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JIM: Bedsteads & binder twine: Columbia's Right Angle store

History, Adair County, 1919: Enter Mr. Ezra Cheatham, late of Cumberland County, onto the mercantile scene in Columbia, KY, with the advent of his partnership with Mr. G.H. Nell in the established but now newly named Right Angle Store


The autumn of 1918 saw the dissolution of the Columbia firm Nell & Son, Nell fils (Guy Yates) choosing to pursue other business interests. In October, the elder Mr. Nell (G.H.) sold a one-half interest in the business to Mr. Ezra E. Cheatham, who early in that year had removed his family from Cumberland County to near Columbia.

The Messrs. Nell and Cheatham named their new enterprise the Right Angle Store, but the range of products carried would have quite justified the title Every Angle Store. An ad in the News from ninety-five years ago this week (June 11, 1919) stated, "Our two large lower floors are kept filled with the best groceries, fresh meats, tinware, crockery [and] hardware" and went to mention "We have just added to the above line."

(Another part of the ad pointed out they carried both staple and fancy groceries. The latter, according to indisputable fount of knowledge Wikipedia, consisted of "processed canned, jarred and bottled food products.")

In addition to the eclectic merchandise mentioned above, the ad touted availability of the following items:

Rubber roofing, both Tee-Pee and Floroid brands in one, two, and three-ply thicknesses;

Wagons, harness, bridles and breeching;

Grass Seeds;

Fertilizer:--best grades from $1.50 to $2.25;

Cooking ranges and stoves;

Furniture, carpets, rugs and druggets;*

Kitchen cabinets, china closets, enameled and brass bedsteads, chairs, rockers, dining tables, bed room suit[e]s;

Sewing machines, clocks, oil stoves and binder twine.

A front page "news" blurb informed readers the gentlemen in charge of the store had otherwise recently added to their line of trade to encompass such sundry items as fish buckets, minnow seines, watches, and pistol fixtures.

Thursday or Saturday evening shoppers could also take in a movie. Mr. Nell was part owner of the Paramount Theatre, which at that time featured entertainment exclusively from Bluebird Photoplays, a subsidiary of Universal Film Manufacturing Co. (later Universal Pictures). Unfortunately, no ad appeared specific to that week's movie, but possibilities include (among many others) such films as 1918's "A Society Sensation," in which a young Rudolph Valentino appeared in his only comedic role, and "The Light of Victory," a World War [I] drama released in March, 1919.

* Without a doubt, were the Messrs. Nell & Cheatham still around they would profusely apologize for the use of this now-archaic disyllabic word.

This story was posted on 2014-06-08 11:30:22
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