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Early Columbia - Back when we were boys - IV - Jamestown ST.
In this installment Ralph Waggener takes readers out Jamestown Street and out Russell Road. The series has been a huge hit with CM readers, and this one just may be the best. It's in the territory where he grew up, on Jamestown Hill, and is sprinkled with dozens of stories you may never have heard - like how Leo Wheatley got J.D. Harper to always be open for breakfast for Leo's motel guests; how Darrell Young survived the great basketball court construction disaster, how Ralph himself jumped off he top of what is now Sheila Pyles drug store, and claimed a boyhood fortune from Mike Campbell - and many more anecdotes, mostly true and certainly true to the best of his knowledge of Ralph Roy and the fact checkers at CM. Read about some of Columbia's most fascinating personalities of the distant and not-so-distant past.
Next earlier: Ralph Waggener and Delmar Lee Jessie, Jr. : Back when we were boys - Early Columbia - Back when we were boys - III - Burkesville ST . Posted August 10, 2014.
By Ralph Waggener and Delmar Lee Jessie
Going out Jamestown Street from the Square
Back to the Square on Jamestown Street., if you where young and walking you had to see how far you could go out on the stone foundation of the Jeffries Hardware building before you had to jump off, It was a must do! Hudson "Beanpole" Willis had a radio repair shop in the lower part of Lerman's and was the voice of WAIN Radio because you never knew what he might say; he was the talk of the town for many, many years.
George Geschwind's Furniture was on the left and took up 2 buildings, and Wheat's Garage run by Luther Wheat and was the home to several mechanics over the years. Waggener Walker Newspapers bought the building later and installed a new 6 unit newspaper printing press; I help install it in and was the first to run it. I knew little about running a press but had been around them for several years when I went to get the company's many publications printed in other towns.
This nearly killed me trying to do something I knew little about. Waggener Walker was owned by my brother Ed Waggener and Cousin Pete Walker. I later bought a small interest in it.
Schrader's Adair Home Supply, was an Appliance and Furniture store run by Ashton Schrader, who always gave good deals and acted as the financer as well; our banks did not believe in small loans for poor people back then. You could not finance appliances at a reasonable rate back in those days, at least not at our local banks.
Cousin E. C. Waggener and partner James Reese ran the Aetna Service station for years, later James became partners with E C"s son Dan Waggener and they started Columbia Tire & Recapping. Later James retired and Oral Hancock became a partner with Dan for about 18 years. Oral sold out to Dan and started Hancock Tire on out Campbellsville Road, and his 2 sons joined him Troy and Alex. Numerous businesses were attracted to the area by Oral Hancock, who is rightfully proud of being the first to see the commercial location of the location. Everybody else followed. I have talked to Oral and he says Campbellsville Road would still be grown up in broom sage and blackberry vines if he hadn't been the Pied Piper who led, and everyone else came fighting to get close to his business. Columbia Tire is still in business, too.
The Dairy Queen was built by Oris Royce and later sold to Merle Reed who ran it for many years. Many a young girl worked there including my good friend Sue (Chatman) Sandusky. The building still stands and is in business today under a different name (not Dairy Queen) - Sweets & Eats.
A Sinclair Station was built by Charles Aaron of Russell Springs, KY and was supplied his bulk plant there. Harry Lee Dohoney was the first to run it, I believe. Billy Ray ran it most of the time for him, next a Mr. Lewis ran it and I be live he slept in the back at night. Later on my father-in-law, Harbert Gowens ran it for a while. Later Sherman Burton was there. Today it's Lynn's Service Center, owned by Lynn Franklin. It's the only full service gas and repair station in Adair County. Up the hill and across the branch a Convenient Store was built by Jerry Pyles and brother-in-law Larry Bryant and also a Car wash was built just below it, I think Randall Pyles built the car wash.
On the corner of KY 55 and KY E 80 - Road Eighty was he way we referred to it, is where I grew up. E Campbell's Columbia Supermarket with its adjacent Aubrey's Red A feed store next door, was located on KY 55 - Jamestown Street, just past the intersection, The Campbells lived above the store with their son, Mike.
A Standard Oil Station sat straight across from Campbell's store. The first person I can remember running it was Guy Moss, although several people operated this station including Harold Phelps who had a rain seeding machine that he took care of for someone else. The machine was suppose to seed clouds to make it rain; don't know if it ever worked. Charles "Friendly" Giles ran the Standard Oil station for a while before he got into G & G Motors with Homer Ray Goodin. The two men bought the Dodge Plymouth and Chrysler dealership along with the farm implement dealership and Massey tractor dealership; this was located four doors down from 55/80 junction and the building is still there.
