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Early Columbia - Back when we were boys - III - Burkesville ST

In this installment Ralph Waggener takes readers out Burkesville Street, and cross streets, along Hudson Street to the Y, across Bomar Heights, with some Tutt Street - with interesting anecdotes from points along earlier installments.
Next earlier: Ralph Waggener and Delmar Lee Jessie, Jr. : Back when we were boys - Early Columbia, back when we were boys. Part II - Out Greensburg Street. Posted August 9, 2014.

By Ralph Waggener and Delmar Lee Jessie

Going out Burkesville Street from the Square

First, on Burkesville Street starting at the Square, on the left side leaving the square, was the Old Hancock Hotel, but in my time it was Ma Loy's Boarding House and restaurant, later torn down for Columbia's first Texaco Service Station, which was built there. Harry Lee Dohoney was the first to run it with the help of his younger brother, Billy Ray. after a slow start the Columbia Transmission natural gas pipe line came through Adair and Harry Lee got most all their service business. This pipe line was a boon to all business in Columbia.

(Grover Gilpin told me the pipeline had made a real big difference in the G&M Grill that I missed earlier. The G & M was next to the Columbian Theater. It was owned by Grover and his brother-in-law Irvin Monroe, who later sold out to Grover and moved to Cave City.) Harry Lee Dohoney was one of the few people I ever knew who, whenever he told a story, it was funnier than if anyone else tried to tell it. He was a very good story or joke teller and Billy Ray was the heart throb of many females in all of Adair County at a handsome young man.

Joe Hutchison ran an Aetna Service Station next door where a lot of young men got their start, including Bill Ballou. who ran it later and it changed to an Ashland brand. Bill became one of the most electable politicians to ever run for office and was elected Sheriff and later was Circuit Court Clerk for several years. His brother-in-law Davis Sexton ran the station several years until it was torn down and Richard Lee Walker built his Walker Realty office on this site. The Texaco station became the site of the Kentucky Farm Bureau, managed by J. U. Rogers.

Located behind Walker Realty is a small white building which was originally a whiskey dispensary, later Baker's Taxi Stand, and is still there as a storage building for the Columbia Street Department.

Across East Fortune Street, going south on Burkesville Street, the next station was a Columbia Gulf Service Station as long as I could remember and was owned and operated by Willard Cheatham.

Morris Epperson and Louis Merkley built a new Ford Garage for their Adair Sales Ford dealership, a 2 story building very modern for the day, and was later bought by Alford Flowers and he and his 3 boys ran it for several years; the boys were the oldest, Jimmy, now of Edward D. Jones fame; and then Robert, the Bank President, and the youngest brother, Joe Flowers, a rural mail carrier, all worked in this business until the recession of 1982. Don Franklin and his family took it over and it was moved to or Sugar Bill Road as it was known back then by locals, now it's on Hudson Street, or as Greensburg Road, as some still refer to it.

The house on the corner of Burkesville Street and Guardian Street was the show place home of Dr Woodruff Flowers and his wife Berniece Rickman Flowers, who was one of the best teachers, ever, in all our school system. Dr. Flowers, her husband, was one of the best doctors; he was my first doctor and a great man.

T.P. Cotton Phelps opened a large used car lot on the other corner and later built our new post office there; it is Downey's Eye Clinic now.

The Flowers house burned and the Hutchison and Walker homes next door in direction of the Square was torn down and a big Houchens Food Store which ran the full block of E. Guardian ST, from Burkesville Street to South Reed Street, except for a Laundry Mat. Kenneth Scott was the first manager of the Houchens Store. The first Houchens building burned and was one of the biggest fires ever, other than when The Miller Hotel burned, A new structure was built back in the same place, Many the Houchens employees made as much as several million dollars because of the actions of its owner Rual Houchens gave them stock over the years and the ESOP (Employee Owned Stock Option Plan) company made a lot of good investments.

Back to the square on Burkesville Street, on the West Side going South from the Square, a new building was constructed by C.D. Wethington and his wife Anna on a lot where a residence (and perhaps another). The building was a two stories, with retail on the ground floor, offices upstairs. It housed the White Cash Market, owned by Pete Walker and Dagwood Gore, which moved there from the Square. Howard Cheatham started a new Western Tire Auto Store in space nearest the Square. Later this part became Vaughn's Smart Apparel, operated by Elsie Vaughn and later by Louise Brock and still later by my niece Mitzi Bault, before she moved her clothing store Mitzi's to the Square in the old Firestone store, which is now Red Brick Studios.

