Sunday, May 13, 2018

Remembering Some Of Our Older Businesses

In August of 1983 two new businesses were opening up in what was known as Darben Plaza, created by Darrell Jent.  

Crittenden Press, August 4, 1983.  Two new busineses are expected to open soon in the former Tresslar Home and Family Center building in Marion's Darben Plaza.

Family Dollar, a Charlotte, N. C. based variety chain, will open a store here at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 11, and a Pizza Hut restaurant plans to be in operation by late September.

The 12,000 sq. ft. area formally used by Tresslar has been divided into a 9,000 saq ft. section for Family Dollar and a 3,000 sq. ft. area for Pizza Hut.

Over the past few weeks, carpenters have been preparing the Family Dollar portion of the building for its grand opening, and this week merchandise is being placed in the store.

Al Boyd, former Tresslar manager, has been named as manager of the store here, which will be Family Dollar's 23rd store in Kentucky.

The store will carry merchandise geared toward family and home needs, including clothing and shoes, health and beauty aids, housewares, school supplies, candy, toys, paint, a sewing department, and auto supplies.   It was a great store for a small town like Marion to have. 

What is so unique about these two stores is that they both, Pizza Hut and Family Dollar Store are still open and doing business.  

Through the years, other stores that were located in the plaza weren't so fortunate and had to close, there have been a department store, a video store, and others, one of my favorites, and during the seventies was really popular, was a great dinning place called "The Rustic Inn."   It was a great restaurant with really good food.

CVS Drug Store is the only other business still active in the area known as Darben Plaza.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Lafayette Fluorspar Company

Crittenden County, KY., once known for being the largest fluorspar producing area in the nation.

Our fluorspar history is quickly being forgotten, as the generations of families that remember these times are also quickly fading away.

From the archives of the Crittenden Press we can go back to the mid 1920's and learn of some of the things that were happening at that time.  Exciting things were beginning to happen in the Mexico and Frances community with the coming of the LaFayette Fluorspar Company.

June 1923 -The Press in behalf on the people of Marion and the mining interests of Crittenden County, welcome the advent of the LaFayette Fluorspar Company into this county. The company has taken over a considerable part of the property of the Kentucky Fluorspar Company, one of the first mining companies organized here in recent years, and has begun to set the wheels of the mining industry revolving at an increased velocity. All this has taken place in the last few weeks and at the expenditure of large sums of money. 

Crittenden County has embedded beneath her soil the finest quantity of fluorspar and other minerals, it is hoped that the new company, possessing all the improved mining methods and an abundance of capital, will add greatly to the mining interests of Crittenden an adjoining counties. We welcome it's advent.

Field work was done in the area before the actual purchase was made. Early in 1921 preliminary investigations were started by engineers from the Oliver Iron Mining Company, in Duluth Minnesota.
Later in October of 1921 arrangements were made to explore the veins by means of diamond drilling. Drill rigs and crews were dispatched to the area from the Iron-mining district of Minnesota. 

As a result of the drilling, investigations and mine examinations of the active operating mines, a group of properties was purchased from the Kentucky Fluorspar Company. 

The actual transfer took place June 9th, 1923 when Judge A. A. Northern, President of the Kentucky Fluorspar Company accepted a check from Pres. W. J. Olcott of the newly organized Lafayette Fluorspar Company.

In July 1923 additional property was acquired from M. F. Pogue, S. H. Matthews and others. In August 1923 another group of local properties was purchased from the Blue Grass Fluorspar Company which was owned by George P. Roberts, Sam Gugenheim and associates. Also the Big Four group, located near Sheridan was purchased from Avery H. Reed and associates.
One of the few remaining landmarks of this era is Lafayette Heights. What a wonderful story this historical area holds of that long ago special time of the fluorspar boom in our county.

Lafayette Heights, located in the community of Frances, Kentucky, must have started to be constructed soon after the coming of the Lafayette Fluorspar Company. The company built modern houses surrounded by beautiful yards and gardens for five families of the office personnel. 

The company also maintained a community house where motion pictures were shown weekly and all other social activities were held there also. 

From an article in the Dec. 16, 1927 Crittenden Press it says the employees of the Lafayette Fluorspar Company at Mexico have just completed a new community building to be used for social activities of the company's employees.

The new community building being built in 1927.

On December 28, 1938 the Lafayette Fluorspar Company ceased to exist. This occurred through the transfer of the properties and the active management to the United States Coal and Coke Company, subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January 1939, the Lafayette Fluorspar Co.'s name was changed and the large plant is now known as U. S. Coal & Coal Co.

Even after the U. S. Steel owned the mine and property they were responsible for the upkeep of the yards and landscaping of Lafayette Heights.

All the houses were connected by a system of sidewalks and the children could skate or ride their bicycles from one end of the property to the other. The area was well lit at night with lights along both the front and rear yards. 

