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Christmas Shopping on the East Side of the Square in 1937
Bay City, Texas


Shoppers on the east side of the square on December 11, 1937 were probably greeted with signs which said “Only 14 Days Until Christmas!” They were grateful that the temperature which was in the 40s, was warming up a bit.

The children were disappointed to find that the Saturday movie at Frel’s State Theatre did not begin until 2 p.m. They had enjoyed previous shows such as Boothill Brigade starring Johnny Mack Brown and Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm starring Gene Autry, the singing cowboy. At admission prices of 5c and 15c, the State's manager, Weldon Smith, had many customers.

Oshman Dry Goods was the first stop for the shoppers. It was a branch of Oshman’s Outdoor Store in Houston and was located at the corner of Ave. G and 7th St. The wholesale and retail house included specialties such as  Poole’s line of workmen’s and sportsmen’s clothing.  Schools and sportsmen could buy all nationally known lines there, including Reach, Wright and Ditson athletic equipment. Manager, Mr. Aaron Greenberg, welcomed Mother and Father and encouraged them to take advantage of the Oshman’s Christmas specials.

Clark Bros. Barber and Beauty Shop, 109 Ave. G. Tel. 80, provided an excellent opportunity for Father and Brother to get their Christmas haircuts so they would look handsome for their Christmas company. Sister could even get her bangs trimmed as well. Clark’s advertised modern equipment, which included an Arnoa Oil Steamer for reconditioning the hair and scalp.

Mother wanted to visit the Orchid Shoppe because she knew it was a store that was “Fashion Wise & Price Right.” Their ensembles radiated style and good sense with correct accessories, girdles hose, etc.

The children stopped to gaze at the Christmas items in the window at the Scott Drug Store, but were glad to pass up a visit inside which might mean some nasty tasting medicine.

The Scott Drug Company was located at 117 S. Ave. G. with telephone number 129. The store had a prescription druggist and a complete drug store line. Specialties carried included Parke-Davis & Co. Pharmaceutical Products. The manager was Herman Scott son of Dr. E. E. Scott. Dr. Scott, who died in May, 1937, founded the store in 1923 and was County Health Officer. His office was on the second floor.

Jewelry shoppers could visit Secrest Jewelers to buy jewelry and watches as well as other gift items. The store was established in 1909 by Pettus Gordon and Ora Richardson Secrest. Sam Richardson, who joined the business in 1910, repaired watches and sold phonographs. The sparkling jewels and holiday decorations especially fascinated Mother.

The east side of the square had its own “nose smudge” store for the children. The Guess Bros. window was decorated with many enticing toys that children might add to their letters to Santa. The store was managed by M. F. Daughtry and prices varied from 5c to $5.00.

Matagorda Pharmacy, “The Prescription Drug Store,” was located at the corner of  Ave. G and 6th Street. Paris Smith was the owner in 1937. Matagorda Pharmacy was organized by Dr. P. E. Parker, Dr. J. E. Simons, Dr. S. A. Foote, Hugh Phillips and P. A. McLendon. Dr. J. E. Simons purchased the property in 1905 and constructed the two-story concrete-block building to serve as a drug store with offices. The store had an elaborate tin ceiling and the walls were lined with wooden and glass cases filled with all sorts of items. Dr. Parker and Dr. Simons bought the stock of the other partners and later sold the store to Grover and Layton Moore. Paris Smith purchased the business in 1912, sold it to D. P. Moore and then re-purchased the pharmacy.

The Sixth Street entrance gave access to offices which, in 1937, were occupied by J. Lane Barbour, M. D., Bryan E. Simons, M. D., Paris A. Smith Insurance Agency, Judge F. H. Jones and R. F. Peden, Jr., County Attorney.

Dr. Barbour and Dr. Simons, both physicians and surgeons, had an office on the second floor. Their office hours were 9 a. m. to 12 noon and 2 p. m. until 5 p. m. Dr. Barbour’s telephone numbers were office  # 229 and residence # 27. To call Dr. Simons, patients called  office # 24 and residence, # 224.

The Paris A. Smith Insurance Agency was established in 1932 and carried all lines of insurance.

A visit to the east side of the square wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Stinnett’s Confectionery for a treat.

Before leaving for home, the children ran around the corner to the Daily Tribune office to drop their letters to Santa in the Tribune’s special mail box.





Guess Brothers Interior

Left to right Secrest Jewelers, Guess Brothers, Frel's State Theater, Matagorda Pharmacy

Dr. Simons in his officer above the Matagorda Pharmacy

Matagorda Pharmacy



Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Dec. 9, 2011
Dec. 9, 2011