Friday, August 31, 2012

Up in Smoke

From the C.W. Witbeck Collection at MDAH.  Street Scene, W. Cherokee Street, Brookhaven. Date unknown, most likely very late 1800s, early 1900s. Note Seavey & Sons on the side of the building that would later be home to Woolworth's.

Also from C.W. Witbeck collection. Easter Sunday arson fire, March 1951, which destroyed the Masonic Temple, built circa 1899, on W. Cherokee at the far end of the block.  
Eighteen years later, fire that destroyed two five and dimes side by side: Morgan & Lindsey and F.W. Woolworth's, early 1969.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

America's Pastime During the "Dead Ball" Era ...

From the C.W. Witbeck collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Back when Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner were American sports heroes ... Brookhaven had its own.
Here is a vintage photo of McGrath’s Baseball Team of 1911. The caption reads simply: "Warren Brown, 3rd from right, and other team members."

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Warren Brown, the only person identified in the caption, is Samuel Warren Brown Sr., the father of Samuel Warren "Boots" Brown.

If I am incorrect in my assumption, please send me a message either here or on my Facebook page and I will issue a correction.

For those of you, like me, who know zilch about baseball's history,  please see this link for more information on the "Dead Ball Era."

UPDATE: The man with the mustache is John William (Willie) McGrath, 1861-1992, a well-loved, well-respected man in town.  So much so, the citizens erected a statue in his honor and it stands today in Railroad Park, facing the old McGrath's building. He was the "the executive head and unofficial PR man" for the store founded by his father.  Source: Becker Family Reunion Book of 1994 via Bettie Hatcher Cox.  Thanks, Bettie!

A Jewell of a Building -- Updated

The Jewell Campbell Building
From the C.W. Witbeck Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  
The date is recorded as March 19, 1951.  

The building today.  Photo courtesy of Marti Parker.  For years it was the home of MP&L. Today is it houses Center Point Entergy.

UPDATE: This building is located on South Railroad Avenue and was originally home to the town's first Coca-Cola Bottling Company.  (Jewell Campbell, a builder and developer and owner of Dixie Lumber Co., served as Mayor of Brookhaven from 1949 to 1953.)

I learned of the building's original use when I happened to be flipping through Durr Walker's history book on Lincoln County when I noticed a photograph on page 78, depicting the Ulmer Company in the same location with the same sign on the building front as shown in the second photo here.

Next to Ulmer Company is a mule-drawn wagon loaded with Coca-Cola cases, standing in front of a transom-windowed building with Coca Cola signs and logos covering much of the front upper facade.  The caption identifies it as the town's first Coca Cola bottling plant.  The photo was taken in the 1940s, and the wagon was being used because of gas-rationing during WWII.

Below is a rather poor photograph I took of a picture hanging in the rear room of the Iron Horse restaurant, run by Gregg Woodcox. It is labeled circa 1920.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oooh, Oooh! What's Their 10-20?

From the C.W. Witbeck Collection at the MDAH Online Collection
Patrolmen Brewer and Underwood of Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, District 9, Brookhaven, MS, 1949. 

I do believe this is Brown's Cafe, but if I'm wrong, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.  Thanks! 

Update: While there were more than one "cafe" in the South that looked like this during this era, assuming this caption means the photo was taken in Brookhaven, then the consensus is this is Brown's at Highway 51 and Union.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bric a Brac and All of That

From John Holly Williams Collection, LLF Online Collection
This place looks so familiar, as do the faces of the man and woman.  The library reports no date, location or other information. The man's necktie would imply the 1940s or the early 1950s.  Any suggestions that would help identify this photo further are most welcome.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Car 54 Where Are You?

From the C.W. Witbeck Collection at the MDAH online collection.

Patrolman Garner stands beside patrol car of District 9, Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, 1949.

May I Have an RC Cola and a Moon Pie, Please?

 From the Don Jackson Collection at the LLF Regional Library.

No date, no location. Any information that might bring this old country store into focus is most welcome!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gin Rummy!!!

Playing cards and passing time at the Fire House, March 13, 1952.  From the C.W. Witbeck Collection at the MDAH online collection.
According to Jimmie Meese Moomaw, author of Southern Fried Child, and who lived at the fire house as a young girl, "The one on the left is Red Myers, who was the Chief.  He and Miss Mary lived upstairs over the fire station.  There were two apartments.  We were in the other one.

"I don't recognize the one in the middle, but I remember the scene well ... the card table, the cards and the old guys playing."

Jimmie says the man on the right is William (Bill, aka "Honey') Godbold Sr., who served as mayor for many years, as did his wife and his son, Bill Jr.  "Big Bill" operated a service station on the same corner as the First Baptist Church, according to Jimmie.

Johnston Lawn Mower Corp.