Farmers Home Administration offices were housed in the upstairs part of the building and maybe other farm agencies such as the Soil Conservation District, headed by Ray Partin at the time.

On the corner of Burkesville Street and W. Fortune Street, there was a handsome brick residence which housed the Public Library. The library occupied only part of the building. There was an apartment in the back of the building where Payne Garvin, the long time projectionist for the Columbian Theatre lived. The house was later torn down and a First & Farmers Bank is now located there.

Across Fortune Street on Burkesville there was The Columbia Methodist Church, which today takes up the whole block. In earlier days, in the fifties, the block included The Morris Epperson Home, the Methodist Parsonage, the white frame Methodist Church, then the Allen Walker residence, and. on the corner of Burkesville and West Guardian, the beautiful home of the Holland Coomer family. It had a beautiful wrought iron fence and it was once the home of a U.S. Congressman, George A. Caldwell twice elected U.S. Congressman, according to historian Vonnie Kolbenschlag (See: Walking Tour Of Columbia: Part II

Up West Guardian there was Dr. George Otis Nell's family medical office; the building is still there. Draper & Bell had a warehouse for their business off Monroe; they had Little Debbie trucks routes going out to other counties just as Durham Wholesale and Columbia Candy Company. Columbia Dairies,, owned by Billy Cundiff, which was later owned Cumberland Dairies, was in this building behind Doc Nell's at one time, and during that time milk was delivered each morning all over Columbia. Kimble Bradshaw, Noel "Gabby" Hayes, assisted by Paul Hayes, his son who was later editor of The Adair County News, The Columbia Statesman and Daily Statesman Newspapers, and The Adair Progress, and Charles Marshall - maybe even Charles Sparks were some of the people who delivered dairy products to homes all over town from this location from time to time. (I'm wondering, but I think for a time there even competing dairy trucks in Columbia; possibly Southern Bell?)

(Speaking of which, there were a lot of businesses serving a wide area out of Columbia. Joe Allison's Nu-Art Studios, downtown in what Harvest Cafe today, was in the basement on the square was another business that traveled to cities around and picked up camera film that he would develop and then return to businesses to sell this service to their local customers. A lot of business was done from Columbia including bread and milk routes that where based here. I remember Tommy Giles and Glenn Reeves worked out of The Ashland Station on Jamestown Street across from my home, when Harry Lee Dohoney ran it delivering Colonial Bread.)

The Meadow Hill Inn was one the most popular restaurants ever by this time in Columbia, it was run by Bill and Maxine Walker and later added a Flower Shop it's most popular time was the late 40's and 50's.

Luther and Dorothy Collins built Dream Land Motel, a new and modern place for tourists and traveling salesmen to stay; he built a building that housed the Farmer Home Administration offices; that was when Danny Propes got his start, following after John Shelly.

Luther built a small drive in pharmacy in the middle of this complex that is Adair Pharmacy now.

The Farmers Home building has been remodeled in to one of the finest restored properties in Columbia by Lewis Transport that was housed in the upstairs of city hall for years. It got its start on Reed Street where Durham Wholesale is now run now by Danny Waggener.

Joe Glowacki ran a small grocery store, very important to the neighborhood, just beyond the Hudson (Greensburg St.) exit but on the left side of the road.

Lindsay Daugherty ran the Standard Oil Bulk plant for years and later sold out to K.I. Riddle who was from Burkesville, KY.

On past this business where the Columbia Post Office is located now, Kermit Grider built the Mark Twain Shopping Center, with one big building, to house an IGA grocery for some time, first operated by Gayle Reynolds; later it was was a Furniture Store.

Robert Taylor was sold "Whole Hog Sausage" at his butcher shop as well as other pork. He had a thriving restaurant nearby. Robert had a pet monkey and at some time he was harassed by a health officer about the monkey being in the business but the monkey stayed. The health officer took terrible "Heat" from his many friends for this big health issue.

