How Has Clintwood Changed??
I am sure I have left something out, or got the location wrong, a name wrong or something, maybe some one older than me, (HUSH UP Betty, Dixie Chick, KayDee and gaelic I know someone older than me will be hard to find but there is hope) with a better memory can help out.
As I remember Clintwood from my YOUTH. Let's say Thirty years or so ago. I usually don't use names and the few names used in this are all business people who will not mind some free publicity.
Starting in the West End, like way in the West End, Lees Market, where the Beauty Shop and Dairy King are now. Next where the gym is now, there was a garage and a small drive in, and for the life of me I can't remember the name of the drive in. Where Hardees is now there was a couple houses. The Lumber Supply was where it is now, just not as big. Across from the Lumber Supply was Vanover's Store. Then Carpenters Service Station where the tobacco store is. Bucks Market took up the entire building that how house a video store and the other businesses are in now. Next where a beauty shop is now was the Country Girl Drive Inn. A busy spot on weekends and during the summer.
Now where the Double Kwik is now, was just a vacant lot, but about this time was when they built HillyBilly Fried Chicken there, and if I might say, that place was a HIT from day one. Where Pizza Hut and Long John Silvers are at now, was a trailer park. Of course Bucks Motel was there then as it is now. The Nationwide Insurance Office was a private residence back then, as best as I can recall.
Then the Sunset Drive Inn was where Napa is now. Another great place, drive up and eat, or eat inside, they even had pool tables. I can still taste the hamburgers for there. Where the Bank stands now, and were the Front Porch stood for so long, was back then someone's front yard. The Republican Headquarters, Linkous Building and Dr Robinson's office were not there, just an empty lot. Edwards Food Center was the D & S Market, which was a fixture for years. The old Stanley Building was then about as it is now. The new 911 building which was DMV for so long was then The Wave Inn. Although this time in Clintwood was cut short buy illness Mr. Webb was a great friend to so many.
A service station stood for many years where the Cell Phone place is now, a hot bed of NASCAR racing, Green Wave sports and loafers paradise. Where Rite Aid is now, stood a garage, with many occupants. No field house stood at the football field, stands were wooden bleachers and not that many.
There was a Chrysler sales in the white building that has been most everything here of late, right across from the baseball field. The baseball field then had no fence and you could sit on the sidewalk and watch the games. High School has not changed much, except new windows and doors are about it. So many things have come and gone in the building across the street from the high school, I can't really remember.
On the corner, was where people came on Saturdays to get there Blood Test to get married. See at one time Clintwood was the marriage capitol of the world, or so it was called on WDIC everyday. See back then a blood test was required and in most places took a few days, for some reason in Clintwood it was a few minutes tops to get it done. On Saturday's town was full of people from everywhere, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, all over Virginia, coming here to get married.
A Sinclair station was where the Orbit is now, full service of course. Washed windows, checked oil, washer fluid, the whole deal. Lamberts Motel and Restaurant was in operation. On the other side of the street, the Laundromat was a busy place; lots of people used it back then. The rest of the building was taken up the another grocery store the J & J Market, which has a little Deli type place in the back. Sullivan's restaurant was where People Inc. is now, great food, they had the little in booth juke boxes there really worked, or at least some of them did. Also in the same building Dr. King's Dentist office, provided dental services for years. Next door the Western Auto, which was ran by the finest people I have even know. Anything in the world you wanted they had or could get in a day or so. My children's first bicycles came from there, as did a lot of their birthday and Christmas presents. Of all the places that have came and gone, I miss the Western Auto more than anything that has left town. The Barber Shop was there, as it is today.
The Ford dealership was where Adams Tires is now. The Chevrolet place was there then as now. That is a place that has been in the same family a while. Then just up the hill a little Sutherland's tire sat where the sporting goods place is now. Back to Main Street, VIC's barber shop on the corner was always busy, or at least the place was full, may have been a lot of talkers. Where Allstate Insurance place is now, was once the Appalachian Power Office.
The Baptist Church was much smaller, more yard and the parking at back was not there. Across from the church was the old Phipps Hospital and I am pretty sure the wedding seekers could get a blood test done there as well. The building was torn down some years ago after several fires damaged the place beyond repair. One of the best friends I ever had lived in the rear of the building with his wife and family for years. Charles Breder, came to Clintwood so many years ago. He was involved in church, community, and the everyday life of so many people. He and I spent hours upon hours talking about every subject you can think of. His father was a fireman in Atlantic City New Jersey, the stories this man his friends simply called "The Preacher" could tell. Of all the people I have encountered in life, he by far has been the most interesting.
