Praise the Lord and Fill ‘er Up!

At a recent gathering at our home, a topic of conversation was the great number of downtown stores there were when we were teenagers. I commented that the population for Washington Court House had not changed much since 1950.

Washington Court House’s population in 1960 us was 12,388 people according to the Census. By the 2010 Census the population had increased to 14,192, a gain of 1,704 people in 50 years.

With all the housing developments since 1960; e.g. : Storybrook, Quail Run, Trotter’s Point, Industrial Park, Self-Help Housing, condos, townhouses, etc., surely those must house more than 1,704 people!

Where did all the people live in 1960?

Although we considered that families were larger and more people resided in family dwellings than they do now, and that more people commute out-of-town to work now, it is still mind-boggling to me!

Where did people work?

We had MORE stores, restaurants, grocers, automobile dealerships, funeral homes, bakeries, dry cleaners, and drug stores than now. We even had an ABATTOIR!

In 1960 there were a great number of downtown stores: The Bargain Store, Bud’s Men’s Wear, Buster Brown Shoes, Craig’s, County Fair, Downtown Drug, Fashion Page, G. C. Murphy, Gillen Drug, Hall Drug, Haver’s Drug, Harmony Music, Holthouse, J. C. Penney, King Kash Furniture, Levy Clothing Company, Lord’s, Martha Washington Shop, Montgomery Ward, Risch’s Drug, Roe Millinery, Sears, Soldan’s, Steen’s, Summers Music, Wade’s Shoes, and Wise’s Children’s Store.

Our friend Bob commented that each one of those stores probably employed at least 4 people.

There were 24 grocers with fifteen being neighborhood stores such as Bellar’s, Ducey’s, East End Superette, Elm Street Market, Fayette Street Grocery, Gardner’s, North Street Market, Oakland Avenue Market, Orner Market, Purcell Grocery, Harry Roberts Grocery, Shoemaker’s, Washington Avenue Grocery, and White Grocery.

In 1960 there were 12 automobile dealerships here: Boyd Pontiac, Brandenburg Buick and Chevrolet, Don’s Cadillac, Hickman’s Chrysler, J. Elmer White De Soto, Carroll Halliday Ford, Roads Motor Sales, Meriweather Motor Company, Hill Motor Sales, Houseman Auto Sales, Laymon Motor Sales, and Hugh Matson’s.

In 1960 there were more than 30 “service stations”; then, most service stations did service cars. We always said “filling station” then and the common saying was that there was “a church or filling station on every corner”.

One thought on “Praise the Lord and Fill ‘er Up!”

  1. It’s sad most of the neighborhood places are a thing of the past. You got better quality products and service. Kids today have no idea the excitement of riding your bike to the neighborhood market and filling up your sack with penny candy…

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