An Ashland Service Station was built on land that E Campbell sold to Ashland and a small house that was there where the station was built was moved to behind it, the Bright family lived there for some time. Mike Campbell bet me a dime I would not jump off the top of the building when it was being built, into a pile of sand; boys will do dumb thing when they are challenged, I jumped and got my dime and was lucky not to get hurt.
John Beard had his carpentry shop which was across the street from our house at 705 Jamestown Street; John was one of those who could build anything with wood. This shop and his dad's house were bought and torn down and a Dr. Pepper bottling plant was built by Earl Huddleston, "Cotton" Phelps, and "Tottie" Corbin. The Jeffries Hardware store is located in the same building today. Rollin Pyles and Elbert Burton moved Jefferies from the Public Square. Jeffries is now owned by Leon Lewis and his wife Ann, who run it now. The electrical part of Jefferies is located in the basement and he built another building where the Beard house was for lighting show room. Jeffries Electrical part of the business has sales people who travel to a lot of counties outside Adair County.
This intersection of Jamestown Street and KY 80 was the first in all of Adair Co. to get a stop light. Many a night before it was installed, we would be awakened with the sound of screeching tires and then a crash, when unsuspecting drivers could not stop for the stop sign because, due to to where the stop sign was set you could not see it in time.
Adair Shell Oil Service Station was built by Hubbard Oil Company of Campbellsville in Miss Hattie Eubanks' front yard that was a long sloping yard where the dirt was removed down to a solid rock that covered almost all the site. This rock was smooth and about 6 inches above where new concrete was poured; never seen a rock so big and so smooth in my life. Several different people operated this station. Bill Loy was the most successful operator of this Shell Station until his untimely death in a car wreck in his beloved El Camino Car/truck.
Clyde Young moved here with his family from Paraguay and started Adair Builders Supply business, the long building ran from the Standard Station for a long distance down E Hwy 80. Later he added a cement plant that was located with a entrance on Hwy 55 and he lived there where the house was even with the top of the Standard Station. You could even walk out on its roof. His son Darrell was my brother Ed's age but I ran with Darrell a lot. Darrel and I cut 3 big limbs off of a big tree to hang a basketball goal that made one of the best outdoor courts in town. When we where sawing the limbs off we had a problem: both Darrell and I are two of God's chosen few; we both are blessed of being left handed and Darrell decided to saw part of the way through the limb while sitting on the part that would fall, and it did, with Darrell landing on the tailgate of his dads Ford pickup bending it into a nice round finish; and no, Darrell wasn't hurt!
Later after Adair Builders closed Coy Downey took over the building on 80 and opened Downey's Discount Center selling furniture and appliances. Thelbert Curry took over after Coy and he had worked for him many years. Thelbert later moved to the old skating rink building on 206 at the junction of N 55.
Later this part off of 55 was leveled to street level and George Keltner and his brother-in-law Ernest Finn opened the K & F Grocery store. A low rent housing project was built that was next on 55. My good friend Sammy Sandusky worked on this big project until its completion.
On out KY 55 there was a two story structure sitting very close to where the Bank of Columbia, Jamestown Street Branch is located today. It was never open in my life time but I was always told it was a grocery, maybe Mr. E. Campbell's original store. Ebbie Lawrence operated a distributing company and used the building as a warehouse; and I remember that Mr. And Mrs. Amon Squires and their daughter, Jo Ann, had an apartment over the warehouse at one time. Ebbie Lawrence made a few retail sales from the building - it is were we replaced basketballs made lopside when cars ran over them on Jamestown Street. He sold really good Voit brand rubber basketballs for about $4.95, I believe.
Dr. M. C Loy tore down the old George Simpson house and built a Medical Clinic that is now Westlake Primary Care. A machine shop run by Sine P. Turner was located about where the entrance to shopping center is located now. When you needed Sine P to repair something you needed to be careful how you asked him to do it; the correct way was to say "Sine, I don't know if you can fix this or not." You did not say, "I need this in a hurry or I need this by tomorrow;". No you had to present a challenge to Mr. Turner if you wanted him to repair it. Given the challenge, he most often could fix anything - that is if you asked him the right way.
Dr. Grant, a Veterinarian lived in the house at the corner of Gaskin St and S 55 for several years. I believe he ran this service from is truck and this house.
A Scotty's Restaurant was hauled here and set up for business where Pizza Hut is now, on the site of one of warmest people ever in Columbia, Mrs. George Harvey lived. Hamburgers which many said were better than White Castles, were served up 24 hours a day. The company was franchised out of Monticello. They were mobile units. As I remember, there was a shooting death at the restaurant, but I don't remember the details.