The top two photos are from the LLF Library's  Don Jackson collection, date probably circa 1953, when the building was dedicated.  The bottom photo of an old advertisement I dug up online almost a year ago, I unfortunately failed to note the source.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, Wait ... It's a Man on a WIRE?

This is a postcard in the local library collection, with no further information as to date, location, and why??  Based on the clothing of the men standing by the cart, I am guessing it was taken in the 1920s. Pole sitting was popular then, (see this link for more information on that) and I am wondering if this is not a variation on that theme.

Any information that would help us understand this photograph/postcard is welcomed!

The next question is: does anyone recognize this house as a Brookhaven home?  The hilliness from the street level to the porch area is interesting but makes me wonder if this is even from/about Brookhaven.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where in the World is Walley's

From the Don Jackson Collection at LLF, Date Unknown.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hot Tin Roof

This is the library's caption: A quiet rural home typical of earlier Mississippi homes. The wood structure has a chimney on the left, and a high-pitched tin roof. A woman stands in the yard. In handwriting on the back is the word "Grandma." This is probably the grandmother of John H. Williams. Identified by several people as the former home of Jim and Val Home.

Anyone know any more about this house, especially where it might have been? Or Mr. Williams' grandmother?  I know from other photos that he was reared by his paternal grandfather.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

February 1945, WWII Is Almost Over, and Chess Is All the Rage

Two men playing chess with an older lady watching. Copy made for L H Bowen. Date Feb 1945. From the John Holly Williams Collection.

Photo of young people taken at a youth center for Mrs Houston Case. Date 2/9/1945. From the John Holly Williams Collection.
Not sure why chess was such an obsession at this time in Brookhaven, but according to one chess website, World War II was almost over and there was an involvement of European chess players and code breaking at this point. Duly noted was a statement on the same website that censorship was not as strict at this time.  

Perhaps Americans at home were intrigued by the reported code breaking and drawn to chess as a result? That is pure speculation on my part, so please don't take that as gospel -- more research is needed. Suggestions as to why this phenomena occurred are welcome and any help in identifying the people in the photos is also encouraged!

Mom & Pop -- Milk and Biscuits and Quite Possibly, a New Deal on Tap????

This undated photo is from the John Holly Williams "old school" collection at the local library.  Although everything appears to be from the 1920s or even earlier, to my eye the picture directly behind the man looks a lot like a presidential photo of FDR, who took office in 1933.  The Vories Biscuit company, as seen in the tin behind the lady in the plaid shirt, was located in New Orleans, and dates back a lot further than FDR.  The crepe paper bell would indicate it is close to Christmas, but other than that, it's hard to even guess what and where this eatery might have been?  My gut is suggesting it could be associated with the logging industry, given the appearance and ample use of yellow pine, but I've been wrong before.

All suggestions and even speculation welcome!

Others have suggested that the photo is of Herbert Hoover, which, given the Depression Era during his watch, actually ticks more of the boxes. 

I just read an ad from a 1915 newspaper that guaranteed that the milk was "sanitary," which was apparently "code" that tuberculosis would be warded off, as a result. 

The Dixie Springs Cafe 1940s

From right to left: Jim Carruth and wife Gussie Godbold Carruth. The two men are car hops Ed and Dave, last names unknown, and the lady, "Shorty" was Elmer Flowers.  Thanks to Paul Ott and Lu Becker for help with identities.  Photo from the Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library Don Jackson Collection.

The Carruths opened what is believed to be the first fast food restaurant in the South, The Coffee Pot, in Brookhaven in the 1920s.  They, along with sons Lester and Bubber, later opened the Dixie Springs Cafe on beautiful Lake Dixie Springs.  This interior shot  was made in the 1940s.

Paul reports that at one point, the family considered removing the oversized coffee pot from the old cafe in Brookhaven and installing it on the roof of this business, but in the long run, decided to leave it in place.  It's a good thing, because the Dixie Springs building burned to the ground in the 1970s, and an historic piece of advertising art, one of the few remaining from that era, would have been lost with it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Very Unusual House ... Still Standing

From the LLF Collection of John Holly Williams ...

Note the three stars on one gable and the single star on the other.  There is no way of telling /knowing if this house was in Brookhaven or if Mr. Williams merely copied a photo of a home elsewhere for one of his customers.  Still, I put this out there in the hope someone may recognize the house and help identify it. 

UPDATE: I am told by a little bird that this house still stands at W. Chickasaw and Becker!  A Google Street View shows that it appears to have lost its second story, along with a lot of its gingerbread charm and gained an annex on the right, AND the chimney has been moved from one side to another.  Other than that, it's still among us ...  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grand Opening! Bane Drugs! And the Whole Town Turned Out!