Hudson Street or Sugar Bill Road it has been called over the years: Haskin Coomer & Son gas station and tractor dealership: Haskin and Norman both liked to buy and sell anything they could; they traveled over many states to find things to sell. When I was collecting for Courier Journal & Louisville Times one day I found myself in need of a toilet, and being in the Hudson Addition and Haskins Station being the closest place, and traveling on a bicycle I headed for there in a very big hurry, I jumped of the bike and opened the men's room door in a hurry! Startled by a lady with her panties pulled down I ran back out, only to remember that they had a mannequin of female style fully dressed with her panties down.

Haskin's Bear Haskin also had a bear that he kept there and one day he took it to the Hwy 80 end of Meat Skin Road and told everyone that he had got to mean to keep and he was going to turn him loose. Now this was Haskin at his best when he had someone come to Meat Skin Road on the Hwy 61 end to pick up the bear and then Haskin drove back out the 80 end with no bear! He told people who asked about the empty truck where the bear was, and Haskin would tell them the bear had gotten mean, and he had to get rid of it.

Collins Upholstery Shop is beside Haskin Coomer & Son, a building supply company now owned and operated by Norman's son Steve is where the gas station was.

Paul Curry ran an upholstery shop on out close to the old "Y"; where the Church of Christ pastored by Bro. Rickie Williams is located. now it's the junction of the bypass, Greensburg road coming and going. This has become a very dangerous intersection since the it was changed!

Jimmy Downey and Son Lumber, Inc. has been an important business for a long time, in an industry whose importance to the economy of Adair County is too often overlooked. Not sure when he started it.

Going back toward Burkesville Street, Felix Cole had a country style store there as well and Kenneth Cundiff built City Supply and Cement Company where my brother-in-law, Carl "Cricket" Coomer loaded the cement mixers for many years. Later Kenneth Cundiff's brother Nolan Cundiff bought it and it is still in business today.

Mrs. Mattie Baker had the county's biggest antique business that she ran from her home. Mattie was known for expertise on antiques all over the state. A feed mill and a gas station was operated by Tom Tabor, one of the most enterprising individuals ever in Adair County. A large sign on the side of his main building, where Udell's Fruit Market is today, listed a number of subidiaries under "T.A. Tabor Enterprises." There were maybe five or six. Along about the time Mr. Royce made it big in the Dairy Queen business and Raymond Pendleton had a competing Taystee Treat soft ice cream business, Mr. Taylor opened a Tasty Twirl in his feed store.

I believe Bill McLendon and Harold Dean Willis and Bill McClendon, and later Homer Goodin ran the milling company for awhile; McClendon and Willis changed the name to M & W Milling it was located where Udell Shirley started the fruit market which is there now.

A new Standard Oil Service Station was built by the Standard Oil Company on the corner of Hudson St and Hwy 61. Stanley Rich and a partner ran it for years; now it only sells gas and snacks. Lee's Famous Fried Chicken was, I believe the first fast food restaurant built in Columbia and has better fried chicken in my mind then KFC. South Central Printing gets to print their 4 color flyers, so I might be somewhat biased.

Across Bomar Heights Cantrell Rogers ran a small restaurant on the Burkesville end of Bomar Heights Street that was a favorite place for young people to get a late night snack.

The Adair Memorial Hospital was built because two local politicians had boasted at the old G & M Grill that they could get it done. After leaving the grill Pete Walker and Grover Gilpin talked it over and decided to go see their good friend Governor A B "Happy" Chandler and see what help he could give them. Happy told them there was no way that he had the money set aside to build his A B Chandler Hospital at The University of Kentucky.

More haggling came about and one of them asked Happy when he would start his hospital, he told them in about two years.

This is where the deal was made when they ask Happy if he could put the money already set aside on interest to raise the $100,000.00 needed to build our Adair Memorial Hospital, Happy said, "By golly that would work." Thus, we got our hospital built. This was told to me by both men at different times.

Later Summit Manor Nursing Home was built beside the old Adair Memorial Hospital and is still in business.

Dr. Oris Aaron had offices on one of the streets leading down to Tutt Street from the hospital.

On Tutt Street there was a Feed and Fertilizer business that is still there. Hugh Yates had his well drilling business and it was ran from his home as well as one other building on Tutt Street, that sits in a big field and is still standing. - RALPH ROY WAGGENER & DELMAR JESSIE.

Next installment: Out Jamestown Street

This story was posted on 2014-08-10 06:46:01
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