A Look at Businesses in Richmond in 1940

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A Look at Businesses in Richmond in 1940


RICHMOND — Occasionally, we take a look at what Richmond businesses existed in a certain year. Our year this time is 1940.

Of the first group, the only store I do not personally recall is Bohon Stores. Known to me were Doc’s Restaurant, Stanifer’s Clothing Store, Dixie Day Cleaners, Witt Motors (a Ford dealer I believe), W. H. Noland (sellers of coal, feed and seed), W. B. Willoughby (building material suppliers, Case farm machinery dealer), Richmond Bakery (specializing in Mary Land butter biscuits), Denny Insurance Agency, Congleton Brothers Lumber, Kunke’s Service Station, Dugan Appliance (local G.E. dealer), and Burnam & Harber Insurance (Sam P. Burnam and W. Overton Harber, agents).

Also I cannot recall Arnold, Hamilton and Dykes (wholesale groceries), Cormney Sales (coin operated machines) or the Korner Restaurant (not knowing which corner it sat upon in town). I do recall Oldham, Roberts and Powell Funeral Home (with horse drawn hearse in storage in a shed around back), Southern National Bank, F. W. Woolworth (one of my favorite places and a national chain that was the Main Street, U.S.A. — Walmart of its day), E.V. Elder Department Store, Owen McKee (clothing and material), Joe’s Delicatessen, Richmond Stockyard and the Glyndon Hotel (we would shop downtown much of Saturday morning and agree to rendezvous at a given time in the lobby of the Glyndon Hotel).

I remember Western Auto, H.M. Whittington Jewelers, J.J. Newberry, Ideal Restaurant, Lerman Brothers (clothing), J.C. Penney (moved several times from Main Street over the decades, but still going strong today), Madison Wholesale Groceries, Robinson & Turley (coal, feed, seed and about anything else you might have needed), Zaring’s Mill (home of Zaring’s patent flour), State Bank, Home Tobacco Warehouse (W. Luxon, J. M. Hume and Paul Burnam, auctioneer/proprietors), Paul Jett (men’s clothing with custom tailoring; now still on Main Street as Jett and Hall’s), Perry’s Drug Store and Cornett’s Drug.

Unknown to me were the Eastern Hotel and Cousin Jo’s. And let’s not forget McCauley’s Studio on South Third Street. My first professional photo was taken there a very long time ago. Was yours? All in all, my memory was not too bad. How about you? Shopping downtown has always been an exciting mix of retail temptation, socializing and some good exercise to boot. Try it this holiday season.

NOTE: Returning to clarify a previous column, it was 1970 that Madison High went to the state basketball tournament and lost to Louisville Male, 70-69. The Royal Purple five beat Owensboro, Trigg County and Breathitt County to reach the finals. Robert Brooks scored 32 points in the final and Ray Vencill was the coach. Madison’s previous tournament best was third place in the 1944 state tourney.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “A Look at Businesses in Richmond in 1940,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed June 15, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/1797.