Country Store Lost to Memory


Country Store 03-21-1969

One of the more challenging (and rewarding) things about working at The Athens (OH) Messenger was the canvas publisher Kenner Bush gave us photographers: he opened up a 9×17 news hole five days a week for photo essays.

We drove all over Southeast Ohio photographing people and places that would be overlooked most of the time. I called it “photographing ordinary people doing ordinary things.”

Some stories didn’t pan out

Country Store 03-21-1969

I did a number of stories about country stores over the years, but these photos were never published. I don’t know if the subject didn’t have an interesting tale to tell or if I had to rush off before I discovered it.

I don’t even recall where the store was located, nor the woman’s name. Both are probably scribbled in a notebook buried in a box somewhere.

It’s fascinating to see the wide variety of goods carried.

A gallery of a few moments

So, here’s a brief portrait of a country store in the days before convenience stores and Dollar Generals. I probably should have made a Picture Page out of the images.

Click on any photo, then use the arrow keys to move around.

Boy Scout Troop 14

Boy Scout Troop 14

These are the boys from Troop 14 standing in front of May Green School before they head off for a week at Camp Lewallen in July 1966.The scouts raised money by selling soft drinks at the Arena Park stock car races and distributed posters. When they came up short of enough money to send all the boys to camp, the Cape Jaycees made up the difference.

I’m going to resort to an old trick I used when doing picture pages at The Athens Messenger. If I had a topic that was worth more than one day, I’d run a big picture – let’s say of a general store – with a headline and a short caption ending with “Tomorrow, we’ll go inside.”

My film scanner was taking a lot longer than usual tonight, then I ran into an odd Photoshop output glitch.

So, falling back on my old trick, “Tomorrow we’ll follow the boys to Camp Lewallen. There are plenty of pictures. I think the story might have been the only single-topic Youth Page I ever saw. (You can click on the photo to make it larger.)