I am not sure what was in what is now H & R Block, there has been several things in there, possibly a clothing store was there back then. The next two places, both were private homes that time had taken a toll on, but thanks to the hard work and loving care of Mullins Funeral home, and previous owners, who fixed the old house up initially, the funeral home is keeping alive a house that many people would have torn down and built something new in its place. Across the street Attorney Jerry Gray and his wife have done a wonderful job restoring their property. A fourth of July tour a couple years ago was a real treat. In this day and time of shin, glitter and glitz, these two buildings are and will be for a long time a great reminder of our past.
Next where the Town Hall is now, was Bill Macks Drug Store; unless you were ever in it, there are no words to explain this place. Out front were wooden benches where, the Shoe Shine Man worked and in warm weather was a meeting place for many retired and semi-retired folks. The Dickenson Star Building was once the Public Library, talk about cramped, it was even then. Molinary Grocery was located about where the Massage Therapy place is now, I am pretty sure it took that section and the section that is now vacant as well. Modern Hardware was there then, and looks like will be here forever, this is one of the few businesses that was a business then and is still in operation. Seems like there may have been a clothing store in part of this building also.
The Miller Funeral Home building which is now being renovated, holds so many memories for me, I could write several pages just on the business, and the great friends I had there. R C Miller was Miller Funeral home, a close friend of my fathers; R C had to be the biggest cut-up that ever lived. He took care of people in so many ways, with a smile on his face, and a joke ready to tell. My dad and I have spent many hours on the front porch of that building, doing nothing but sitting and talking.
February 2, 1977, the building which housed Reedy Hardware and a Law Office burned to the ground. If you think this winter has been bad, think back to that winter. Everything and I mean everything that could freeze, froze. By some means the White Star was saved as was the rest of the block. Speaking of the White Star, here is another place that has been a host to generations of Clintwood's hungry. The place looks the same now as it did the first time I was in there, thirty-five or more years ago. Kendrick's Engineering has replaced the old Home Hardware, which was in operation for several years. Along side Peoples Dept Store kept suits and dresses on the town folk with a style all their own. Next was my favorite, the 5 and 10 Cent store. Located in what is now Radio Shack, this place was great. I was first introduced to Sun Flower Seeds in this store. Even as a teenager, I loved the candy counter.
The Exxon was then the Exxo, same full service then as it is now. I would have liked to have the big Exxo sign they had out front. Next door to the Exxo would have been Crafts Dept Store, and Rakes Clothing Store, there now is the Dollar Store and Dickenson Floral.
You can't miss the Jettie Baker Center now, and they the Mullins Theater shown just as bright. Saturday night movies, popcorn, candy, pop, and the manager and that dang flashlight. Even if I had been so lucky as to have a girlfriend then, I would have been afraid to do anything but watch the movie, the manager would have told my dad, and I would have never lived it down. I for one would like to see some movies come to the Baker Center, with all the technology they have there, it should not be too difficult to do.
Where the J C Penny catalog store is now, was once the Post Office. Advanced Auto sits where Cumberland Bank once sat. Different building though. First Union Bank took out a couple houses best I remember. While I am in the neighborhood, the Food City center sits where a big old house once sat. This house as I remember was much bigger than anything around now is. Where the Car Wash is now once stood an old store building. Further down there road is the Mountain Florist, started years ago, has been in operation non-stop sense, the last thirty-five years by the same person. This is probably the one place that has had the same owner/operator for that period of time.
No story about Clintwood would not be complete without talking about, the Country Steak House, a little way out of town down toward the lake, where Flemingtown Market is now. Lets not forget the, uhhhh lets call them Adult Beverage Joints. There were several, all kinda clustered just down the street from the jail. Never know why it was that way, but that is how it was.Herman's Barber Shop was just down from the Court House for many years. He later moved into the old Vics Barber Shop Building and worked out of that building for a long time.
Clintwood has changed a lot over the last thirty-five years or so. Gone are the clothing stores and the mom and pop restaurants and stores. A lot has been done to make downtown look very nice. The town is kept clean and neat and we have some unique business. We could use a restaurant or two, a clothing store, and maybe something to bring people off Rt 23, into Clintwood. The Ralph Stanley Museum would do that, it that comes to pass.
With all that has came and gone, Clintwood is still and always will be home, no matter where I may be.