Building at 203 Main has had many occupantsBy TERESA BLOUNT,
Most of the businesses that I have written about in previous articles were established before 1910. However, many of the buildings in Union had not been erected at that time. They were constructed whenever the need arose. The two businesses at 203 Main and 205 Main in today’s article fit that description.
The store at 203 Main St. was built after the Fire of 1912. Gallaspy Bro’s. and Co. erected a building just to the east of their store to house the Post Office. In 1914, Union Pressing Shop located there. In later years, the J.R. Barriers began their Western Auto business there and stayed from Sept. 1939 until Jan. 1943. Other businesses occupied the building throughout the years. I have a picture made in 1950 showing a Bendix Laundry in that location. Then at some time after 1955, the Alexanders bought the 203 Main building and added it to their Alexander’s Pharmacy, making their store much larger.
The store at 205 Main St. was built later. A.C. Longino built Longino’s Drug Store adjoining the Post Office in April 1913. In the early years, business owners opened their doors to allow other tradesmen to work out of their stores. This helped those who did not need a large store, just as it aided the business owners by having extra traffic enter their stores.
For example, Dr. F.C. Bradley, jeweler and optometrist, came to Union in 1912 and first opened his business in the back of Longino’s before establishing a store of his own. Next, in 1916, G.W. Snowd
en’s law office was in Longino’s. In addition, in Sept. 1916, a circulating library was set up in one area of the store. A final example is Dr. W.S. Polk, who had a medical office in the back in 1921.
Then in November 1924, Longino sold his drug store to C.H. (Shine) Hays, who had previously been part owner of the Union Drug Store across the street. He renamed it Hays’ Pharmacy. Hays continued the practice of allowing others to work. Miss M.O. Million gave massages in the back of the store or scheduled them in the customer’s home.
In Dec. 1925, Ulmer J. Hester bought the pharmacy from Hays and renamed it Hester’s Pharmacy. He hired Dr. L.W. Whittle to work in the prescription department of his Rexall Store. Also, B.J. Osborn had a jewelry section there in 1928.
Finally, in late 1928, John Alexander moved to Union from Purvis and bought the store, renaming it Alexander’s Pharmacy. His brother Campbell also came to Union and bought into the business as co-owner, working with John in the pharmacy. Osborne Photo Finishing opened inside there in 1935.
Many will recall that Dr. Earl Laird set up his first office in the back in April 1936 and stayed there about a year. In 1947, Serve Yourself Laundry with Mrs. Ollie Vance as manager operated in the back with a rear entrance. She closed it in August 1949, but Mrs. Wilson re-opened it in November. In 1951, Ernest McKinnon worked on electrical appliances taken in at the store. J.T. Walden did watch and gun repair, and Abel Keen worked on jewelry.
At some time after 1955, the Alexanders bought the store at 103 Main St., tore out the partition, remodeled, and enlarged their pharmacy.
In Nov. 1965, John’s son John III (Johnny), also a pharmacist, returned to Union to work in Alexander’s. After first John and then later Campbell retired, Johnny kept the pharmacy open until 1996 when he closed the store at his own retirement.
I have a picture from the 1930s showing a sign on the front of the pharmacy advertising ice cream. They prided themselves on their homemade ice cream and even boxed and froze it so that a customer could purchase a carton to take home. They also had a soda fountain that became a popular place for young people. In addition, John’s wife Clara and Campbell’s wife Essie Mae opened an upscale gift shop which included china and crystal in the back section of the store.
Here are this week’s questions:
• Do you remember other businesses that were in the store at 203 Main St. between
the Sunflower Food Store on the corner and Alexander’s?
• Do you remember other people who ran their businesses out of the pharmacies?
• Do you remember when the Alexanders bought the store at 203 Main St. and combined
it into their store?
• Do you remember when Willard’s Treatment for Stomach Disorders was used?
If you can help with these questions, contact me at teresablount26@yahoo. com or 601-774-5564 or 109 Woodhaven Dr. Union, 39365.