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Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton businesses’

Harold Blair beside the patch machine.

Harold Blair beside the patch machine.

Originally published in the Hamilton-Herald News 19 March 2009.

Harold Blair has reopened his boot and shoe repair shop.

Harold Blair is back in business. At 90s something, he has reopened Blair’s Boot and Shoe Repair.

Blair purchased Crain’s Shoe Repair in the mid- 1980s. The business was originally operated by Robert

Verne Crain, who opened in January 1954. Crain was the father of E. C. Weathers of Hamilton, who provided a history of her father’s shop.

By January 1954, Robert Verne Crain was ready to launch out on his own in the shoe, saddle and combine canvas repair business, she wrote. “Within a 24-hour period, Mother, Daddy and I drove to Celina, purchased a shoe repair shop, loaded it on Bill Stephens’ truck and returned to Hamilton.

Crain’s Western Shop opened at 205 N. Bell, which in 1954 was the north end of the building now occupied by Floral Designs by Jill. Within a few years, the front part of that building became available, and Verne, with the help of his older brother, Edwin, rolled the shoe repair equipment on iron pipes up the street to 123 E. Henry St., which was its location when the city flooded on April 26, 1957.

On that day, Pecan Creek went on a rampage, causing an estimated half-million dollars in damage to the city’s business district. The square was submerged in water, and many stores on the north and east sides of the square had serious damage. The City Drug building had three feet of water inside when its back door disintegrated. Several cars from Paul Gilliam’s Used Car lot on North Rice were washed away. Gerald’s Feed Store, which had folding doors across the front and back, flooded throughout, damaging almost all of their inventory.

Next door was the shoe repair shop. “I was a senior at Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Belton… we spent the evening in the darkened first floor parlor of our dorm”, Weathers wrote. “Occasionally when electricity came on, we heard about floods throughout Central Texas.” Weathers said she wasn’t concerned when news was broadcast about floods in Hamilton, because she was sure that her parents were either at their farm at Blue Ridge or at the home on West Grogan Street. But they were not. They rode out the storm from their shop.

“I will never know why Daddy had sandbags in his shop, but he did,” Weathers wrote. The Crains sandbagged the front door, which was slanted across the southeast corner of the building, reducing the force of the water and preventing their building from being flooded.

Mrs. Jewel Workman Hughes Parrish purchased the building in 1958, and the Crains moved their shop across the street to 210 N. Bell, a building that had only a dirt floor, and later to 206 N. Bell, its final location.

Illness caused Verne to close the store in 1974, but Ray Weathers, Elreeta’s husband, reopened in 1975 and operated the business for 10 more years. He sold all of the shoe repair equipment, supplies and furniture to Blair in 1986.

Blair will be open 9 a.m. to noon and 2-6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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It is my conclusion that the Atkinson Hotel was originally called the Misener Commercial Hotel, because:

  1. Chester Clay Atkinson died in December, 1956. According to his obituary from a Hamilton newspaper, the Atkinsons sold their hotel to First Baptist Church in August, 1955.
  2. The obituary says that the Atkinsons bought the “Hamilton Hotel” in 1925. The 1934 article said that they “built up an attractive and superior small hotel patronage” rather than saying that they erected the building in which the hotel was located.
  3. Edwin Ruthvin Misener moved to Dallas in 1922.
  4. When Edwin Ruthvin and Sarah E. Misener celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1911–they lived on South Bell
  5. The shape of the roof, location of chimneys, second-floor railings, and 2nd floor windows and door are too similar for it not to be the same building.
    The Atkinson Hotel after it had been purchased by First Baptist Church in 1955.

    The Atkinson Hotel after it had been purchased by First Baptist Church in 1955.

    The Misener Commercial Hotel c. 1900-1922

    The Misener Commercial Hotel c. 1900-1922.

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Hamilton Mill & Elevator Company

Burned in the 1940's and the Wieser family moved their milling business to Lampasas where there was a railroad.  The abandoned structure still stands on South Railroad Street, north of Kooken Field.

Burned in the 1940's and the Wieser family moved their milling business to Lampasas where there was a railroad. The abandoned structure still stands on South Railroad Street, north of Kooken Field.

McKINLEY-CORRIGAN GROCERY STORE

George Thomas "Tom" Smith, Sr.,    ?  ,    ?   , Jesse Smith,   ?  Shared  by Norene Brian Walls

Left-Right: George Thomas "Tom" Smith, Sr., ? , ? , Jesse Smith, ? Shared by Norene Brian Walls

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Jack’s Self Service Grocery

Contributed by Tom Leeth

Contributed by Tom Leeth

Robert Vernon “Jack” Leeth  entered business on his own in Hamilton  in 1926 at age 19, as the owner and manager of the 1st Cash and Carry Grocery in Hamilton–Jack’s Self-Service Grocery-.  Until this store opened, all grocery shopping was done by bringing or calling grocery lists to the grocery store for employees to fill.

Hamilton Market

Jack Leeth built the Hamilton Market place around 1933 or 1934. Photo from Tom Leeth

Jack Leeth built the Hamilton Market place around 1933 or 1934. Photo from Tom Leeth

Jack built this store about 1933-34. He ran it as Hamilton Market Place until late 1930s when Clinton Leeth, Jack’s cousin joined him and opened L & L Auto Supply.  Along in the early 40s, Jack sold the building to Clinton.  During the war years it was terribly difficult to get merchandise to sell and it eventually went out of business in this location.  He later went into the feed and seed business and was located in several different locations over the years until his death in 1972.

Note the unique motto:  “We buy what you have to sell; we sell what you have to buy.”  The first part of the motto appears on the sign toward the left (north) end of the building. The other part of the motto appears on the south end of the Hamilton Market Place sign.

You can also see the sign for the Ice Plant just at the north end of the Hamilton Market Place building.  Not visible in the picture, but located south of the building was the old steam laundry which was run for a number of years by the Havens family.  Their son, Bill, was a 1948 graduate of Hamilton High school.

Photo Contributed by Jack's son Tom Leeth.

Photo Contributed by Jack's son Tom Leeth.

An alternate picture which is a bit lighter and might print better.   The other picture would obviously been on a Saturday when every farmer near and far came to town, many to sell their eggs, cream, butter, pecans, wool, mohair and even the dreaded skunk pelt. Jack would then load all these purchases up and take them to Fort Worth on Saturday night to either Swift and Company or Armour and Company. — ECW

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