s. marnold1118 might be able to answer your question.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Mar 3, 2011, at 8:23 AM

There seem to be a big crowd around one store. I am wondering if this was the Ruth's Book Store. School books were not free during this time and everyone had to buy their own school books. I vaguely remember crowds like this before school started each year at the book store. I remember that they had shelves all the way to the ceiling stacked with school books.

-- Posted by caligal on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 5:13 PM

For any of these, right click on the photo and click on properties to view the URL for the photo. For this one it is...


Copy it and paste into your browser then delete the -L part.


Full res!

-- Posted by Chad O on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 3:19 PM

That's the Shelbyville that started the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration... and it's getting to look a little old-timey. Pretty, though. My grandfather Hulan was the only mayor of a county seat in Middle Tennessee who was a Republican, when I was born (in 1939).

A lot of stuff is different now. Some of it's good.

-- Posted by razyn on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 12:24 PM

About the full resolution versions, we'll do links to those when we have photos large enough. I tried it on the one above and it didn't come up any larger than what you see without becoming blurry.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 10:07 AM

Chad O, would you inform me how you came by the "Full Resolution Version " of the last photo of the Square? Good Job David and keep-um coming....

-- Posted by FlaDon on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 9:11 AM

I think the changes are amazing! Even in the early days. If you look at this picture and the earlier one from "more of the square" David posted, you will see in the other photo changes around the Bedford Theatre -- remodeling and reconstruction started early:)

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 9:10 AM

ckna910: The Bedford County Historical Society published the "postcard memories" of Bedford County book for the Bicentennial and then a year or so later used one of its Quarterlies as a supplement. That supplement had several real photo postcards of scenes of the old fairgrounds. If David is interested, I think I have images of those cards on my computer and could share.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 8:22 AM

Ahhh....Remembering Saturdays and Five-and-Dime, must have been popular in all towns. So was Made in America. Anyone out there have pics of old Fairground and Raceway on Fairoak??

-- Posted by ckna910 on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 8:05 AM

Grits, you are right about the revitalization. All the pity. This picture really brings back some memories for me. Of course this picture was before my time, but I remember going to "town" with my grandmother on the bus. We had to be dressed in our "church" clothes and I had to be on my best behavior. My reward was to chose something from the Five and Dime store and a bag of popcorn from the popcorn stand for the trip home. Keep the pictures coming David!

-- Posted by caligal on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 10:06 PM

Thanks David for bringing back some wonderful memories of the square packed with people. The women are dressed modestly and the men appropriate. Wish I could run all those cars through the Barrett Jackson auction on the SPEED channel. Probably bring in 20 million. The picture explains why the old downtowns cannot be revitilized back to the way it used to be.

-- Posted by Grits on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 7:57 PM

To the best of my remembrance two way traffic on the square worked well. I am sure there were many fender benders, but it worked well. Over the years we became accustomed to one way traffic after some trials and probably many cussings. It would be just as hard to go back to two way traffic.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 12:34 PM

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