Note the ghost sign for the City Barber Shop on the right of the building.
Butler Downtown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Built to lure travelers off busy US Highway 82 (likely in the 1940s), Toby Powell’s Motel & Grill is still relatively intact. The eclectic architecture of the office/restaurant at first appears to be a crumbling facade, but it was built that way! For a time after its original use was supplanted, it served as a grocery store and Virginia’s Beauty Lounge.
Below is a contemporary postcard view.
Wes Carter writes: I grew up in Berlin and lived there until 2002. I remember this was General Brownings barber shop. There was a red, white and blue barber pole out front and then Berlin Diner which is what the sign you see in the picture said, although now faded. Jonie Nicholson adds that it also served as Berlin’s first youth center. For those not in the know, Berlin is pronounced BUR-LUHN.
Joan Herndon writes that Tom Riley and Keaton Tiner have operated this barber shop since 1963, at least, and that it is still open for business. Amazing! Dan Westbrook notes that before then it served as Charlie Dunning’s barber shop.
Blakely Court Square Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Mary Davis Donahue writes: I am the youngest daughter of Thomas Ralph Davis Jr. of Hopeful community. He states that the store was orginally built in the 40’s by Maloy Goff. It consisted a general store, a counter cafe and two bay garage. My dad said he has very fond memories as a little boy sitting at the counter, eating hamburgers. My dad was born in September 1942.
Karen Cone Shiver: I believe the store was originally built by Mr. Sullivan. He and his wife lived in the upstairs apartment. Then his son, Mr. Hubert Sullivan ran the store. My father, Buddy Cone and my mother Drucilla Cone ran the store for 15 years after Mr. Sullivan (this was in the 1960’s and 70’s). My father then leased the store to Brady Clark who along with his family also lived in the upstairs for a while. Mr. and Mrs. Clark later built a beautiful brick home in the Hopeful community. When they moved into their new home the upstairs was (for a time) used as a beauty shop. Mr. Clark later sold the store to my cousin, Irvin Hobbs, Jr. who along with his wife Barbara (Bobbie) ran the store for many years. When Bobbie and Irvin left the store I lost track of how many other people have owned this store.
Also a few more details about the store: The portion of the building to the left under the apartment was the hardware department during my childhood. The addition to the right of the store has served as a restaurant for many years. (I believe this was added during Mr. Clark’s time as owner). The inside of the store has been remodeled and several times during my lifetime. When my Dad, Buddy Cone owned the store there was a full service meat market in the back portion. My Dad cut meat there for many years. My mother and several others, both family members and friends worked the front counter. I have two very vivid memories of times there as a child. One was the day we were robbed at gunpoint. I was in the back of the hardware department where we had a little room set up that was like my hang out when I was there. I heard a commotion going on up front and when I entered the front of the store it was just in time to see John Aldridge ( a relative and store employee) and my Dad wrestling a pistol away from a man. My Mom was white as a sheet. The man had tried to rob them and had pointed the pistol at my Mom but somehow John and Dad got it away from him. I do not recall any shots being fired. The other memory is that someone had been breaking into the store and stealing from us so Dad and John hatched a plan to spend the night in the store and see if they could catch the thief. It worked. Someone climbed into the window that you can see behind the ice machine (there was no ice machine there at that time). When they got their head most of the way through the window my Dad hit them over the head with a coke bottle and knocked them out and then he and John called the sheriff. Man, what memories!
Thanks to Fate Miller for the identification. This was located next door to Alma Clark’s Store. And thanks to Dana L. Moore for sharing her memories: Sometimes a truly special human being comes along and touches the lives of so many. Berry Burch was my great uncle (my grandfather’s brother). Uncle Berry’s Barber Shop and Aunt Alma’s Store (she was really a cousin instead of an aunt) next door were such a huge part of my childhood. Uncle Berry cut hair for nearly 70 years. He was the truest example of a person who would literally give his last cent or the shirt off his back if he thought someone needed it. He’s been gone for almost 10 years now and he is missed each and every day. Thanks for sharing the picture of his Barber Shop.