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Mike Watson: Country stores... Part I
The Adair County Historian compiles a long list of these mainstays of communities. Today's list is Part 1, which he says will be continued at a later date. We hope sooner than later. Great reading for today, and to savor in a studious read on a rainy day. Note: I'm wondering if there is a longer continuous lineage of any store in Adair County than that of my grandfather, L.R. Chelf, who founded his store at Knifley in the early 1900's. The business continues today as Baker's Grocery - a great tradition in itself. -EW
Click on headline for complete installment, the first - of several, we hope, on the subject - from Mike Watson. -CM
By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian
The Country Store has always been the backbone of any community. With the loss of so many of these grass-root businesses in the past thirty or so years, the rural areas of our county and state have suffered immeasurably.
There was a time when one could not drive more than three or four miles without passing such an establishment. Now, there are few to be found. That is why we should all patronizes these stores, and any hometown businesses. Liberty Road General Store & Deli, featured in CM in the past few days, brings to mind my own experiences at local county stores of my youth, including, but not restricted to the following: Mr. Stanley Rosenbaum, at Fairplay; Fred Pickerell, at Gadberry; O.G. Rowe and Clarence Bean, both at Chance; Rollin Coomer's Trading Post, at the neck of Harvey Ridge; Harrison & Carrie Bledsoe, at Cundiff; Sam Aaron, at Glensfork...
The store close by our home was operated in the late 1960s and early '70s by Mr. Gilbert Smith and son, Ralph. This store began with Woodrow Lawhorn in the late 1940s, later operated by Mr. Ruel Page, then Charlie Wheeler, then the Smiths. When the store moved in the early '70s, the Smiths reopened down the road, near their home, and continued in business for some years.
Several years ago, Ernestine Smith Bennett compiled two volumes on old country stores that operated in Adair County in the twentieth century. The two volumes are filled with photographs and short stories on the lore and the people of our times.
The following is a very brief list of some of the community stores that operated in Adair County at the turn of the last century. Some stores may be lost to memory if we don't reflect now, and save our past.
Jack Gowen operated a country store at Basil in 1916.
This story was posted on 2013-07-11 07:52:13
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