Some of the families that lived here during this period of the history were: In the first house was Elmer and Banche Sorensen, he was chief clerk. In the second house lived Avery and Alma Reed. He was chief engineer. 


Monday, April 23, 2018

Greyhound buses no longer stopping in Marion

 In 1952 Mrs. Lawson Faxon had been the Greyhound agent in Marion for 12 years and the company gave her a lot of personal credit for her part in the development of a great transportation system.

As a tribute to her efforts, Greyhound devoted its local and national advertising for the next three months to recognition of Mrs. Faxon and her thousands of fellow agents by describing how important their services have been to Greyhound and the communities in which they live.

In June of 2005 the Greyhound Bus Line was no longer operating a bus stop in Marion or 259 other places across the Southeast.

The company discontinued its U. S. 60 route, eliminating stops at Sturgis and Marion, and it closed the terminal in Morganfield.

Terminals in Mayfield and Hopkinsville also closed at this time, as did the bus stop in Cadiz. 

The bus line had picked up and dropped off passengers in Marion for years.

The bus came through twice a day until Tuesday when the line stopped the route.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

In Search of Alvah Dewey

In 1894 A. Dewey & Co. were proprietors of the Merchant Mills at Marion.

Prominent by reason of its magnitude, as well as by its far reaching arms of trade; the business of A. Dewey & Co., extends prominently in view.  This firm owns the Merchant Mills, one of the finest milling plants of the entire state and has a daily capacity of one hundred barrels of flour, yet the demand more than equals the supply.  The business was located on East Bellville St.  near the railroad tracks.

Mr. Alvah Dewey was born in North East, Pa., June 16, 1845.

He married Miss Mary Belle Long. 

Before he came to Marion to run the flour mill here, he was chief miller at the Fredonia mill.  

From Marion he went to Kuttawa and was in the mill there for a while.

His last few years were spent in Henderson, Ky where he ran the flour mill there, and also made it his home.

Mr. Dewey was a splendid man, quiet and inoffensive.  He always attended to his own business and let other affairs along. 

Mr. Dewey died at his home in Henderson, Ky on Sept. 18, 1923.   His remains were brought back to Marion and interred at Mapleview Cemetery.

His wife Mary Belle (Long) Dewey, continued to live at their home in Henderson.  She died Feb. 17, 1940.  Her obituary says: Mrs. A. Dewey, former resident, died Saturday at her home in Henderson.  Funeral services where held Monday with interment in Mapleview cemetery.  Mrs. Dewey was well known in Marion and Crittenden County during her term of residence here, especially in church and civic work.

Mary Bell Long Dewey has no stone at Mapleview.  How sad her grave is not marked.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Visit To Dycusburg in June 1910

As the Crittenden Press sales manager travels around the county visiting all the little communities trying to get subscriptions for the paper, he tells of his travels and experiences along the way.  Little did he know 108 years later these articles would be keeping our past history alive.

June 1910 - A Visit to Dycusburg.  
On Friday evening just in time for supper I drove into Dycusburg one of the oldest, and at one time, one of the most prosperous towns in Crittenden County. 

Having heard my good father speak of the town and the friends of his early life, who lived with him have long since passed to their reward, I felt a strong desire to visit the town, whos people and the high class of farmers surrounding it are giving such loyal support to our paper.

It is a picturesque old town, on a bend of the beautiful Cumberland and full of as big hearted loyal citizens as ever lived under the flag of the proud old Commonwealth.  

The town has a nice ity Hall and three churches and will soon vote the question of a Graded School.

The merchants of Dycusburg have stood the test of two fearfully destructive fires in the last few years; one destroying 17 business houses and the other 11 businesses, and in spite of all this the town is rapidly being rebuilt and in a few years will have the old town in new garb,  and ready for business again.

We name the following business houses receiving a nice trade;
  • J. C. Bennett, dealer in staples and fancy groceries, glassware, tinware, etc.  Also he is serving delightful cold drinks.  Mr. Bennett is a clever gentleman and a safe business man.
  • Dycus Bros., have a nice store and sell staple and fancy groceries, cigars tobacco and post cards.  They also dispense soft drinks and are enjoying a splendid trade.
  • Yancy Bros., are proprietors of a splendid Dry Goods business and are enjoying an enviable trade, won by fair dealing.  They keep a high grade of fine goods that show a care for their trade that is appreciated.
  • J. D. Jones is proprietor of a large Hardware business and is receiving a liberal patronage.
  • J. D. Griffin is owner of a Dry Goods business that a first glimpse of his neat store is sufficient guarantee that he knows his business.  He is a clever polite gentle.
  • W. B. Groves has a nice Dry Goods business and for the next two weeks will offer special bargains to his customers.  All kinds of Dry Goods and shoes at cost.
  • The Hill House, a popular $1.00 a day house on the bank of the Cumberland, under management of genial J. I. Hill, is always ready to receive and care for the famished traveler.
  • Mrs. Josie Reynold is proprietor of the popular $2.00 a day hostelry and particularly requests the patronage of the drummers.
  • F. D. Ramage owns the Livery Barn and is a clever courteous gentleman.
  • Cassidy & Dewey are owners of the flouring and grist mill and are popular as millers with a name for fair dealing that means much for their future.
  • The Canning Factory is owned and operated by Smith and Wells who will now soon open operation for the season.
  • Ed Henry is the proprietor of the blacksmith and repair shop and is counted the best horse shoer in the "pennyrile."
  • E. M. Dalton is the polite and very accommodating Postmaster and owner of a grocery and confectionery.
  • Clever I. F. Martin owns the ferry and for reliable and courteous treatment, has no equal on the Cumberland, for its source to its mouth.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Crittenden County In "Kentucky's Industrial Review". October 1949

