The Ladonia Scrapbook
by Doug Franklin
This week's column is John Kean's description of Ladonia during the early days.
"When we first knew Ladonia, the City Hotel was on the site of the Preacher Davis old station, on the corner of the W. B. Merrill homestead lot on West Main, coming eastward across Depot Street there was a livery stable operated by T. C. Reed; then on the corner where the bank stands was a two story frame building in which there was a drug store run by W. A. McGuire, and the Masonic Lodge was above it. Going north on the west side of the square, there was some frame buildings with small stocks of goods and a barber shop at the site where the Joe Beall shop now stands. These buildings did not cover the entire lots, and there were little alleys between them, which was a very convenient place for the men to drop into for taking a drink".
"We would say that where the funeral home is now that J. H. Cole had a furniture store and sold coffins, both homemade and manufactured. Next we had Sam Marshall's Photography and Art Gallery. We think there was then, as now, a vacant lot or two before coming to the first brick store – J. B. Haden's. Next was N. Watelsky's Grocery and Produce Store; then Wilder and Griffin had a stock of fancy groceries at what is now the G. M. Erwin part of the Erwin Miller building."
Then came the G. M. Evans and Company store which was in a large two story building and ranked as a firm of importance with a large stock of dry goods and an impressive force of clerks. Next was the old "first brick building" which housed the Post Office. John G. Blakeney had just succeeded to the appointment of Postmaster following the death of Joseph Logerot, Miss Ethel Massey – Mrs J. D. Fraley – was assistant Postmaster."
Crossing over to the northwest corner of the square, Will Harkins has the Ladonia News;
J. D. Fraley had a grocery store; and the building where J. A. Williams and Son are located was a furniture store. The remaining portion of the north side was then, as now, vacant excepting that years later the present fire station was erected."
Where the Robardey filling station now stands, Mitchell & Son had a blacksmith and woodworking shop. On the northeast corner stood the banking house of C. W. T. Weldon & Co. Just south where the Masonic buildings are, there was a very large hardware and implement store – S. L. Erwin & Co. Then, there was the furniture and book office of the Logerot estate – in liquidation. Next we had a business conducted by George Reed & W. C. Maloney; then W. B. Tipton had a grocery store. Next to him, Allen Gilliam had a drug store. There were some vacant lots then a frame building about where TP&L office is, which was occupied by J. H. Cobb in the grocery business."