Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Looking Forward in 1925

Here is an interesting article that appeared in The Crittenden Press in August 1925.

Looking Forward
  • The turnpike from Marion to Salem is in splendid condition.
  • The new coal mine in the suburb of East Marion is yielding a fine article; it is good coking coal.
  • In the old part of the city some side walks are badly needed.  The records show that the trustees ordered these sidewalks built in the summer of 1894.
  • The Street Railway Co. is now running cars to Crittenden Springs every half hour.  The four big hotels at that popular summer suburban resort are crowded.  The gas from the sulphur spring is now utilized in lighting up the place.
  • The service now on the Princeton, Marion and Ohio River railroad is splendid.  Four passenger trains each way daily.  The company is also doing a heavy freight business.  Ton after ton of our splendid spar is being shipped every week to the eastern cities.
  • The old brick graded school house, which was sold to the colored school district yesterday, was built in 1894, and from an old copy of the Press found under a corner stone we learn that its building was a great event in the town then; and the fight to vote $8,000 to build it was long and lively.  Really our forefathesr of 1894 must have been pretty close-fisted fellows.
  • The coking ovens at the Barnaby coal mines (located at Bells Mines) will be ready for operation by the first of the month.  For years the coal at these mines has been recognized as the best in Southern Kentucky.  The mine gets its name from an old Englishman, who sometimes in the 1880's was attracted by the superior grade of coal, and began working it.  It then had a wide local reputation, being sought after by the blacksmiths for miles.  "Kit and Jack's coal" as it was called, was hauled on road wagons to Marion, when this place was a village some forty years ago.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Fohs Gave Marion More Than A Building

The story of Fohs Hall on North Walker Street in Marion is well-documented in the annals of Crittenden County history.

However, what is not commonly known is that the construction of Fohs Hall not only gave Marion its most notable landmark, but indirectly resulted in the installation of a public water system in 1926.

According to the late local historian, Thomas Tucker, Julius Fohs offered to build the two-story building for the City of Marion and foot the entire bill as a gift to his hometown.

However, Fohs, than a world-famous geologist, had one condition attached to his generous offer.  He insisted that if he were to erect the structure on the same lot where his family once lived, Marion must install a city water system to allow citizens access to city-supplied running water.

The reasoning behind Fohs' request was one of protection for the facility and other Marion structures.  Fohs' father had lost his Marion retail business to fire two different times in the past.

After many years of having delayed the inevitable, the city council agreed to his request of creating a public water works project for the city.  

 The trenches were finally dug, the pipes installed and water turned on all as a result of a generous man's concern for the well-being of his hometown.

Fohs Hall as it stands today.  Marion's most historic building.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Joyful Memories of Christmas Past

Christmas used to really only come once a year, not like today's time, when one gets whatever they want all year long, or many do anyway. 

 It was once a special time to look forward to, and the Christmas season only started in the month of December.

One of those long ago, once a year, Christmas scenes at my home at Crayne. 

 A woodsy good smelling Christmas tree from the near by woods, pop corn rope to help decorate the tree.  And much waited for presents under the tree.   

Here are a few memories for the year December 1935 that was printed in The Crittenden Press.

Local merchants now have on display one of the most adequate and wide selection of gits and holiday goods ever offered to the Christmas shopper.

Practically every form of gift item is offered from the smallest and inexpensive articles to that of the most costly and difficult to procure.

The business establishments are lavishly decorated carrying out the decorations of the season and during the course of the past week shoppers have been much in evidence from all parts and portions of the county.

During the Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday shopping hours, all stores will remain open until 9 o'clock thus offering to those who are otherwise employed the opportunity to visit the various polaces and select their gifts.

The business section, Main Street from Crittenden Motor Company to Runyan Chevrolet Company is a veritable canopy of multicolored liglhts strung across the thoroughfare.  Likewise is Carlisle Street from  Main to the Crittenden Hotel.  

