REVISITING THE DENISON BARBER SHOP
BY DONNA HUNT
Several months ago my good friend and fellow classmate at Denison High School, Bob Pitman, who now lives in Lubbock but comes to Denison a couple of times a year to visit his sister, Nelda Thomason, wrote that he had made a purchase in an antique store that had Denison Barber Shop on it. He wanted to know if I knew anything about it.
I'll have to admit that I forgot to look for information until I wrote two columns about people and businesses in Denison in 1907 from a booklet dated that year. This week I got an e-mail from Bob reminding me that he was still waiting for information on the barber shop and asking if it was mentioned in the 18-page report on early Denison.
In going through the people and businesses I just hadn't gotten far enough into the brochure to find it, but it is listed as follows:
Denison Barber Shop - A.J. Short, Proprietor, 317 W. Main St. It is indeed a pleasure to visit this establishment, so nice and clean and up-to-date is everything and so perfect is the service. It is fitted up according to modern with six chairs, each in charge of a skilled artist. The bath parlors are fitting up with large porcelain tubs and a bountiful supply of hot and cold water is provided. The proprietor, Mr. A.J. Short, is a native of Kentucky, and has had an experience of twenty-one years in the business. He has been in Denison for the past three years, and has many friends and patrons."
There's one mystery solved. Every time Bob comes to town he visits the antique shops in Denison or Sherman and usually finds a "goodie" to take home or bring to our house. Hanging on the wall in my little home office is a banner from Peabody Elementary School and sitting on a shelf are three soda pop bottles from early Denison, The Red River Bottling Company with a big "R" on the bottom; Two City Bottling Works bottles, one with a big "G" on the bottom and the other with no initial on it. All three are very old bottles with a green case and the words,"Denison, Texas" are printed along with the name of the bottler. One still had a portion of the old fashioned cap that it once had. There is no other writing on any of the bottles.
While looking for the Denison Barber Shop I found the City Bottling Works and the Red River Bottling Company listed in the booklet. Thought readers might be interested in reading about the bottling works as well as the barber shop.
"City Bottling Works - J.T. Brown, Proprietor, 209 W. Woodard St. Among the numerous establishments of this kind, the City Bottling Works is worthy of special notice, because of the absolute cleanliness that prevails throughout the institution, and the high character and purity of its products, which include high grade carbonated beverages of all kinds and Brown's Ice Cream, noted for its purity and delightful flavor. (Wow, what a sentence.) Many of the best known beverages on the market are manufactured and sold by him. Mr. Brown has been established in the business for a number of years and understands it thoroughly. He is successful, honorable in his dealings, has a large patronage and is classed among our enterprising citizens."
Then there also is the Red River Manufacturing and Bottling Co. - "This company has been established for a period of three years, and may be said to stand in the head of institutions of its character in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. The plant is equipped with modern machinery and up-to-date necessary facilities in all departments for the manufacture of high grade carbonated beverages, extracts, cider vinegar and pure ice cream. This is also the agency for Coke, Jersey Cream, Bruno's King and Mike's Grape Punch. The company is thoroughly reliable and offers the best inducement to the trade. The products of the company are noted for their purity, delightful flavor and absolute cleanliness. The proprietors of the business are Messrs. C.H. Lewis and N.L. Moore and W.C. Moore, all of whom are esteemed by all, enjoying the full confidence of the public."
There was no address listed for the Red River Manufacturing and Bottling Co.
Not only did the Red River Manufacturing and Bottling Co., provide ice cream, but Ashburn Creamery Co., also was on the scene in 1907. It was listed as the successor to the Royal Creamery and was housed at 115 South Rusk Ave.
The article said, "The dairy and creamery business has assumed enormous proportions in this community, and within the past few years have been regarded as among the prominent industries of Denison and vicinity. Among the numerous creameries, that known as the Ashburn Creamery Company has become conspicuous among the leaders. It is now owned and conducted by Mr. W.L. Ashburn, and under his intelligent management the business is being conducted according to the best ideas. Absolute cleanliness prevails in every department of the creamery and the products include the very purest and best of milk and cream, butter and ice cream. Mr. Ashburn does a very large wholesale business and his products give general satisfaction. Mr. Ashburn is entirely familiar with the details of the business, and as a representative resident of this community takes an active interest in its affairs."
There are a lot of people who would like to see Ashburn's Ice Cream once again operating on Main Street in Denison. Everyone had a favorite flavor and whenever Ashburn's is mentioned in the column, I get e-mails telling me which flavor that people preferred."
Another place that has been discussed in this column and people have corrected me for remembering its location wrong is the Wagon Yard. There probably was more than one, but the O.K. Wagon Yard was located at the corner of Chestnut Street and Fannin Avenue, according to the booklet. "This is one of the very best wagon yards in the city, providing the very best of accommodations, including good camp houses and cook stoves, plenty of feed, water and fuel. It is a great pleasure to make this yard headquarters for it is indeed just like being at home and has the reputation of being the most homelike and desirable place of its kind in the city. The proprietor is Mr. W. F. Larkin, who while a native of Tennessee, has been a resident of this county for some six years and is exceedingly well known. He is reliable in his dealings and popular as a citizen. A hearty welcome is extended to all. Patronize the O.K. Wagon Yard and you will not be disappointed."
More about 1907 Denison in future columns.
I had a message from June Battle Sims last week about an article published June 19 in the Herald Democrat about early-day baseball in the Denison/Sherman area. June said the article had made a pretty good journey.
Mary Garrett in Kemp, Okla. mailed the article to her brother, Ernie Battle in Mont Belvieu, and he sent it to June in Ada. She said their interest in the article was a mention of their uncle, Calvin Battle. The Battle brothers grew up in Kemp and several played baseball, including June's father, Paul Battle, who played with the Gushers, a Mont Belvieu, Oil field team in the 1930s. She said Calvin Battle died in 1953, but has a daughter living in Norman, Okla. The article now is on its way to her.
Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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