< The realty business owned by Chris Wilson known as Wilson's Golden Rule Real Estate & Auction Service was a small grocery store run by C D Martin before he became sheriff and was operated later by Edgar Curry for years until Brad Graham bought it and made it Food Chek Market, with perhaps the most popular meat counter in town.
Later South Central Printing, Inc bought it to expand into from the building on the corner that was owned by Luther Collins that we rented for 17 or 18 years. We moved South Central to 426 Wain Street later where the first WAIN Radio Station was located and the former Trinity Church about 18 years ago.
Bradshaw Shoes was on Gaston Avenue. It was run by Billy Bradshaw and was built much later; I believe he took over Mr. Ambly (Shot) Royce's shoe repair but not sure.
When Lake Cumberland Dam was built a Mr. Burris built wooden boats there. All I ever remember seeing where painted green, and I believe he had a contract with several docks on Lake Cumberland to supply the wooden boats.
Later Holland Harvey had his building supply before building a new building then Tyman Stevens had is pluming business located in this building and it has served several short lived businesses in its time.
Glinda and I started South Central Printing, Inc in this building and we pretty much re-built it adding central air and dropped ceilings up stairs. Later we poured some floor and waterproofed the wall and moved our printing and bindery part of the business into the basement.
When it rained very hard our whole family had to mop and push water out the back door. Eventually after we had moved to WAIN ST the whole building collapsed and now it's a parking lot for Golden Rule Realty. A Burger Queen, which later became Druthers which later became Dairy Queen, that became a BQ and is now empty on the corner of Gason Avenue and Jamestown Street. James Brockman, Gaylon Yarberry and Clifton McGaha. Charlie Roy and his wife Fran ran it for years and I think it was changed to a Dairy Queen while they ran it. The next owner ran it into the ground and it was closed.
The station in the curve that is now a garage ran by C J Holt and was a Standard Station he ran before the government stopped all competition in the gasoline business and ran all the independent operators out of business. It also was run as a Standard Station for years by Russell Arnold. His wife Bernice Waggener Arnold ran a Root Bear Stand where you could get cold mugs of root beer and great fried hot dogs and other good food.
Berniece Arnold's A & W Root Beer stand, was one of my favorite places to eat at that time. Before the station became a Standard Oil it was a Gulf Station ran by Reed Combest who also had a car dealer ship and I thank it was Plymouth and he sold tractors, Combest and his brother left town and became horse trainers and riders and both are well known in this trade. That big root beer keg is still in use, somewhere, I'm told.
Donnie's Drive-in It was built by Holland Harvey and named Donnie's after his youngest son, Donald Harvey, who became a very successful businessman.. Jim Yates and his wife Ruby bought Donnie's and changed the name to Jim Dandy's and was co-owned by Charles Hudson and Garnett Young along with Jim, Jim & Ruby's son Kerry ran it for a couple years, Kerry told me he was peeling potatoes and making corn bread when he was 6 years old. The next owners were Harold Gaddis and his wife Fay and it was call Harold's Steak House. The last to operate it was Betty Ollestad who has the now nationally famous Betty's OK Country Cooking restaurant on Hwy 61 N about three miles from the square. Betty owned and operated a Donut Shop on E Hwy 80 next door to where the Dollar Store on Russell Road, is now before she came to this location. The building was owned by Jimmy Reliford and he sold it so the Speedway for the present business.
Behind the Donnie's Drive in was Charles Osborne's Auction Barn that he ran there for years. Robert Bryant and his wife Doris ran a Harvey & Bryant Supply which sold house paint some hardware and most anything for the building business, this business was started by Holland Harvey who at that time was building houses on Harvey St and Tutt St. His daughter, Doris worked in this business as long as I can remember.
Petty Brothers Garage was in an old tin sided building that would be part of the Cumberland Parkway now, it was on the left side after the curve. Elmo Petty and his brother Malcolm ran it as well others. I think "Doc" Edwards sold used cars there for a while. C.M. Jones and his son Charles owned and operated a small gasoline station on the left just past Petty's. My wife Glinda's father Harbert Gowens worked there for several years. Later it was run by someone else and I can't remember who.
"Doc" Jones a livestock doctor, I don't know if he had a degree or not, but I do know he was a very colorful person. There were many a story about "Doc" Jones. His great grandson Barry Jones did a wonderful portrayal in one of the Silent City programs in the cemetery, I told. One story they told is that when the Square was made one-way, Doc continued to cut across from Jamestown Street to Burkesville without going around the courthouse. When the police stopped him and told him the square was now one-way, he got huffy, and told the police he was only going one way! Everyone knew him well. He was one of the all time beloved figures. He lived in a house where Barry & Patty live now. Doc's son was Paul Bradshaw Jones, the father of the late Circuit Judge Paul Barry Jones.
