FAIRMONT HISTORY

Fairmont in 1939 and 1940 in pictures

The most difficult part of writing and presenting this history of Fairmont has been the almost total lack of photographs and information for the period beginning in the mid-1930s and ending in 1945 with the end of World War II. Much of this was due to the Robesonian's refocusing most of their news to Lumberton to the exclusion of Fairmont news. This began during the Great Depression and was noticeable in the newspaper advertising. Fairmont ads became fewer and then Fairmont news appeared less and less. Sometimes economics deals a cruel hand.

No issues of the Times-Messenger are available for this period though the paper was published continuously from 1933. This is the main reason that posts have been infrequent for six months. I have looked for information without success and it almost stopped me.

The only thing that kept me going was a group of photographs made by Mr. Leroy Grimsley, father of Argus Grimsley. Mr. Grimsley operated an Army/Navy surplus store beginning sometime during World War II. This store, strangely enough, was located on Thompson Street in a building which would become the last home of the Times-Messenger.

Most of the photos were made hanging out of second and third story windows of Main Street buildings. I am making a guess that they were made in 1939 and 1940. The biggest clue that I have is that some were made prior to the remodeling of the outside of P. R. Floyd and Son which began in 1940. The best guess would be tobacco season of 1939.

These two photos below should be interesting to those who were not around when the Waccamaw Bank was built in 1948. There was a taxi stand behind the lunch counters which many of you have seen in the P. R. Floyd video. These photos were likely made from the upstairs of the Carolina Department Store building.

2015 0530 14 Edit 

Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

2015 0530 05 Edit 2

Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

This photo looking toward the railroad depot was made there also.

2015 0530 06 Edit

Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

From the sidewalk fronting Fairmont Drug looking down Center Street, this photo:

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Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

From the third floor of the Johnson Cotton Company (Jones building) looking south toward the church:

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Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

2015 0530 08 Edit

Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

From the same location looking down Thompson toward the school:

2015 0530 15 Edit 2

Photo courtesy of Andy Grimsley, used with permission.

This photograph is the only thing I have been able to find concerning the Riffs, who operated a department store for more than forty years in the oldest brick building downtown. David, Issac and Belle were legendary in how they tried to lure shoppers into their store and tried to make the sale. There will never be another group like these three!

RiffsDeptStoreFairmont1939

Photo credit: NC Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill; used with permission

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