At the intersection of Salem and Princeton highways, Standard Oil, Co. station of Winstead and Hunter have festooned a gas pump with cedars and lights as likewise has Clifton Robertson at City Service Station.

Many store windows are also outlined in colored lights and the Santa Clause banner at Main and Bellville Streets is lighted by flood lights.


Two popular businesses places to shop for Christmas gifts in the  1930's.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Old Marion Depot and It's History

As the railroad track and train became a reality for Crittenden County in 1887 a depot would soon be needed to handle the daily railroad business.

In a few years a depot would be built near the tracks.

I have no history of this wonderful old picture, but on the back of the photo it says, I. C. Depot, Marion, KY 1890.   That makes the depot being built about three years after the railroad tracks were laid and the train was running.  You can see only a portion of the depot  on the right in this picture.

 I have recognized a couple of well-known men of the day in the picture.  Rev. James F. Price in kneeling on the bottom right with a white shirt, bow tie and mustache.  Ollie M. James is on the left near the back with his signature white hat on.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to know what they had all gathered by the depot.  

In 1912 Marion would be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Ohio Valley (later the Illinois Central) rail road coming to the county and the small depot had grown too small for all the business that took place at the tracks.

In honor of this special occasion the I. C. railroad was going to help overhaul the old depot.  Several rooms were to be added at each end, new floors, vestibules and halls and it would be modernized in every way.  The dedication of the new depot would be May 1st, 1912.

                   A picture postcard of the newly remodeled Marion Depot in 1912

This depot served the community for many years.  What an exciting time in Marion's past history, this new modern deport that helped the whole town and county grow in so many ways and connected Marion and Crittenden County to many other town and cities.

As the years went by the way of the train tracks were less used as the passenger travel became more by automobiles and the hauling of items was done by truck.  But the depot was still used, just not as much, so it gradually started to get rundown.

                           This is a picture of the Depot in 1976

In February of 1981 the Illinois Central Gulf abandon the 90 miles of railroad tracks between Princeton and Henderson and this would include the line that ran through Crittenden County.

 In August of 1985 the old depot was torn down.  Here is a picture from the Crittenden Press documenting the date it was torn down, August 1985.

Although some tried to convince the city that it would be worth saving for it's historical purposes, others thought it was in too bad of a condition to save.    The no vote won, as it usually does in a case such as this.  It's always easier and cheaper to tear something down than to save and restore it.  I think they call it progress, not me I just see another piece of our history gone.

So ended another important piece of Crittenden County history and becomes a part of our Forgotten Passages of time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Days of Stills and Illegal Sale of Whiskey

I'm sure it's not just our county, but all county's must have had the same problems back in the early days with the making and sale of illegal liquor. But we certainly seemed to have had our fair share of stills and bootleggers located around the county. 

The last time Crittenden County was voted to be a wet county, was from 1894 until 1906. In 1906, local citizens were given the choice of dry or wet and the people voted dry. 

From the archives of the Crittenden Press I found that boot-legging was running rampant in the period after 1906 and continued for many years until 1933 when prohibition was abandoned. Even then the bootlegger did not become extinct, and continued to thrive as an illegal business in many places throughout the county. 

I found it interesting to learn where the word 'bootlegger' originated and found that it apparently came into general use in the Midwest in the 1880s to denote the practice of concealing flasks of illicit liquor in boot tops when going to trade with the Indians. The term bootlegging soon became part of the American vocabulary.

 A typical home-made still that was used to make moonshine whiskey

Some of the interesting articles that appeared in the Crittenden Press during this time.

Moonshine Still Reported In Crittenden! Crittenden County has acquired the distinction of having a “real” moonshine still. Some of the boys of Tolu were hunting a few days ago and found a fully equipped still in the woods on the farm of Mr. John L. Franklin.

Some one had taken without Mr. Franklin's knowledge or consent, a tank belonging to him and used it in building the still, which has a sixteen gallon capacity. Mr. Franklin immediately notified the United States revenue authorities of his find, and to preserve the still moved it into his cellar, where it will be safely kept until an investigation has been made. The tank was about one-half full of meal which evidenced the fact that it had been tested and used.

