Continuing this little history missive has been pretty interesting. I’m doing it mainly for a record for the family, as I have inherited all of these old photos and negatives. Almost every family has snapshots and vacation photos. What makes it a little more challenging for me is that my dad was a photographer and on many photo shoots he would have extra film left over and would take a couple of photos of the family or the business. So when I would go through an envelope of negatives of a lumber mill I would find a picture of me – like this.
I found some additional shots of the showroom – they sure liked funky curtains back in 1952.
As I mentioned in the last post – since Kentucky Ave / Highway 41 was the hot spot for traffic going north and south on the interstate, gas companies were anxious to purchase our property. Shell was across the street, so Gulf Oil bought our property and Dad headed east and bought this 1922 farmhouse on Green River Road and Bellemeade Avenue.
Like a lot of small businesses, the family would live in the back and have the business in the front. Here is an addition of a living room on the back of the old farm house. The front is getting an addition as well for the studio.
And here is the grand opening in 1958 – notice the 1950 studio car.
The new showroom – no it’s not Christmas – that’s a lolly pop tree – trendy for 1958. I still have that desk pictured in the center.
And I have this display case. My dad built all of the furniture from maple and walnut veneer – mainly because a relative owned a veneer company and he gave dad the materials. The little balloon centerpieces were individual balloons tied to sticks to give to the kids. Who might have a box of left over balloon sticks? Why, yours truly, of course.
By early 1960’s we had a spiffy new porcelain and neon sign outside. (I still have the panels). We added custom picture framing and had a stack of art prints from New York Graphic Society. They were mounted on heavy cardboard stock and embossed with a brush stroke texture. People still bring these things in wondering if they’re the original – I have to tell them the sad truth the original is in the Louvre or the Met.
But the sad truth is that when you are a little business, you don’t have a lot of sway with the city powers that be. Our little rural area became the business center of the city. So widening the roads was a priority. Unfortunately for us. The business on the opposite side of us on Green River Road was a major bank – and the business on the opposite side of us on Bellmeade Avenue was a major bank. So we were selected the give up 40 feet in front of our business – and 50 feet on the side. So much for promoting small business. My parents protested – but you can see the outcome above.
Don’t worry – we will survive – but this won’t be the last time we do battle with the city.