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Around (and near) the Square, Spring, 1941
Columbia was recovering from the The Great Depression, and there was a liveliness in the business community, which seems to have had more independent entrepreneurs than even today. The population in the county was, as it is again today, the highest in its history. It was the days when the Adair County News had nine grocery advertisers in a single issue, four-digit telephone numbers, Studebakers and Oldsmobiles, and home delivery of milk, funeral home ambulance service, and when out of town businesses, as far away as Sparksville, had agents in Columbia. I don't remember it all as Jim writes it, but I was around that year. I think Momma answered 192-A at the big house with the Post Oak in front of it, on part of what is now Franklin Nissan, when the hall wall phone rang two longs and a short. If we picked it up on other rings it might have been for the Willises, Beards, or Whitneys. At one, I was at least four years too young to cross Jamestown Street to go to E. Campbell's for a loaf of bread - on credit, and I didn't even have to ask. 'Jim' has packed this installment with a lot of memories, even though I was only 1 year old a the time. - Eddie
By the early spring of 1941, Columbia and Adair County were slowly - ever so slowly, but surely - coming out of the extended economic crisis of the Great Depression. Seventy years ago this week, Baldwin's Cash Grocery, where "you always find the greatest food bargains," had more items on sale than you could shake a large grocery bag at. (To get an approximation of these costs in 2011 dollars, multiple the given price by 14.5.)
For a dime, you could get four pounds of sweet potatoes, three large bars of P&G soap, three pounds of apples, a pound of evaporated peaches, a can of Packer's Label brand green beans, or a package of Wheaties brand cereal. The expenditure of a quarter let you take home four #2 cans of orange juice, three cans of Early June brand green peas, two pounds of fresh country sausage, three cans of Campbell's brand soup, or five tall cans of Milnot ("so rich it whips"). If you were a bit short of a quarter, a pound of pork chops cost 23 cents. (For the readers not yet experiencing a lengthening of years and a shortening of memory, Milnot was canned skim milk that had been "reconstituted" with vegetable oils and was used in cooking.)
Forty cents bought two pounds of Kraft brand cheese; eighty-nine cents, a bushel of apples; and thirty-nine cents, a 50-pound block of salt.
Other grocery stores in Columbia in 1941 included
-Kroger (J.D. Harper, mgr.),Later that year, Mr. E. Campbell bought the Isaacs Grocery business, put up a new store house, and opened Columbia's first self-service grocery near the end of December.
Fresh milk ("extra rich, extra good") was readily available for delivery to your door (in Columbia) from Lowe's Dairy (phone 180-B).
If you needed a new refrigerator, options abounded. The Community Public Service Company offered the Kelvinator brand, beginning at only $139.00 for the S-6 model; Holladay Electric Co. carried the Philco line and $114.50 would buy the MAH-7 model; Davis Hardware had a full line of G.E. refrigerators from $109.95; and Richardson's carried Westinghouse brand--no prices given, but the "Betsey Ross" model could be had on time payments for only $1.50 per week. (The Kelvinator & Philco models came with a five year protection plan.)
Automobile choices were somewhat abundant for the (moderately) well-heeled. $825 (plus transportation and state/local taxes) would buy a 1941 Dodge from Wheet Motor Company, Merchant St. (The Fluid Driver transmission was an extra 25 bucks, and "a slight extra cost" would get you the luxury of bumper guards and front directional signals.)
If $825 was a bit too much, B.E. "Bunnie" Shively was happy to sell you a new Champion Studebaker business coupe for the low, low price of $695 "and up." The Commander model started at $995 and the Presidential at $1,115. (The April 2 edition stated that "Mr. Shivley, proprietor of the Shively Service Station, Jamestown Street, has taken the agency for Studebaker automobiles formerly sold by the Heskamp Motor Co., Mr. Heskamp having released the dealership some time ago.")
Heskamp Motor Co. (Oldsmobile dealership) had some real deals on used cars. $150 would put you in the driver's seat of a 1935 Ford V-8 Coach with heater and radio, or $525 would buy a 1939 V-8 Coach, this one also with radio and heater and in "A-1 condition."
Other dealerships included Columbia Motor Co. (Chevy; Chalres Wethington, mgr.), and Adair Sales Co. (Ford; also Goodyear tires). The Martin Johnson Garage on Jamestown Street offered the "famous Mansfield cushion balloon" tire with the guaranteed non-skid tread. (For the budget conscious, there was the Mansfield Pioneer tire, built with high-grade materials.)
Other advertisers in the March and April, 1941 News included:
-Grissom Funeral Home & Ambulance Service (Phone 106-B)-"Jim"
This story was posted on 2011-04-03 02:54:26
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