The Vagabond – Early business names in downtown Gadsden

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By Danny Crownover

Over the years, many businesses in and around Gadsden had odd names for one reason and another.

For instance, there was Sprinkle’s Gardens from a Mr. Sprinkle who operated truck gardens and Rob’s Cabs from a man whose first name was Rob. There also was Sober’s Trucks, Salter’s Cafe and Moon & Son, which used to be the name of a mercantile company at Bellevue Hospital.

There was a store and cafe at the junction of the Walnut Grove and Boaz Highways that featured a big sign reading “Line Creek Honk-a-Tonk.”

On North Sixth Street near Broad Street downtown, there is a sign reading “The Jive Joint Shoeshine Parlor.”

There was the Me and My Partner restaurant on Fourth Street Between Chestnut and Broad street, owned and operated by Zach Hardy and J.R. Taylor.

The Horace Greely House was the sign put up by Bob Barton, who operated a blind tiger, or speakeasy.

The Maybe was a gambling and drinking den on Broad Street near Third Street. According to the police and several patrons, one was fortunate to depart that place with one’s life, much less any money to speak of.

During World War II, draft boards over Alabama received amusing and interesting information from the questionnaires filled out by registrants. According to the Cherokee County Draft Board, one young man supplying information as to dependents provided the following: “We are expecting the stork; the doctor is here now, and the results are as yet unknown.”

Back in the 1950’s, Duck Springs Elementary School had a teacher named Miss Helen Dix, who brought to school what seemed to be a bouquet of beautiful flowers that resembled straw.

Everybody who saw them were surprised to learn that they had made them out of corn cobs.

Miss Dix sliced or chipped the cobs and pasted the pieces together in the shape of flowers and then colored them with some sort of dye. She brought along a picture frame made of heavy packing cardboard with a border made of acorns. The picture was clipped from a magazine and the background painted by hand. At the time, Miss Dix was teaching rustic art with the hope of finding and developing artistic talent displayed by her students.

In 1946, the Gadsden City Commission granted licenses to no less than 52 taxi businesses. It was a generous gesture to returning war veterans who wanted to get into the cab business. Many of these veterans bought only one taxicab, which usually was a worn-out vehicle that could not withstand the daily traffic around town. At the end of the year, 24 of the taxicab companies had folded up for the lack of business.

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