Let’s take a walk down the west side of S3N in the 1930s

Published 1:13 am Saturday, December 7, 2013

Today’s column will be a continuation of Morgan Simmons’s walk to town and back along South Three Notch Street in Andalusia. He presented his memories in a speech to the Covington Historical Society at their November meeting. His tour along the east side of the street to Town Square was outlined in last week’s column.

Upon reaching Court Square and end of South Three Notch Street, Morgan turned around and began describing the businesses and residences on the west side of the street as he returned to his home. The popular V.J. Elmore’s 10 Cents Store was first. The A.&P. Grocery Store, which featured “fresh ground coffees” such as the Eight O’clock brand, was next and then the Berman Department Store completed the block. There had been other business in this location in earlier years and some years later Baxter’s Shoes occupied the grocery store space, and The Thrifty Stores, a men’s and women’s department store, the Berman location. Currently Bob Brooks’ True Value Hardware Store occupies the entire block.

Crossing Pear Street, the next building was used for the office of Andalusia Manufacturing Company, which later became Brunson’s Bakery. (Many will recall the enticing aroma surrounding the area while the business was operating.) The rest of that block included the following: Brooks Shoe Shop, which is believed to be the longest operating business in town; McGowin’s Grocery Store, which was considered “upscale;” B.&B. Café/Restaurant; and the Western Union Office, which was operated by Ms. Sissy Raley. Some years later other stores such as Singer Sewing Center, and Creech’s Jewelry operated in some of these buildings. This strip of stores was known as the Payne Block, and the Payne family, which was related to the Simmons family, had a house in back of the stores, which faced Dunson Street.

Crossing Dunson Street, the first building was the Andalusia Post Office, which was renovated to become the Andalusia Public Library after the Post Office was moved to a new facility located at 520 East Three Notch Street. (Mr. L.E. Brown was postmaster during those years.)

The Johnson house was next, and it later housed the Foreman Funeral Home when it was first established. Even later, it was used for the American Legion. Next to this building was the Garrett House, which was two-story. Adjacent to the railroad was the historic Riley House Hotel, which accommodated regular residents and transient patrons. Mr. and Mrs. William Riley ran the business until his death in 1921. At that time, their daughter, Mrs. E.M. Beckett, returned to Andalusia and assisted her mother and sister, Fannie Bell Riley, in operating the hotel. They had the building torn down in 1965. Currently, Greathouse Floors and Fred’s Pharmacy operate businesses on the site.

The home of Dr. Hill, a local dentist whose wife was Philipa (Riley), was first on the south side of the railroad. The Whaley house was next, and there are two large camellia bushes still thriving, which are currently in the parking lot of Town and Country. The Frierson house was next, and the Mounts and then Stewarts later occupied it before being renovated to house Foreman Funeral Home. It is now the home of the Town and Country Shop, which was established in 1951 by Henry Edward and Merle (Barrow) Jones. A Jones residence was next, and one of the daughters married Pugh Flowers, relative of Dr. Edgar Pugh King. The two-story Gillis home was next and had some connection with the Pendry family. The Monche Riley house stood next and was afterwards occupied by Mr. McWilliams for his residence as well as a furniture refinishing business. Even later John Peek, local attorney, restored the building for his law office before moving to the historic bank building on South Court Square where Attorney Sid Fuller was previously. (Sid had the building restored and added to the Register of Historic Places.)

The next architecturally impressive house was the home of Sumpter Milligan, and it was later the home for other families including that of Col. Jeffrey. Members of the Prestwood family lived there during the 1940s. The W. A. Faulkenberry house came next, and it is reported to have been built around a log cabin in 1889 by J. Henry Faulkenberry, which would essentially make it one of the oldest in the town. Other records state there had been a log cabin on the site before his house was constructed. A Faulkenberry daughter, Irene, was married to Cliff Hines and lived there for many years. The Faulkenberry Store, operated by Jim Faulkenberry, was adjacent to the Faulkenberry home and was known and operated in later years as Uncle John’s (Wright) Grocery. The building continues to be in reasonably good condition, and various small businesses have operated in it.

After crossing Baisden Street, the first house was the Baldwin home, where former Judge Bill Baldwin was reared. The Kearley house, home of Veterinarian Dr. Kearley and his family, was next. Then there was a vacant lot that was supposedly owned by P.P. Lewis. The Driscoll house was next, and the Anderson family of peanut company fame, and then the Hooper family later occupied it. John Straughn, brother of Jim Straughn, owned the next house.

After crossing Brooks Street, one finds the Cofield house. Mrs. Cofield’s maiden name was Wright. The house if believed to have been purchased in later years by John Tisdale, and it is currently vacant and in need of serious restoration. The next house was the home of the J.D. Henderson family, which included three children: Edward Neal, Charles and Mrs. Pinkie Benson. Ramsey Wright owned the next house, which is remembered especially for its beautiful cut-glass front door way. That site stands as a vacant lot at the present.

The final house stood at the top of Bay Branch Hill and was the Wilkes House originally. Then a Mr. Adams who was foreman of a lumber company resided there, and Col. H.H. Broadhurst who came to Andalusia to command the local National Guard followed him. This family was then followed by the George Barnes family, which later built the stately Barnes home at the entrance to the Andalusia Country Club. Then the Clarke family with Mrs. Clarke being a Simmons, an aunt to Morgan Simmons, resided there. The Jimmy Caton family purchased the house during the 1970s and lived there until they built a new home off Brooklyn Road. Finally, Bob and Denise (Huggins) Brooks acquired the house and continue to make it their home.

The primary source for this writing is the talk presented by Morgan Simmons to the Covington Historical Society at their November 21 meeting. Some additional information was added, which came from Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History—1821-1976.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above facts or additional information that might be related is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomason, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL; 334-222-6467; or email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.