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Remembrances about Elmer's Early Businesses

(by Freda Burns Tate, reprinted from the Elmer Centennial, 1987)


We bought Barn Bailey's restaurant on January 10, 1928.  That same year, on October 12th, Bert and Zora Tate bought Edd Noonings cafe.  We moved our restaurant supplies down and went in business with them.  They stayed five years and then sold their interest to us and moved back to their farm.  When we started in business, we sold groceries, plate lunches, short orders, sandwiches and pies.  We could sell around twenty pies a day.  Pop then sold for 5¢ per bottle, plate lunches for 30¢, sandwiches for 15¢ and pies were 5¢ per pound.  We had an eight hole ice cream cabinet, and hand packed ice cream in pint and quart containers.  Ice cream cones sold for 5¢ each.  We sold banana splits and different flavors of malts and ice cream sundies.  We also sold fresh fruit and vegetables.  We sold 100 loaves of bread on Saturday and Sunday.  Once a week we ran bingo games, giving prizes such as indian blankets, jackets, cooking wares, watches and etc.  We had a slot machine and a punch board and sold boys caps, ladies hats, notions, gloves of all kinds and tobacco. 

There was a picture show here on Wednesday and Saturday nights in the old Opera House over Drake's Store.  We had dances once a week in the Hall over this building.  Boob Jackson's band from Kirksville, Missouri, played.

The mail was hauled from the Depot to the Post Office.  Everything was shipped by train in those days.  No trucks came here, only the Coca Cola truck.

When we started in business in 1928, there were the following business places:  

George Williams Rooming House down where the Post Office is now,
Sallie Tate's Hotel on the corner down the street
Hemmit Dale's Grocery Store
Edd Nooning Cafe,
William McCollum Furniture Store,
Tate's Cafe,
Tommy Johnson's Barber Shop,
Elmer Post Office, 
Sam Parker's Barber Shop, 
T. I. Murry's Drugstore,
Frank Cook's Grocery Store, 
Johnnie Griffin was Manager of Lindley Buster Poultry House,
C. O. Drake's Grocery Store,
Swanson Smith Garage,
Leonard Johnson's Service Station,
William Agee's Hardware Store, 
Tom McDavitt's Lumber Yard,
Dan Green's Blacksmith Shop,
The Elmer Exchange Bank was where the Post Office was before moving to the present location,
Ivy Grubbs operated the Mill
Harve Belfield was manager of the M.F.A.
Allen Bailey operated a Dray Business and Ice House,
Oren Atteberry owned the Old Central Office,
Picture Show operated by Ivy Grubbs and Eddie Whitman,
Dr. Gooch, the family doctor, had his office rooms over the hotel, and
The Odd Fellows Lodge Hall was over the Furniture Store.


The news reporter for Elmer was Minnie Huff; she met the noon trains for her news items, as all the passenger trains stopped here at that time, both east and west bound.  The six o'clock passenger train going west, two trains stopped here at noon, one eastbound and the other west bound.  One passenger train stopped at three o'clock in the morning going west.  Everyone travelled by train in those days.  There was a dance hall over the Nooning Cafe and also some office rooms.  The building where the tavern is now located was built by Mixon in the year of 1910.  He operated a drug store and furniture store and later sold to Andy Lene, who operated a restaurant and also sold groceries and fresh fruits for many years.  He sold to Edd Nooning in the year of 1924.  Nooning operated the restaurant for four years and also sold groceries and fresh fruit.  He sold to Bert Tate in the year of 1928.  Edd Nooning was also a taxi driver.  The men travelling in those days rode the trains.  He would drive them to their next town when they stopped off here to pick up their orders.  There weren't so many cars in those days.  Walker Tate also drove a taxi for a few years.  Later in years, Alfred Reed was in the taxi service.  Later Melvin Houser and Delbert Thompson were taxi men.

(And a little info about Mercyville)