WILLIAMSON – Although no relics are left from the business district known as “Deep Third,” a monument sits on the corner of Third Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Williamson that honors the businesses that thrived there during the 1940s.
During the 1940s, “Deep Third” housed more than thirty businesses. The business district began at the corner of Third Avenue and Pike Street and ran to Vinson Street.
Johnny Fullen, NAACP President of the Williamson Branch recalls the businesses in “Deep Third” stating, “It was a very nice business district. It wasn’t only black. People of different ethnicities had businesses in this area. I remember how beautiful Dr. Whittico’s Drug store was. He and his wife, who was an R.N., had that place for years.”
Fullen continued stating, “It was something the community could be proud of. Deep Third produced good people that went on and became good citizens. They went off and got good educations and they came back to Williamson.”
Fullen also played a role in having the monument erected. “I went to the Mayor, who at that time was Darrin McCormick, and asked him if we could recognize Third Avenue.”
In the future, Fullen hopes to have Deep Third recognized in the National Historic Register. “It is there, but it is not there,” Fullen explained. “I hope to draw attention to it again and go through the right procedure with having it listed with approaching the city council first, since it has already been recognized by the city,” Fullen continued.
The monument reads: “The economy of this area was impacted by various nationalities which included backgrounds of African American, Lebanese, Italian and Caucasian descent. The imagination and ingenuity of the following business people set an example for those of us who have followed. So that future generations will be informed, and present generations do not forget, this historical marker is in recognition of their contributions to the City of Williamson, the County of Mingo, and the State of West Virginia.”
The monument continues stating, “This marker, in recognition of the people who have come before us, has been made possible by The Williamson Branch of the NAACP, the Mayor and City Council of Williamson, West Virginia.”
On bricks below the monument, the business owners and their businesses that thrived in this district are listed. The businesses include: Whittico’s Drug Store, Dr. Whittico’s Office, H.D. Clarke Dentist Office, West Dry cleaning, Bob Hairston (Club), Mama Jackson’s Restaurant, Little Salvoy’s, Fred Strother’s Club, Walter Fraser Restaurant and Shoe Shine Parlor, Flora Young’s Restaurant, Sam Moran Dry Cleaning and Pawn Shop, Dr. Robert G. Warren’s Office, Dr. E.B. Thompson’s Office, Kimble Funeral Home, Mrs. Essie Tolbert Beauty Shop, Dennis Hambrick Barbershop, George Harris Club, Primm Funeral Home, “Trouble” Barber Shop, Mrs. Charlie M. Cardwell and Mrs. Johnson’s Beauty Shop, Ergie Smith Pool Room, Marco Brown’s Bar(Covelle), Mammie’s Hut (Gladys Primm), Mr. Griffen’s Parking Lot, Son Drake’s Pool Room, Rev. Bradley (Church), Mary’s Beauty Shop, Flamingo Club, Logan St. First Baptist Church, Maynard’s Machine Shop, Mingo Bottling Co., Cantees Confectionary Store, Cantees Restaurant and Adkins Grocery Store.