Monday, August 26, 2013

History on Display At Museum

The Crittenden County Historical Museum at 124 East Bellville St. is full of our local history.  Things that you might not think about are displayed there.  Recently updated is a picture gallery of Marion's old train days memorabilia.  

The old sign from the Depot is at the top of the display.  Other items are pictures of the first train that came through Marion in 1887, miscellaneous pictures of train and wrecks that were in Crittenden County.

Actual medallions of the Illinois Central Centennial Markers that match the large marker that is located on our Court House lawn, that was given to the county by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and a bell that came off of a long ago locomotive.

Our railroad was once a large part of the nations growth but the railroads day as king have long passed.  Sadly the days of the railroad have passed and in 1999 the rails were being removed and it was the end of the railroad and tracks through Crittenden County. 

Another interesting display are items pertaining to the early days of the town of Marion.  On the right you see the old weather vane that had been atop our court houses from the beginning days of the town.  It graced the top of the cupola on the court house until it was taken down for the demolition of that court house in 1961.

The picture on the right next to the weather-vane is an artist drawing of the court house that was done in 1894.  The weather-vane is visible in this picture.
Also on display is the Court House Bell from the old days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Farmers Bank & Trust Company

The Farmers Bank located on the corner of Main and East Carlisle Street has long been a part of Marion's business district.  It was organized in Oct. 1889 and the incorporators were Edward Haywood, Wm. Fowler, E. C. Moore, Dr. R. L. Moore, Dr. J. R. Clark, J. B. Hubbard, E. W. Jones, J. A. Farris and J. D. Farris.  Mr. Ed Haywood would be cashier, and Mr. J. B. Hubbard assist. cashier.  

The building was being built and almost finished by Dec. 1900.  This building was destroyed by fire in April 1913.  Plans were soon made to rebuild at the same site and with a larger building that the one that burnt and was completed that same year in Dec. 1913.  In 1923 a second story was being added to the building.

 Picture of the bank after the new second story was added.

The building kept this same look for many years.  Not until 1974 was the building remodeled.

Today the bank owned most all of that block except the offices of Larry Orr, CPA, that is located where the old Kentucky Theater used to be.

This picture was made in 1963.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gas Stations of Marion

At one time Marion literally had a gas station on every corner and in between.  Which only seems a short time ago, but in fact was 1969, 44 years ago, as you entered Marion from Highway 641 South or 60 West when you stopped at the stop light there a station on all four corners.  These pictures were made in 1969. 

 Southside Gulf was owned and operated by Dwayne Croft.  The last to run this station was Randell and Glenda Chandler.  When the new regulations came about with replacing of the gas tanks below ground, the chandlers turn it into a small engine repair business. 

This station today is the home of NAPA owned and operated by Ronnie Myers

The lot where this station sat for many years was the site of the popular convenient store The Pantry.  Everyone hated to see it close.  Several other businesses used the building over the years, but it sits empty today and has now for several years. 

 This long running gas station was able to stay in business selling gas until  July 2009 went the high cost of gas and low profits for selling it, caused them to close the gas pumping part of the business.

Today the business is run by Scott Tabor and it is Tabor's Repair and Tire Center.

From an article in the Crittenden Press, August 1956.  It was talking about the long ago "gas wars".  These price-cutting sprees come about when a new independent company comes into an area and sells gas at a low price in order to get business.  When this happens, other operators must cut their prices in order to compete.  Gradually this spreads until an entire region gets into what is known as a "prince war."   Current price in Marion are 35 1/2 cents per gallon, premium, and 32 1/2 cents for regular.  Oh for the good ole days again.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Marion Dry Cleaners Closing

(Update 8/9/13 = According to a new article in The Crittenden Press for August 8th, 2013, Frank Pierce, owner of the Marion Dry Cleaners, has sold the business and it will be reopening soon.  So looks like the business will be adding some more years to its history of being an operational business.)

Marion Dry Cleaners located on East Bellville Street, one of Marion's oldest running businesses has had to close it's doors.  

The historic business had to close it's doors to the sign of the times, the rising prices of today's living and the high cost of materials that it takes to run a cleaning business, and also the different types of clothing that can be washed and dried at home. 

The business actually started as early as 1911, with Loren Yates the creator of the business. 

The business moved to it's present site, the old post office building, in 1924 and was known as the National Dry Cleaners.  The section on the with the blue double doors was the cleaners side.

In 1946, the business was sold to Ronald "Tink" and Ralph Hicklin, and the name was changed to Marion Dry Cleaners.

Tink and Ralph sold the business to Paul Vaughn in 1991, Tink continued working but Ralph had to quit on account of his health  

In October 2008 Frank Pierce purchased the business from Paul Vaughn and in January 2009 the name was changed to Coach's Cleaners.  The cleaners had continued working in this same building for 89 years.  

This building was destroyed by the great fire of 1905, but was rebuilt that same year.  It is one of Marion's historic buildings. 

Sure hate to see another one of Marion's businesses have to close.