Union has had several used and odd car lotsBy TERESA BLOUNT,
In addition to the Ford and Chevrolet dealerships discussed in previous articles, several others appeared but did not last over a long span. First, in 1919, E.J. Edgar sold Overland automobiles. John Bailey followed in 1926 with his Star auto business in the Bailey building on the northdeast corner of Bank and Horne Streets.
Next, after Grady Graham had sold his Ford dealership in 1925, he opened a Dodge dealership in 1926. In addition, Graham constructed a building for his Graham Motor Co. at 106 Bank St. in 1926 simultaneously with W
ilson’s construction of a building for his Chevrolet dealership next door at 104 Bank St. (House of Hope today). Graham soon added Plymouth and Chrysler to his business. He also sold International Trucks in 1930.
Graham left his business and moved to Jackson to become a Chrysler distributor. Soon afterward on May 30, 1936, Leon White and Rush Turner opened White and Turner Motors, a Plymouth and Chrysler agency in Graham’s former building at 106 Bank St. Then in November 1942, White and Turner dissolved partnership with White keeping the business and changing the name to White Auto Co.
After constructing a new building at 105 Jackson Road in 1947 and then getting the Chevrolet dealership in March 1948, White gave up the Plymouth/Chrysler agency. Immediately, Clois Smith followed him with the Plymouth/Chrysler business in May 1949 and built a new building at 405 Bank Street (Regions Bank today) for his agency. Closing his dealership in 1957, he sold the building to Peoples Bank of Union. With this closure, the Plymouth and Chrysler dealership in Union ended.
Around this same time period, Dr. S.F. Red built a new brick building in 1929 at 204 Bank St., the southwest corner of Bank St. and the alley. Bostick Auto and Service Co. with L. Howard Willmon as manager sold Oakland and Pontiac used cars here. Then in January 1932, Union Ford Agency located here after the fire in the Bailey building had destroyed their inventory. They were closed by April.
Another dealership came to Union that was not long-lasting. Before World War II, D.A. Vance became a Willys dealer for a short time in 1940. Then in 1947, A.E. Cliburn and Raymond Majure became an Overland dealer selling Willys at their M-C Motor Co. that was temporarily located at 303 Main Street just east of the Bus Station. By 1948, Cliburn had left, and the business became Majure Motor Co. After renting the former Leon Gardner building at 803 W. Jackson Road, Majure finally built a concrete block building at 300 Jackson Road across from the Methodist Church in May 1949 for his dealership. However, by 1953, his Willys agency was closed.
While most of the new car dealerships had their own used car lots, other men also sold used cars. For example, in May 1949, Jr. Hillman and Jack Laird opened a paint, body, garage, and used car lot in the Gardner building. Laird soon became sole owner, changed the name to Laird’s Used Cars, and moved to 404 Decatur St., just south of the Magnolia Inn. Next, in 1950, Anderson Daniels and Jack Laird had a short partnership with their U
nion Motor Co. until 1951. Laird moved to the former W.H. Herrington building at 303 Main until 1953 when he closed and went to Meridian.
In 1954, Clois Smith opened a used car lot and a paint and body shop in the original Willys building. By this time, Jack Laird had returned from Meridian and was salesman for him. However, Smith closed his dealership in 1957, and Laird opened his own used car lot at 214 Jackson Road (Ward’s area), but the date when he opened or closed is not documented.
Other used car lots opened around that time period. In 1952, Pete Hinton Used Cars opened at 123 Pine Street. Pete’s son Jimmy Hinton joined him in 1960 and later took over the business as Union Auto Sales. He closed in Aug. 1969. An additional used car business Drew Motor Co. opened in 1970 at 404 Decatur St. next to Watt Germany’s Phillips 66 Station.
Next, Hubert Killens started a used car business Killens Auto and Mobile Home Sales in 1973 at the southwest corner of Hwy. 494 and Old Decatur Road. However, in 1974, he moved to 307 Main St. and opened Killens Auto Sales in the Gulf service station area. Then in 1975, Sonny Gray moved his Gray Ford Used Cars to this area with Hubert Killens and Charlie Gardner as salesmen. However, in Jan. 1982, when Gray moved the used cars to his new building on the Hwy. 15 Bypass, the business became solely Killens’ Union Station service station again.
Finally, in 1980, after Charlie Gardner had opened Security Insurance Agency at 300 Main St. in the old Willys building, he opened Gardner Car Sales on the east side of his office. He closed his used car business when he erected a new building for his Gardner’s Insurance Agency in that space. He then demolished the old Willys building, but the concrete slab of that building still remains on the Gardner’s Insurance corner.
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• Did anyone else have a new or used car lot in Union?
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