February 28, 2003

Patty Floyd Johnson

The Shackleford Building and Other Glenville Buildings


1927 Flood in Glenville, West Virginia - Buildings from left to right; Shackleford Bldg., Lynn McGee House, although Lynn didn't live there in 1927, it may have been occupied by a Mrs. Dobbins or one of the Powells.  Between the Shackleford Bldg., and the McGee house is the William Lorentz House, home of Skeebo and Dolly Lorentz.  The C.L. Griffith homeplace is located beyond the Lorentz home on the hill, but is cutoff in the top of the picture.

The Shackleford Building is the one that now houses Minnich's Florist and Iím not sure of  the other businesses in that row. You would probably know better than I. The Leon Restaurant used to be the last business in that row. The restaurant was owned by Leon Starkey Sr., and named for his son, Leon, who still lives in Glenville. My brother, Joe was allowed to go there. I think it was a hangout for college kids, although many going to college on the GI Bill went to the Valley Tavern on Route 33/119 outside of Glenville owned and operated by Madeline Jones, later Madeline Hathaway.

Right across the street where The Common Place Restaurant started out was The McGee Funeral Home, when I was a kid in the 40ís. You turn left down that alley and the house on the front right was Lynn McGeeís house, son of Bob McGee who was the undertaker. To quote James Woofter, "The word undertaker is a very graphic word whose meaning leaves nothing in doubt." As you look down the alley, you see Billy Lorentzís house. He was the father of "Skeebo" and "Dolly" Lorentz. "Skeebo" worked in the state liquor store. "Dolly" was a History teacher par excellence.

Roy McGee had a funeral home on Sinking Creek. James owned a side lamp, which he had electrified, which came from one of Royís horse-drawn hearses.

I have a letter from Thelma McFerrin, mother of Marianne Griffith, in which she tells me her family moved to Glenville in 1921. When she and Newsom married in 1925 they rented a room over the Lyric Theatre for five dollars a week. That included the room and three meals a day. Thelma relates they paid a nickel to get into the movie and since there was only one projector they had to turn on the lights in order to change the reel and music was played. Waitman Brown told me Wilbur Beall sold tickets, Bill Rymer, the town plumber and electrician ran the projector, and the chairs were regular fold up seats. The movies were silent and musical accompaniment was provided by Angelo Eagen or Oris Miles on the piano and Crip Holt on drums. Waitman said he saw Tom Mix and Rin Tin Tin at the theatre in the 20ís. In the 40ís my younger brothers and sister and I were dropped off at the Lyric for an afternoon of Westerns starring Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes, Gene Autry, Lash Larue, The Lone Ranger and Tonto and sometimes Tarzan the Ape Man.

According to information given me by James Woofter, Ph.D. the Shackleford Building was built around the turn of the twentieth century. The building housed the Haney  Funeral Home, Billy Lorentzís Bowling Alley and The Standard Store, later named Midlandís. The building was built and owned by John (J.D.) Shackleford a man of quite some wealth and great business acumen. Mr. Shackleford married Gertrude Bell, the daughter of Warren Bell. When either John or Gertrude died the funeral was by invitation only setting some of the town into a snit from which they never recovered.

For some reason, which nobody knows, Mr. Shackleford befriended one, Thad Burns, who was from Sutton. Perhaps it was only compassion for Thadís physical constraints brought to bear upon him in the form of a rather large hump on his back. Thad took care of Mr. Shacklefordís horses and carriages and his much-prized foxhounds. Thad was remembered generously in Mr. Shacklefordís will.

