Friday, April 5, 2013

The Ulmer Company -- Home of Chevrolets and Buicks and Pure Gasoline

Both photos from the Don Jackson Collection at the LLF Library

"The Ulmer company is located in a long, low building with 6 bay areas. There are some gas pumps but it looks to be more than just a gas station. Judging by the cars, the date may be in the 1940s. This shows the company work truck." -- Library caption.

These two have me completely stumped as to where this business might have been, although I have my theories. I am thinking the truck in the second photo is circa 1948.  The cars in the first photo, frankly, appear to be older.

As always, comments welcomed here or on Facebook.  


  1. I have another answer, courtesy of Sonny Passmore. He says this building is no longer there, but was at one time across from where the current courthouse stands. According to Sonny, the far right side of the picture later became Kees Motor Co/Buick. He said that Mr. Kees orignally sold Chryslers in a building that was north of Monticello St, and later bought this building at the other end of the street from the Ulmers as the Buick dealership.

  2. Aha! I suspected as much, Caroline! The two-story part of the building is now gone and was replaced by a one story, correct?

  3. Rivers and Minnie Ulmer were a couple about the age of my parents. They had two daughters; the older one, Cindy, was a friend of my sister, Kathy. The Ulmer family moved away in late 50's or early 60's.

  4. You are correct, Sukie. It was replaced by a one story. Maybe, there was another fire in the history of Ole Brook that took that building. It was a rather substantial building to have just been torn down. Sonny said that building was already gone when he moved to Brookhaven in 1952. Maybe that is why the Ulmers left Brookhaven. There is a row of small office buildings on that side street, now. With reference to the Buick sign in the upper right side, I remember that sign (minus the "Chevrolet") still there when Gerald Kees owned the Buick dealership. There was a second entrance to the garage around the corner from Cherokee St., and that sign was above the building on that side. The entrance was just across the street from an Ice cream/snowball/hamburger place. Does anybody remember that? You could order from windows on either side, and I think it was owned by a Jordan family. I can still remember the faces of the couple that owned it. When I was little, the white people ordered from the window on the west side, and the black people ordered from the window on the east side!

    1. I absolutely remember that food stand(I think it was either bright green or bright yellow)....mostly I remember the snowballs there. I can't say that I remember the two windows. The shoe repair shop and Paul's Fish Market were in the small building just to the east of the snowball stand.

  5. I recall visiting a cousin and her husband who lived in an apartment on
    the second floor of the Ulmer building in 1947. (I don't know how many apartments were there.) Also, a family friend (Mr. Marley Grice) was bookkeeper at Ulmer Chevrolet during that time period.

    Bob Montgomery - McKenzie, Tennessee
    BHS Class of 1953

  6. Awesome comments, y'all! just awesome! Love this!

  7. The two-story building is still there, just hidden. It was simplified at some point, and a one-floor modern addition replaced all the service bays, probably in the 1960s? See the Google street view: or the Bing bird's eye view:

    It always stuck out to me as a kid, because when we parked nearby for the Christmas parade, I wondered why there was a 2-floor building "in the middle of the block." :-)