I Miss The Real Chattanooga - And Response (3)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

There's still another "Other Side" that I yearn for, Roy.  You know, the one with everything all ages came to look for just across the street or down the block from where they parked for free at the curb. 

Now, let me see if I can recall my favorites:  Miller Brothers, Lovemans (especially Miss Gertrude's Tea Room), S&W Cafeteria, Sears & Roebuck, J.C. Penny's, the Pickle Barrel, Orange Julius, F. W. Woolworth's, McClellans, W.T. Grant's, Hy's Minute Car Wash, Kay Jewelers, Shoe Renewery, Bijou Theatre (as well as the State, Capitol, and Rialto), Krystal, Koblentz, Moore & King Pharmacy, The Leader, Lansford's Piano and Music, Fowler Brothers, a hat shop, at least two dress shops, a leather goods shop, a furrier and others my mind's eye can see but I do not remember the names.  And every one of these except Krystal and Lansford's fronted on Market and/or Broad between the river and 11th Street. 

I omitted all the businesses since no one went to town without either reporting for work or conducting their banking, legal, vehicle or other business or visiting with a friend or relative. 

How I miss the real Chattanooga.  You know, the one with the red, black and white birdhouse or barn roof with "See Rock City" painted on the top.  The one where a murder was an unusual event taking up the full front-page and continued inside in the local paper, and killing a police officer was unheard of. Today I cannot drive through town alone without the fear of being hijacked or shot, and certainly do not dare to get out of my car anywhere in the city proper or especially in a parking garage.  It is scary enough after driving 30 miles or more to a shopping center and have to park in the paved acreage full of vehicles within walking distance of the mall to shop. 

To me, the Scenic City of the South has been bulldozed, paved over, covered up or shielded, extended to the heavens, run out of town, taken over by the city, or redesigned to look more like a foreign country,  But it certainly has been destroyed except for that part still visible that God built.  And we the taxpaying public cannot find a safe and convenient place to view that without having to part with a day's pay to park or slow down and creep across one of the bridges or park along the freeway or on private property while dodging all the bikers, runners, street closings and tourists, especially to view Our River and Our Mountains. 

What a shame. 

Charlotte Parton
Chattanooga   

* * * 

Charlotte, I too miss the Chattanooga of my childhood. 

The hat store you referred to was Wormser Hats. It was next door to the Russell Stover candy store. 

Also downtown was the Planter's Peanut Store where Mr. Peanut would put some roasted peanuts in your hand. The wonderful smell of roasted nuts world draw you to the store. 

We had at least three car dealers in the core area: Newton Chevrolet, Furlow-Cate Ford and Lawrence-Doster Motors where I took my driver's training classes. 

On Market Street was Peacock Jewelers, Dayle May Jewelers, Siniago and Campbell Men's Tailors,  T.H. Payne's Office Furnishings - which also has a great book store, the Boy's & Young Men's Shop, Gateway News, Uncle Herman's Shoes, Pickett's Lady's Wear and Ira Triver's Men's Store. 

Way back in the early 50's there was the most wonderful toy store for a boy imaginable-the Hobby Shop. On East Eighth, between Cherry and Walnut, the little store with the big window was full of model cars and boats and airplanes, some displayed hanging by cords. 

Restaurants included the Homeplate, the Rathskeller, Keeble's and the S&W Cafeteria which had the best and largest breakfast I've ever eaten in a restaurant. My personal favorite for lunch was Anton's-a tiny hole-in-the-wall where Mrs. Anton served the best tiny, hot buttered rolls from a little tin pan throughout the meal. You couldn't eat just one or two. 

Chattanooga's two musical instrument stores were within a few feet of each other. Bailey Music was on Cherry and then on Market Street Al Miller Music was first in the basement of Tepper Clinic on Houston, near McCallie Avenue. Then he moved into a house in what is now the parking lot of the old Interstate Building. Eventually he moved to Cherry Street just north of Bailey Music and next door to Tennessee Valley Appliances. Also on Cherry was the House of Music where you could buy the latest tune in sheet music, old favorites and even complete band arrangements. I spent a lot of time at all three stores. 

Two of my favorites to visit on Saturday were Jack's Army-Navy Surplus and Jack's Record Shop. I'm not sure if the same Jack owned both but they were great places. 

Kerr's Fine China was on Cherry. It was owned or managed by my fourth grade teacher's husband. And Chattanooga even had a tailor shop to repair women's fine furs. I believe it was owned by Ben Ketchum. One of my aunts worked there as well as Jimmy Johnston's tailoring shop on Broad Street. 

I also miss Woolworth's, Charlotte, especially this time of year when the windows were filled with Halloween costumes, cutouts of black cats and paper mache jack-o-lanterns. 

And I really miss Kress' store at Christmas when they displayed the holiday decorations like the little candle Santas and glass ornaments. 

Yes, Charlotte, I too miss all of these wonderful places in downtown Chattanooga - a great place to live. 

Ralph Miller 

* * *

You just brought back a lot of grand memories and I actually had to hold back a tear or two.  I must add two personal memories though.  

If my brother and I behaved while passing away the summers at UTC (unfortunately these were rare days), we would have the treat of the old Dairy Gold on Dayton Boulevard on the way home from downtown as we rode three wide in the lime green Chevy Lov with what felt like 500,000 miles on it and no air.  This was where you could see your burger patties getting prepped before hitting the grill and the chocolate milkshakes being made from scratch.  As kids you could also slide the little metal trays across the table as toys and if I recall correctly they were referred to as ash trays.  

My other fond memory was going to Claude’s barber shop downtown on Saturday mornings where a haircut consisted of a bowl and a pair of scissors and took all of 30 seconds.  The entire visit however would last at least a couple hours as patrons would converse and socialize over coffee all the while the children would sit in the floor in front of the 20“ black and white TV watching Saturday morning cartoons.  

A couple great memories from the Chattanooga I remember as well.

Chris Morgan
Chattanooga

* * *

Great memories of the old Chattanooga. I would add the two sporting goods stores on Cherry Street, Lookout and Martin Thompson. Fountain Square is still a beautiful urban landscape but just imagine if old First Baptist, First Methodist (thankfully the steeple is still there) and the old apartment across the street from First Methodist was still there. 

The old YMCA on Georgia Avenue was a second home for anyone in Gra-Y in the 50s and 60s and who can forget the old Bowling Alley on Broad Street.

Douglas Jones
Ooltewah


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