Hartselle memories, part 2
By Randy Garrison
A couple of weeks ago I shared my memories of Hartselle when it had two hospitals. There were a lot of comments on that column, so I thought I would see if my memory could come up with a few other glimpses into the Hartselle of days past.
Many of the memories I have of Hartselle 50 or so years ago include those of downtown Hartselle and areas just outside of Main Street. Some of my earliest memories include going to the grocery store with my grandparents – the A&P that was located just north of Tankersley’s Service Station, where Auto Zone, Alabama Overstock and It’s Your Day are now located. I can still remember them having coffee ground at the A&P.
It is funny things you remember, and I can almost still remember that smell of those fresh coffee beans being ground up.
I also remember when Piggly Wiggly was located on West Main, where Family Dollar is now located. I believe there was another smaller grocery store located on East Main – I believe it was City Market. If memory serves me correctly, it was smaller but had a fresh meat section for the customer, and the owner would check you out at the front.
Other memories include buying shoes at one of the – what many referred to as – “dry good stores.” I remember getting shoes at E.R. Roberts – no idea I would later marry into that family; Johnson Shoes – I think that was the correct name; and Roberts Brothers, which I think belonged to Horace Roberts.
The best part was not getting new shoes, but sometimes you either got a red goose or a hushpuppy toe or something similar with a new pair of shoes. I can’t remember the prices now, but I am sure they were much cheaper than what we pay now.
Another memory is going into Stewart & Bennett for different items – maybe a piece of hoop cheese they would cut fresh for you, or maybe garden seed or fertilizer with my daddy, but the best memory I have of that location was the group of men who hung out around the old potbellied stove in the back of the store. I am sure a lot of the town’s problems were solved around the warmth given off by that stove. I can’t call names of any of the men who frequented that location, but there were usually several of them hanging out there.
City Hardware was another location I can remember going into as a young boy. I can’t recall a lot from there, but it seems that you could get a lawn mower blade sharpened in the back.
At Western Auto you could buy many household goods; they also had a big selection of bikes, and I can remember picking out the one you wanted Santa to bring you.
Penn’s Hamburgers and Johnny’s Burgers were a treat back in the day – this was long prior to McDonald’s, Burger King and Hardee’s.
I remember my parents buying appliances from Morton’s on Railroad Street, and there was a TV repair shop just east of the railroad tracks. Also, if you needed something on Sunday, there was a 7-11 located where Shoefisticated and the law office are now located.
Going to town was a big deal when I was a kid. That is where you went to make many of your purchases. While Hartselle has changed a lot in the past 50 years, there are a lot of memories still to be made in our downtown.
Who knew then I would have the opportunity to help keep our downtown growing and staying vibrant many years later?