Don Jackson photos from the LLF Library Collection

Who can forget the lunch counter (soda fountain) in the left hand rear of the store?   The ice cream was served up in little scalloped metal bowls and the vanilla always sported fun little ice crystals as a surprise in the sundaes!

The exact date is unclear according to the Library files, but judging by the cars in the pictures, it's the early 1950s.  And yes, note the neon on the sign.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Curb Service and, YEP, Neon TOO!

Location still unknown, but the food was savored by those who were about five or six years old in roughly 1948 or 1949. A "slot machine" was on premises and was used with great delight by said pre-schooler, who enjoyed eating here with her grandfather and grandmother. 
Note the neon light about even with the white skirt in the dark of this photo:  it says Travis on enlargement.  This would make the location near Janie's present day location.  This accident occurred at the end of the 1940s. 
Note the Travis Cafe sign just north of Lofton's.  Date unclear, but note cars and the arrival of Bane Drugs, probably in the early 50s.

Top photo from the Don Jackson collection at LLF.

Someone with  a sense of history needs to ride to the rescue and explain the different locations/dates of the Travis.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More Neon at Night

From the Lincoln, Lawrence, Lawrence Library Collection.
Date unclear -- probably the 1950s, located next to the State Bank.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Tiger in Your Tank & A Hula Girl at the Pump!

All photos from the Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library Don Jackson Collection

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Magic Carpet Made of Steel -- Updated

From the John Holly Williams Collection, LLF Library Archives.
After I found the above gem online, I Googled ICRR 1296.  What I turned up conflicted with something found by an old friend and colleague, Joe Gambardello. Said he:   "It was built by the Baldwin Locomtive Works, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1918. It was a 2-8-2, known also as a Mikado class, steam locomotive. The numbers mean it had 2 leading wheels, 4 drive wheels and 2 trailing wheels. Its Baldwin No. was 49404. In 1942, ICRR renumbered it 1808. It was sold for scrap in May, 1954."

Joe, who works for the Philadelphia Inquirer, added: "The Philadelphia Inquirer Building (our home until June) was built on the Baldwin site after the company moved to Eddystone in the 1920s."

I trust Joe's information over the cryptic information I initially posted, which mentioned "Lima."
I am not clear whether this locomotive pulled passenger cars or freight, or both.  Note that the "cow catcher" has seen better days.  I am sure the same could be said for the cows.

From the Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library Archives -- Don Jackson Collection
Let us not forget the "25 Sacks of Mail ..."  No date is available for the above photo, although the automobiles would imply the late '40s or very early '50s.

As I noted on my Facebook page, I claim poetic license in referencing Steve Goodman's lyrics to Riding on the City of New Orleans.  This is not to imply this train had anything to do with that particular ICRR service.  (More on that iconic north/side ride in a subsequent post ...)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shirley Slipper Shop -- Say THAT Three Times Really Fast

From the John Holly Williams Collection/Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Haute Couture -- in Neon! -- UPDATED

Anyone care to guess why I chose this photo?  Recognize the lady with the pocketbook over her arm?  Consensus among family and friends is that is my mother.  My guess the photo was taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s, before I was born.  (The guess is based, believe it or not, on her eyeglasses style.)  Thanks to some really good sleuthing on the part of my Facebook friends, (thank you Lynne Holmes Lofton and Holly Pappas), we have determined that the location is 208 South Whitworth.  This building was recently remodeled by Johnny Lynch and returned to a look closer to its original front.
LLF Archives, from the Don Jackson Collection

Photo courtesy Deenie Tallant. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


From the John Holly Williams Collection at the Library.  Former First Presbyterian Church. 

Built in 1906-1907, the former First Presbyterian Church is an example of the Gothic Revival auditorium plan with "four short, pyramidal-roofed towers," with windows adorned by "unusually broad, low Gothic arches" -- this according to Sherry Pace's Historic Churches of Mississippi.  (A special Thank You to Danny Dickey for that information.) (Note the above postcards make it appear that one tower is much higher than the other, when in fact, they are the roughly same height in the Williams photo.)

This structure has been "abandoned" for years and for sale for almost as many.  There was worry that roof and mold issues would deter anyone interested in purchasing it.

To rescue came Mimi Roberts Zeini and her husband, Asem.  For further reading, please see this link to the Daily Leader article on the sale. 

And for a little bit of trivia:

Before the current structure was built in 1906 at S. Jackson and W. Chickasaw, the above white steepled structure was its predecessor and was, according to some sources, the first house of worship in town, though other sources state the First Methodist was the first. (That is a debate for another day.)  This  structure was located at Monticello and Second streets and, according to at least one source, was torn down in 1879.  What structure was used as a house of worship in the intervening years is unclear.

This last photograph was found in the Stewart collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.