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Swift reflects on more changes in Mountain City

By:  Jack Swift

Johnson County Historian

As I wrote in last week’s column there have been many changes in Mountain City in the last several years that I know about due to my living during those times of change. Growing up in the ‘50s, and ‘60s I have some memories of how it was during those times. So, in this column I will try to mention a few more buildings and businesses that were around then but are no longer standing or in different businesses today.
As I remember, above Smithey’s were two or three white frame houses. On up the street were Arney’s Grill and along there somewhere was the Dayton Sammons Store. Then there were more homes until a large two-story building that housed a store on the first floor and The Tomahawk newspaper on the second floor. I remember the store, but I don’t remember the newspaper being on the second floor. I have seen pictures of the building with a huge Tomahawk sign in front of the second story. If I remember right there were more houses from there to First Christian Church. And then more houses from there to South Shady Street. Coming down on the other side of the street was the Joe Ray House that now has a gas station and convenience store where it was. Then there was the Shell Service Station next. Next was the old courthouse that replaced an earlier one. I think Home Furniture Company and a Hosiery mill were in that vicinity at some time during the ‘50s and perhaps later. A funeral home and Grayson’s Hotel and another gas station were next down the street.

Coming on down West Main Street were Mollie Shoun’s restaurant and further down was the Mollie Waugh Restaurant. I believe there was one large white house on that side of the road too. Turning the corner at the bank going up North Church Street was a store, a doctor’s office and a Texaco Gas Station on the corner of North Church Street and College Street. Of course the old high school building still stands and due to the Heritage Hall project it has become a wonderful asset to Johnson County, featuring plays, concerts and other types of entertainment. I mentioned Blackburn’s Supermarket earlier in this column and in last week’s column as well. It was perhaps the largest store in town at the time it was in operation. I failed to mention the basement of Blackburn’s housed a print shop and the Tomahawk newspaper. Access to the basement was made down a set of steps on the East Main Street side of the building. A Firestone store was on the north side of Blackburn’s. If you traveled down South Church Street, the west were a Greyhound bus station an appliance store and a jewelry shop. There was a large one-story building facing South Church Street in that area also. On the other side of South Church Street were a pharmacy and a dry goods store.
There is no doubt that I’ve left out some of the buildings and sites that were a part of Mountain City, but at least it may have aroused the memory of some of us who lived in that time.