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The Mystery Old Picture was of Adair Sales Co., ca 1928

Partial lineage of a great Adair County enterprise: It was the Ford Dealership in 1928-29, and maybe for years before. The same Ford Dealership which would later be Smith-Flowers Ford, owned by Lee Smith and Alfred Flowers; then Flowers Ford, owned by Robert Flowers, late of banking fame; and then Don Franklin Ford, the flagship of the huge Franklin Group of dealerships started in Columbia, KY
Click on headline for story with photo(s) Comments, corrections and additional photos are welcome.

By Ed Waggener

The mystery old photo, Where Is It? Mystery Picture posted yesterday came from photographs collected by the late Patricia Merkley Christianson.

It was found by her husband, Chuck Christianson, as he was going through Pat Merkley's collection of photos, and was delivered to us by Hilda Willis, a lifelong friend of Patricia Merkley.

The photo is of the showroom of Adair Sales Company, then the Ford dealership in Columbia. It is located at 103-105 Campbellsville Street, a building which has housed, at 103 Campbellsville Street, the popular Glamourette Beauty Salon for so long that perhaps a majority of today's residents only know it as the Glamourette Building.

For several decades beyond 1930, Adair Countians could shop for Ford cars and trucks just off the Square at Adair Sales. The little brick building next door sits on a lot which was part of the display area for cars, and more would be in the back of the building.

Mr. Christianson sent some notes with the photo.

He guessed the date of the photo to be late 1920s. "Judging by the model Ford on the floor," he wrote, "I'm guessing this picture was taken about 1928/1929." Mr. Christianson's late father in law, Pat Merkley's father is standing on the left in the photo with his then business parter and co-owner, but Mr. Christianson couldn't remember the name of the partner.

He notes, that the dealership was ahead of its time in energy conservation. "It was energy 'green'," he noted, before that idea became a part of the culture. "Note the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling with its on/off pull sring. Contrast this with today's highly illuminated and spot lighted auto showrooms."

Mr. Christianson wrote, "The business was later sold to F.X Merkley's brother, Louis Merkley who continued to operate it as Adair Sales. Louis Merkley's partner was the late Morris Epperson. These partners made a bold move from the immediate Square Area all the way out to 203 Burkesville Street, where Madison Square is now located in the building which is headquarters for Stotts Construction Company. The display are was greatly expanded, with parts of the lots reaching East Fortune Street, West Reed, and the frontage extended from that of Madison Square today, stretching south to a Burkesville Street display lot on land where the little dental office stands today - though that is no longer in use.

This story was posted on 2013-02-28 05:45:16
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Where Is It? Mystery Picture: Adair Sales, ca 1928-29

2013-02-27 - 103-105 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY. - Photo from from Hilda Joyce Willis Jenkins, Bowling Green, KY & the collection of Chuck Christiansen .
The late F.X. Merkely, on the left in the photo above, with his partner (whose name Mr. Christianson did not know, on the right. From the Ford on the left, Mr. Christianson dates the time ca 1928-1929. And he remarks that the showroom was 'green' well before that was a national effort, with the single bulb hanging from the ceiling, with its long on/off cord suspended, too. Mr. F.X. Merkley was the father of Pat Merkley, Mr. Christianson's late wife. After Mr. F.X. Merkley sold his interest in Adair Sales to his brother Louis, he operated Columbia's Rialto Theatre, Columbia's sole picture show for many decades.Following below is the cutline used in the Mystery Photo Puzzler:
We'll wait until after 10amCT 6pmCT to post the fascinating information a reader sent - along with some questions - about this photo. In the meantime, the Mystery Picture fans are asked to send us the Street & Number and the town of the current location. A hint: it's in the center of the universe in the 7 county CM primary coverage area including Taylor, Russell, Metcalfe, Green, Cumberland, Casey, and Adair Counties, KY. Later today, but no earlier than 10amCT, we'll post the information which goes with it. And, to level the playing field, we don't know anyway in the world Ofc. Josh Brockman of the Columbia Police Department can use his detective skills to track down my whereabouts or anybody else's to pinpoint the location, though, ironically, there is a clue in that message for everybody. Laying on Al Jolsons side, as the late Steve Aaron was wont to say, we aren't expecting the real answer anytime soon. Use the Comments button with the photo to send guesses. - ED WAGGENER

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Columbia, KY landmark: 103-105 Campbellsville Street

2013-02-27 - 103-105 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener. The Glamourette Beauty Salon occupies one-half of a building with a long history in Columbia, KY. This building once housed the Adair Ford dealership, the home of the auto showroom in the accompanying Chuck Christianson photo. See also, See also: Adair Sales Co. - Ford Dealership, in in 1940s
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Adair Sales Co. - Ford dealership building in 1940s

2013-02-28 - 203-205 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from Tiffany and Eddie Kessler collection.
This photo of the Adair Sales Co. building which housed the dealership when it was owned by Louis Merkley and F.X. Merkley appears to be, from the 1940's model in front of it, to be from the mid to late 1940s. The photo is from the collection of pickers Eddie and Tiffany Kessler and is not for sale. Mrs. Kessler said they try they to keep all local collectibles.

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Adair Sales Co. - Advertising calendar 1940

2013-02-28 - 203-205 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of Larry Smith. Larry Smith, Operations Manager of FM 99.9, the Big Dawg, came across this advertising calendar for Adair Sales Co., the Ford Dealership located just off the Public Square for several decades in the mid 1900s.
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