Next Mack Willis had a garage just beyond the Jones home where, if it needed fixing, he was the man to do it. Next door former County Judge Execuitive Jerry Vaughn's father Mark ran a service station. Mark died at a very young age and Jerry took over the business, I believe he was still in high school during this time.
Allen Moore & Sons Electrical business was located on around the curve on south 55 and is one of the more interesting places to visit in this area. The buildings hold a treasure trove of old electrical and other pieces that Allen, Joe and Terry have hauled in from discarded objects from the many jobs they have been on. The Moores have been some of the best at doing free work on Columbia projects; if needed they were always there to help. Columbia is so much better now because the family left Gradyville to come to Columbia.
Back to E KY 80, now Russell Road
Back to E Hwy 80 the Lakeway Motel constructed by Holland Harvey for owner Leo Wheatley and his wife,Charlotte Wilson Wheatley. Lakeway was the third motel in Columbia and stayed full most of the time. It is now Lake Way Apartments. The Hilltop Cafe was built across the street before Lakeway was built by, I believe, Jessie Keith. Later by Preacher Pickett operated the little cafe. The location never took off in a big way until Runie and Rual Wooten bought it. They had been to Texas and had seen a restaurant called the Circle R and it struck them as a good name and so this was the beginning of our Circle R restaurant. Sue Rowe and her husband ran it for a while as did others.
J D Harper. a long time business man here in Columbia who had managed the Kroger Store on the square, had a grocery in the building at the corner of Campbellsville St and Lindsey Wilson Hill and had an IGA on the square where the old Kroger was. He also started a Hardwood Flooring operation with William Sandusky's brother-in-law in the old skating rink building at the corner of 206 and KY 55 where Curry's Flooring Covering is now. As luck goes they picked a bad time because carpeted floors were just becoming popular these 2 men lost somewhere around $80,000.00 each on this business venture. This just proves the point: Never give up. No, never give up. Both men came back and prospered. The Circle R under J D's watchful eye prospered for about 40 years as one of the best restaurants in Kentucky, indeed in all the Southeast, which obviously, would make it the best ever, anywhere.
A story about how the Circle R became famous for its country ham breakfast and other breakfast items is quite interesting. Leo Wheatley had opened the Lakeway Motel and had been pestering J D to open for breakfast with no progress. The story goes that Leo brought over blue prints for a new restaurant he was going to build in front of the Lake Way if J D did not start opening for breakfast to feed Leo's customers. J D told him he did not have anyone to run it, and Leo replied I can take care of that, too. My sister-in-law Sylvia Wilson will do that for you, thus the Circle R started its long journey as one of the best breakfast restaurants anywhere. It also made Sylvia famous as the flower lady because she always wore a flower every day. The Brockman sisters Peggy and Vonda worked the restaurant with Vonda being one of the best breakfast cooks ever and Peggy was steady as a rock when it came to taking care of customers.
One of it many full time customers was A O 'Cotton" Durham who was the County Attorney for many years. Cotton would come in every morning down in the dumps, and one morning he came in and told us one of his friends had died. He proceeded to tell us that pretty soon he won't have enough friends to bury him when he dies, meaning not enough pallbearers. At that moment Hudson "Beanpole" Willis said with, his slight stutter he had, "Cotton, I Will and Cotton replied "why think you Beanpole I really appreciate that" while almost crying. Then Beanpole topped it off with "If, if you will pay me now" with this Cotton started beaming, and he was his old self after this and was happy again.
Beanpole was a regular at the Circle R. He drove a sporty little Ford Mustang, and carried a rope with him to hitch it to a drive-in curb pole. One evening J D came in, saw Beanpole sitting at his usual table, and asked, "Beanpole, have you been here all day?" Without a crack of a smile Beanpole replied, "No, I had to go up to Harold's (Harold's Steak House) for lunch!"
The Dairy Chick was built on the lot above the Circle R by Warren Webb and partner J D Harper and later became a bank and now is a donut shop.
Mr. Jones and his son Charles started a gas station just below the Lakeway when Charles was still a teenager. They later built another station on S 55, where, I believe, Milligan's is now located. Donald Sapp, who had worked for Joe Hutchison and Bill Ballou, bought the business and put in a automatic car wash; he had probably more loafers than customers. His younger brother, Doug Sapp helped him run the business as did David Mann, a close friend of Doug's. I'm sure there were others but I remember these the most. Doug and I became very close friends over the years.