In much later years Thad Burns took up tickets at the Pictureland Theatre. Bill Gainer, the grandson of Marion Paugh, dubbed "The Sage of Riverview" by Judge Marsh, the fabled former owner of The Glenville Democrat, told me one time that when he was a kid he would take table scraps to Thad for his dogs and Thad would let him into the movie free. (Marion Paugh was the last mail carrier to deliver mail on horse back in Gilmer County.) Judge Marsh owned the Theatre, the newspaper and, I believe, the fairgrounds. He often quoted Marion Paugh in the columns of his paper.  I do remember seeing Thad drive around town in his old car with the caged hounds ensconced in the rumble seat. In my experience, I think Thad ran the projector at the theatre some. Bill also shared this rhyme with me, "Thad Burns and Tally Wright went fox chasing one breezy night! To accompany them, to hold the box, was Doc Lohan and Claudie Wilcox!" This rhyme was the brainchild of one, Jim Wiant, a school chum of Billís who is off someplace nobody knows where. I think I should add at this point that the progenitor of this website is also the grandson of "The Sage of Riverview."

Waitman Brown related there was a menís wear side and a womenís wear side to The Standard Store. You seldom saw a man on the womenís side or a woman on the menís side. Rolly Rollyson worked the menís clothing side and a Mrs. Cooper the womenís side. Lionel Fell and George Justice also worked on the menís side. In the 40ís Midlandís was on Main Street sandwiched between the Ford Garage and the City Restaurant. Rolly Rollyson, the husband of Fern Rollyson the originator of the Country Store in Glenville that is associated with the West Virginia State Folk Festival, a Mr. Stalnaker and Helen Ralston, mother of Mary Jean Barker, ran the store.

Finally, Thelma told me she and Newsom were able to get an apartment over the new Pictureland Theatre owned by Judge Marsh in 1929. Judge Marsh had the first apartment she and Newsom had the back. The Pictureland was on Main Street between The Grill, a drugstore, owned by Wilbur Beall and The Methodist Church. It was the first "talkie" in Glenville. Waitman also related that Icky and "Dolly" Murphy had the first self-service grocery store in Glenville. Until this time, folks gave a clerk a list of the needed items and the clerk collected them. This store stood on the lot where the Pizza Hut and parking lot are now. There was a long narrow building where Billy Lorentz, "Skeebo" and "Dollyís" Dad had his bowling alley.

The Brick Store owned and operated by Ernest W. Floyd was on the corner where The Daltonís Store was located. Ernest Floyd left Glenville in the early 30ís and opened a store in Huntington, WV that specialized in imported goods and spices. I remember The Hub Clothing Store being where The Country Store is now. The building was built originally by Stephen Ruddle, father of Mildred Arbuckle, wife of John R. Arbuckle.  Later owners were Charlie Bass and his brother. The Hub Clothing Store came into being. After Charlieís death his sister, Ceilia and her husband, Max Nachman took over the business. In the store, hanging from the ceiling was a huge shoe reportedly belonging to Robert Wadlow, a giant for the day, who was taken on a tour of the country for people to view this spectacle. The Nachmanís carried Nunn-Busch shoes, which were a must in the well-dressed manís wardrobe. Ceilia Nachman and her brother Charlie Bass financed the building of the only old brick building still standing on the right side of Main Street.  (The Nachmanís were Jewish and were good friends of my parents. Their son, Isadore, known affectionately as "Izzy" coached the American Legion baseball team that my brother Joe was playing on when he sustained two very severe head injuries.) To quote James Woofter, "The site of that building is on the old Holt property, where Crip Holt grew up. When Crip Holt died, Fred Whiting was the only man in Glenville who knew where Cripís mother, Louise Holt, was buried. It was in winter and they had to take Mr.Whiting to the graveyard behind the college and have him show them where to put Crip."  James believed this property was originally owned by Cripís grandmother.

Charlie Griffith owned the only furniture store in Glenville in the 20ís. It was located where the old Conrad Hotel was, not the motel, the hotel. Mr. Griffith was a very fat man and rode a horse up the hill beside of Denver and Jaunita McDougalís house to the top every day.

Charles Whiting owned The Whiting House, a hotel, which stood about where the new bank is located on Main Street. The Attorney, Dode Jonesí law office and home was located where the post office is now.

This of course is only part of the buildings comprising Glenville in the late 1800ís, the 1900ís, the 20ís, 30ís, 40ís and 50ís. Maybe at another time, if youíre interested, I will write, as Paul Harvey says, "The rest of the story!"

by Patty Floyd Johnson