Still Captured! Moonshine Still Found on Premises Of A Man Near Piney Fork.
On suspicion derived from previous information, Sheriff P. R. Taylor went to the man's home, who resides two miles from Piney Fork church, with a warrant to search the premises. Upon their arriving there the man readily gave his permission to have his house searched.
In a barn near the house the officer discovered a still covered with sorghum fodder, which they took possession of and brought to the court house in Marion.
The owner denied all knowledge of the still being on his premises, and said it must have been brought there by some one unknown to him during the night.
The still is of about 15 gallon capacity, is in good condition and seems to have been recently used. It is of copper throughout.

Captures Illicit Moonshine Still. J. U. G. Claghorn, while out squirrel hunting, stopped at a supposedly unoccupied cabin on the John Nation farm, near Fords Ferry, looking through a window discovered a family in the cabin and a man working around a still.
Returning to town he reported to the authorities here and with a warrant Deputy Sheriff Taylor in company with Claghorn went to the cabin, took charge of the still and arrested the man under a warrant charging him with having in his possession an illicit still.
The man gave his name as George Simmons and stated he came through from Illinois. The still and the prisoner were brought here and Simmons, failing to execute bond was placed in jail to await the action of the grand jury.
The captured still was of copper and of about ten gallons capacity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tucker Funeral Chapel

Some history of the Tucker Funeral Chapel.  This article was in The Crittenden Press, Oct. 1970

The beautiful Tucker Funeral Chapel located at 117 W. Bellville Street and is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Tucker.  The new chapel is in the remodeled building which housed Tucker Furniture Store until this past spring.

Prior to the opening of the chapel, the Tucker's operated the Tucker Funeral home at 251 W. Bellville.

Construction and remodeling work began for the chapel in early spring with completion of the fully carpeted and air conditioned funeral chapel being within the last two weeks.

The building contains a 200 seat chapel, a large reception lobby, a smoking lounge, several other lounge and display rooms and a business office.

Tucker Funeral Home originated in 1902 with John Nunn and W. O. Tucker.  During the First World War, W. O. Tucker bought Mr. Nunn's portion of the business and combined it with Hobert Franklin in 1923.

They operated together until W. O. Tucker's death in 1948.  Mr. Franklin died in 1949.  Thomas Tucker then continued the business beginning in 1952.

It was at this time that Thomas and Ethel Tucker began operating Tucker Funeral Home from their residence at 251 W. Bellville.


Thomas and Ethel operated Tucker's Funeral Home until May of 1981 when they sold the business to Terry and Sandy Gilbert.  Today two of the Gilbert's sons, Brad and Keith, own and run the business.

They did extensive remodeling to the outside of the historic on building.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving's Past

Even in the 1950's, Christmas wasn't thought of just yet, Thanksgiving came first and it was special in it's own right, not like today, where it sometimes feels as if it is just pushed aside as Christmas decorations and toys have already been thrown in our faces before Halloween is even over.

In the 1930's our Drug stores and Department stores ran ads in the Press telling of their items for that special Thanksgiving day. There was fruits and candies available from the drug stores.

And  the department stores had many new clothing items for that trip to the Thanksgiving services or for visits with the kin folks over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

 One of the churches in Marion always had a special service on Thanksgiving Day with a Union Service for everyone to attend. Many of the county churches and schools also had a special Thanksgiving Day service.

Community service held at Southern Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Thursday morning Rev. J. M. Damron delivered the annual Community Thanksgiving sermon to a packed house at the Southern Presbyterian Church. Assisting pastors were Rev. Charles A. Humphrey, pastor of the Marion Methodist Church and Rev. J. W. Flynn, of the Christian Church.

At noon the Parent Teachers Association served a Thanksgiving dinner at the Woman's Club building and in the evening another dinner was served.

Practically every business house in Marion observed a holiday on Thanksgiving.