More about Trade Street in the 40s

Published 8:00 pm Friday, December 11, 2015


By Garland O. Goodwin



Continuing the Trade Street evolution from the 40s, we will look at the block containing the Bulletin building this time. Jeff Byrd did a thoughtful renovation of the building during his tenure, which included the Bulletin’s 75th anniversary in 2003.

Lotus Bradley at 17 years of age ran the Western Union office in the front of the building. Behind her office were the offices of Waverly and his father J. B. Hester. The Bulletin office overlapped the Hesters’ by extending down the other side of the hallway. We “Bulletin boys,” Marvin Edwards, Ben White and I, all Juniors, single-wrapped the little Bulletins there for mailing to our troops all over the world. Mr. and Mrs. Vining Sr. had desks along the wall as the hallway continued back to the composing room at back. The printing press was also in this hallway, just outside the back room that housed the big linotype machine. Elbert H. Arledge, Printer, was in the two rooms behind the Hester offices.

Broadus Ballenger owned the corner store building; grocery on the right, dry goods on the left. It was set back farther than now from the street, permitting a stairway to access Hinton Thompson’s Barber Shop in the basement of the Bulletin building. Ballenger’s also had a stairway inside to access the “bargain basement.” I don’t know what was upstairs because I never went up there!

Fred Owen’s drugstore was next to the Bulletin on the other side. Mother was friends with Essie Owen, so I generally ducked in there for lunch on Saturdays. Marion “Greasy” Edwards (younger brother of Marvin) would make me a sandwich and a shake for about 30 cents. He also introduced me to the pineapple nut sundae.

Next there was an opening between the buildings for outdoor concrete stairs to the second floor;  there was also an opening beneath these stairs to access the pool hall below. Friend John Earl Henson took me in there one day for games of rotation until our money ran out. Mother forbade me to go down there again because they sold beer . . . A Mr. Souther repaired watches in a tiny office along there somewhere.

Next was Buchanan’s “five and dime” store for all those little household items now handled by the “Dollar Store” genre.

And finally we come to the big A&P “supermarket” on the corner. Mr. Powell had the meat market there; he was father of my friends Fred, Davey and Billy. I was practically grown before I realized the inspiration for the A&P house brand, “Ann Page.” I still don’t know from whence comes “Eight o’clock” coffee, but it is still sold in other stores!

Continuing around the corner and down Maple Street, a Mr. Bradshaw sold and repaired radios and record players in the first store under the A&P for a while. At some point Thompson barbers moved to a store front under the A&P. I followed Carl Fortner there for my haircuts. Carl also cleaned my face thoroughly on occasion to help rid me of that scourge of some adolescent boys and girls, acne.

Marion Brock opened a dry cleaners down at the next corner which is still there. Diagonally across from the cleaners were the Tryon office and warehouses of the Tryon Builders Supply Co. I later worked there for Tryon Mayor C. D. Stevens, owner.

There are enough stories about my year with that company to fill a column, so I won’t condense them here. Mr. Vining taught me to mention as many names as possible (and spell them right!) because they sell newspapers. But it will have to be their progeny who buy, for most of the people I’ve mentioned are deceased. But Tryon was a bustling little town when they lived and ran things. The foot traffic on Trade Street was so heavy that you had to elbow your way through the crowds!