The Gulf Station across Russell Road became a Phillips 66 Station and a bulk plant was built behind the station by Eddie Hill. Later Kenneth Dulin bought the Bulk Gas part and the Phillips 66 station was run by Tony Vitrano, according to Doug Sapp.
Hughes Motel was built by Kenneth and Cornelia Hughes after they had managed the Miller Hotel for years; this was the first motel in Columbia and was a big success. The Hughes family built a restaurant just below the motel that never did take off, however it had some of Columbia's biggest parties in the second floor and host several meetings. Cornelia was big in Democratic politics and did battle with her best friends Grover Gilpin and Pete Walker as well as working with them at times, these 3 Democrats made for some very interesting situation with all 3 trying to outdo the other, all were very savvy in the ways of politics.
It's almost forgotten that John F. Kennedy's mother was the honored guest a campaign gathering at the Hughes Restaurant in the 1960 presidential campaign.
The Dollar Store was built later on property just above Bettie's Donut Shop, The Harris Bros - Mitch and Wid - worked as barbers in this shop below the donut shop.
Larue Jessie moved his thriving Fruit Market from Reed Street to a much bigger new store on out E Hwy 80. For years he was on N Reed Street downtown, operating from the basement of what is now, I believe, the Adair County Community Voice building. After he moved to the larger Russell Road location, he built big walk-in coolers and was selling produce all over South Central Kentucky this time. "Happy" Ballou, his son-in-law, was a partner in this business.
Later on Dr Ronald P. Rogers had his practice in another building that is in the same parking lot as Jessie's Fruit Market. I don't what was in this building before; there is a Beauty shop now beside Dr. Rogers practice.
There was a gully on the other side of 80 and Dr. Rodger Smith and CPA John Pendleton contracted with Sammy Sandusky to build them an office building after clearing the gully and filling in to build a nice two story building, ground level on both, to house both their practices and provide more rental space. Both Smith and Pendleton can tell you a lot about the history of Columbia - and plenty more.
Gipsy Burton and later Elzie Johnson operated a well known business that set on the left side of 80 just above the banks of Russell Creek. Gipsy and Elsie were pretty smart operators and very likable men who ran their business very well and everyone was well versed in their usual inventory.
"Dagwood" Gore built a golf driving range in the field straight across from Harry Lee's station. This was new to Columbia and a few locals tried to see how Many golf ball they could drive in one evening, one man with a little help from consuming a beverage that was only sold at our local bootleggers here in Adair Co. drove over 500 golf balls, He was having a lot of difficulty moving for the next few days, not counting the headache. "Dagwood" also had skeet shoots that you used a shot gun to hit flying clays that went straight out from where you where standing; you would progress back 10 places as you shot.
Harry Lee Dohoney built a new Service Station on out Eighty just before the Russell Creek Bridge. He brought most of his customers with him and he and his brother Billy Ray serviced a lot of vehicles. I think it started as a Sinclair but I'm not sure. Harry Lee and Billy Ray were very likable as where the rest of their family Mildred Hodges and Maxine Vanhoy plus there other brothers Bob and Eugene, One day their dad Chris pulled up in his old car that was an early model with an automatic transmission and when he parked out front and was setting on the long bench that came from my brother's Bowling Alley business. The car started to roll off, Don England who worked for Harry Lee hollered to Chris that his car was rolling off, Chris reply was Oh, leave it alone. It will come back, while he just sat there, unconcerned. Don went and retrieved the old car.
The first miniature golf course was built just below the old Conover Lane entrance (it would now be above the entrance because the entrance was moved for the Cumberland Parkway and is an underpass now) Lynn Jeffries built this and it was a big hit for a while, at least I think it was Lynn. It was at a tense period in the Cold War when those Soviet Russians put up the first satellite orbiting the earth, they called "Sputnik," which put fear in everyone's heart when it streaked across the nighttime sky. Mr. Jeffries called his miniature golf establishment "Puttnik Miniature Golf Course," a name which surely was inspired by the Russian space craft.
Tom Tabor built a Health Food Store that was just across the Russell Creek but this to was much later. It was located in the building which is now part of the Ed Pipalski shop. One of the favorite products there was an elixir called "Ginseng Tonic." It made people feel good. It was maybe 15 proof, or whatever the law allowed.
Ten years is close enough a circa for me
I am not putting dates on anything because I'm just not good at remembering dates, if I get within 10 years of an event it would be pure luck. To me the dates are just not important as much as the actual being and the character of the people who ran the businesses.- RALPH ROY WAGGENER & DELMAR JESSIE.
Next installment: Out Campbellsville Street
This story was posted on 2014-08-21 10:52:08
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