The 'Kentucky Industrial Directory, 1949" had this to report about Crittenden County.  ( I don't believe they had a true count of our manufacturing businesses, but this is what the world saw)

The detailed listing for each community required a great deal of hard work in  collecting the data and checking it for accuracy. 

Following are the Directory's listing for communities in Crittenden County.

Marion.  Population 3,000.  COUNTY SEAT of Crittenden County on U. S. 60 and Ky. 91 and 120.

Business Organizations: Junior Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club

Transportation:  Railroad - I. C., Bus and Truck.

Utilities:  Electric - Inter-connected, Kentucky Utilities Co.,  Water - Filtered surface, municipally owned.

Banks:  Farmers Bank and Trust Co., The Peoples Bank.

Newspaper:  The Crittenden Press (Weekly).

Airport:  Jaycee Airport  (Sid Johnson's location)

Manufacturers: L. Conyer, Washing and blending fluorspar, Munt and Orr Sawmill, Winn and Tobin Milling Co.

MEXICO:  Population 300.  Located in Crittenden County on Ky. 295, 7 miles southwest of Marion, the county seat.

Transportation:  Railroad-I.C., and Truck.

Utilities: Electric - Kentucky Utilities Co.,

Manufactures:  Mott Concrete Prod. Co.

Fluorspar Companies:
  • C and L Fluorspar Co., Inc., Employed - 12, Marion
  • L. Conyer, Employed - 6, Marion
  • Crider Bros. Fluorspar Co. - Employed 43, Mexico
  • Davenport Mines, Inc. - Employed 20, Marion
  • Delhi Fluorspar Corp. - Employed 32, Marion
  • Frazer Mining Co. - Employed 20., Mexico
  • Inland Steel Co. - Employed 98,  Marion
  • Kentucky Fluorspar Co. - Employed 21, Marion
  • Mahoning Mining - Marion
  • U. S. Coal and Coke - Mexico

Sunday, March 18, 2018

1946 Fire Destroys Old Tobacco Factory and Damages Elkins and Shebly Homes

Article from Crittenden Press, July 1946.

Fire originating in the E. Elm St. factory building of R. E. Rogers early Friday morning completely destroyed the structure, destroyed laundry equipment of P. M. Perryman and also clothes at the laundry for work; destroyed several motors belonging to Sullivan Core Drilling Co., a number of fittings and many hundreds of feet of pipe of the same company, and seriously damaged the homes of O. M. Shelby and Mr. R. E. Elkins.

                (The Old Tobacco Factory in it's earlier days, in later years it was used for a laundry and storage)

The blaze was discovered by Grave Evelyn Shelby, daughter of O. M. Shelby, who was sleeping in a room next to the laundry portion of the factory.  She was awakened by a series of blasts or explosions.  She called to her father, who rushed from his home to the factory, a distance of a few feet, and he was likewise confronted with explosions as the made an attempt to enter the building.

In addition to loss of the building, Rogers sustained loss of machinery and thousands of feet of walnut lumber.  It is reported his loss exceeded $12,000.00 and was only partially covered by insurance.

Shelby placed his residential damage at $1,500.00 with sufficient insurance to cover, but pointed to the fact that furniture and other household equipment removed from the threatened house sustained damage from both removal and exposure.

The east side of the house had all window casings and some portions of the eaves burned.  The house is of concrete and stucco construction with fire-proof roof which is all that saved complete destruction.

Fire chief Henry Sisco said that when he arrived at the building the blaze was in the laundry portion and apparently was small.  Only two firemen, John Franklin Elkins and John T. Vaughn reported and the pair were unable to properly handle the hose.  The men entered the building with a full 1ine` of hose, but the blaze became uncontrollable within a few seconds.

After sparks set fire to the Elkins and Shelby property, the entire section of the city was threatened and a call sent to Sturgis for assistance.  The Sturgis truck arrive after danger had been abated.

Hard to believe but the Shelby house is still standing today and is still being lived in.  I do not know about the Elkins residence.
The  Shelby house as it stands today on the corner of E. Elm Street.