Ralph B. DavisManaging Editor
December 1, 2012
The Christmas season brings back many memories for me as a child growing up in the Tug Valley.
My family lived at Nolan, which at that time, was eight miles north of Williamson on the curving, winding U.S. Rt. 52.
When we went to Williamson we called it going to “town.”
It was always a thrill to get to go to town - especially during Christmas. Downtown Williamson, our county seat, was the hustling, bustling shopping center of the area.
The streets were lined with bright multi-colored lights.
As a youngster, it was exciting to walk the crowded streets, many times you were elbow to elbow, and you could go from store to store. Parking was at a minimum. Many times dad had to drive around the block several times in hopes of seeing someone pull out as you approached so we could grab the precious parking spot. Some people would even park on the Kentucky side of the river from the Harvey Street bridge toward Westcott’s.
We always loved going to G.C. Murphy’s, Hobbs and Sears to look at the toys. They would have electric trains on display, racecar-tracks and other toys set up.
When you walked into Murphy’s five and dime store you could smell the roasted peanuts, fresh popcorn and walk buy the glass display of the penny candy. They also had a pet area with gold fish, hamsters and canaries. Of course the toy isle was also a popular spot in the store for the kids.
Hobbs, located right beside of Murphy’s, had an upstairs full of toys for girls and boys. It was fun to go up there to check out all of the newest toys and sporting goods.
Sears was down on the corner and also had toys and sporting goods.
How many of you can remember the Book Nook? There aren’t many of those small bookstores around any longer. I would save up my pennies or sale pop bottles to get enough to buy a couple of comic books. (I would sure like to have those comic books now. Who knows how much they might be worth?)
If you wanted to get something to eat, there were plenty great places to eat. You could get a handmade, fresh pizza at the Walnut Room. I would love to have one of their pizzas right now. They were the best.
How about a hot dog from the Brunswick or a slaw dog or hamburger at the Smokehouse?
You could stop in at Strosniders drug store, go by their lunch counter, and get a cold, creamy milk shake. You could also venture up Second Avenue to Mikel’s and check out their comic books or get an ice cream.
Of course the females were excited to see the latest fashions. They had plenty of clothing stores to choose from. Shops like Brown’s, Schawchters, Harvit’s and others were lined up and down both sides of the streets.
The men had the Man’s Shop Ltd. and United Clothing.
There was Cantees Department Store on Third Avenue. You had stores like J.C. Penny’s, Cox’s and Jenny’s with plenty of clothing items.
If you needed shoes you might stop by to see Jimmy Davis and his crew. Or you could get fitted at The Cinderella Boot Shop and Fort Pitt.
For sporting equipment you had Hatfield’s Sporting Goods.
If you wanted to catch a movie you had the Cinderella Theater.
Or course there was always a Christmas parade where we had several big high school marching bands that participated. Williamson High School had bands bigger than the entire student body during the last few years of the school’s existence. Belfry always had a great marching band too. Both bands would stop at different intervals to play holiday tunes and the full compliment of majorettes would twirl their batons and perform for the large crowds that lined the streets.
Downtown Williamson was the hub of the region for shopping, especially during the holiday season.
There are some great memories for many of us. If only we could travel back in time.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)