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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 "Jim"

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.),
-White Cash Market (Roy Owen & Chester Hatcher, owners; Mr Hatcher sold his interest in the business to Mr. Owen in May, 1941.)
-S.C. Bybee Grocery
-George Hancock Grocery
-C.R. Hutchison & Sons
-Corner Grocery
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)
-Marshall Beauty Parlor (Phone 191-B)
-Goff Cash Store (Furniture, Paint, Bedding, Lawn Chairs, etc.)
-Reed Brothers Insurance (Phone 49)
-Stotts & Cheatham Funeral Home & Ambulance Service (Phone 81-A or 81-B)
-Columbia Building Supply (Phone 115, C.M. Kelsay & Owen "Jack" Miller, Prop'rs.)
-C.H. Sandusky & Son (Phone 102; lumber, millwork, roofing, shingles. Sandusky's had recently expanded, having purchsed the old Bryant and Burton planing mill building on or near Fairgrounds Street with the intent of "installing machinery for manufacturing concrete blocks.")
-The Economy Stores Company (also known as the Economy 5c & 10c Store; S.W. Willock, owner; located in the W.I. Fraser Building; closed mid-spring, 1941.)
-Roberts 5c, 10c & 25c (T.W. Roberts, mgr.; opened early June, 1941 in the Fraser Building.)
-The Margie Ann Beauty Shoppe (Phone 116-B, Mrs. Jack Williams, Prop.)
-J.M. Ricketts Insurance (Phone 183, Bradshaw Building)
-Paull Drug Co. (Phone 185-A; "the Rexall Store")
-Brown Drug
-Lloyd Pharmacy (in April, 1941, Claude M. Lloyd, proprietor, expanded the business by leasing "the entire floor of the Fraser Building on the corner of the Public Square and Campbellsville Street..." Shortly thereafter, Mrs. A.G. Stroup rented "the downstairs quarters fronting on Campbellsville Street" from Mr. Lloyd and opened a dress shop.)
-Columbia Gulf Service Station (phone 76' corner of Burkesville & Fortune Sts., Joe Hutchison, prop.
-Columbia Marathon Station (Greensburg St.; Charles R. Harris bought the concern from Rich Smythe in mid-1941.)
-Barger Bros. (hardware and general mdse.)
-Mercer Dry Cleaner (Phone 17)
-Mrs. Nat Walker, Florist (Phone 33-A)
-T.A. Murrell Insurance (Russell Building, over Lerman's Store)
-Goff & Smith, Real Estate Agents
-White Stone Company ("quarry at Columbia, Ky.")
-Montgomery (Portrait) Studio ("In the New Adair Hotel, next door to Margie Ann Beauty Shoppe." Opened April 24th, 1941 by Mr. and Mrs. Joe Montgomery, formerly of Glasgow.)
-Russell & Co. ("The House of Quality")
-Lerman Bros., Inc. ("20 department stores / known for better values")
-Southern Continental Telephone Company, Inc. (One ad enthused over the availability of individual phone lines, but irony of ironies -- the ads gave no telephone number!)
-The Rialto Theatre (when Gone With the Wind made an encore appearance at the Rialto in 1941, it was billed as "Nothing cut but the price!")
-A.L. Garrett's Store (Fairgrounds Street; furniture, bedding, stoves, porch swings, etc.)
-E.D. Roberts Monument Works, Sparksville (Susan Miller, local representative, phone 163-B)

This story was posted on 2011-04-03 02:54:26
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