The downtown area is filled with memories of what was there, businesses that were special to me along with the folks who worked there and how it was back then.
Only Western Auto remains of the stores that were there in the thirties and forties. Mr. and Mrs. A J. Price who established the Western Auto have been dead for many years and their grandson, John Collins is the man there now. West Bros. is gone along with Mr. and Mrs. H. O. West.
City Drug, is no longer in business. Mr. Rollin Williams,Sr. and Mr. Rollin Williams,Jr. are gone and only David Williams remains of the original family that owned and operated the drug store.
Wren Mercantile has been gone for many years. It was there that I bought the Skinner Satin for my wedding dress in 1948. They had the loveliest of materials. Mr. and Mrs. Lovic. Wren were the owners and they have been dead for many years along with Miss Varah Hardy, Mrs. Chloe Powell (later Drew), Mr.Guy Alexander, and Mrs. Larkin Turner, Sr..
Kennon grocery has been gone for decades. Wallace Furniture store is gone along with the owner, Mr. Paul Wallace. I remember buying a Magic Chef stove there in about 1941.
The Rex Theatre has been torn down and is part of a parking lot today. We all enjoyed movies there, and remember the ones who sold the tickets, and the popcorn. In the ticket office was Mrs. J. D. Batton and in the area where popcorn was popped and sold was my friend, Mrs. Jesse Harris. Both of these have been gone for many years.
Of course there is a new Methodist Church and a new First Baptist Church. However the new First Baptist Church no longer faces what was once called "the street of churches" with the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and the Episcopal churches all along there.
Now the First Baptist Church faces Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Family Life Center faces Broadway. The old church had so many memories for me. I was married there, my daughter's wedding was there.
Both my children as well as my husband were baptized there. (I joined the church in 1933 and was baptized before my tenth birthday while we lived in Zwolle). Many pastors have served there.
The Rev. Miles was the officiant at my wedding, and Dr. Prince served at my daughter's wedding. Both are now gone. Not only are they gone, but my husband, J. C., our parents, and the best man at our wedding, Conrad Adkins, and his wife who was the soloist are dead. Only the memories remain.
The big old home that stood next to the First Baptist Church is gone and a parking lot is there. I remember Mrs. Bobby Turner sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair often when I passed there. Of course, she, too is gone
There was a tiny shop almost across from City Drug Store where Miss Della Craton had the prettiest blouses, and had the machine that picoted or hemstitched material for seamstresses. She was such a sweet person Cynthia Garrison Payne is her great niece and has inherited Miss Della's sweet personality.
Not too far away was Mr. J. C. Norman's barber shop where he cut my husband's hair, J. C.'s father's hair and our son's hair. I miss both Mr. and Mrs. Norman. Eddie Johnson also worked for Mr. Norman, cutting hair.
The green tiled building where the clock is was the site of the old Minden Bank & Trust Company where I worked while the ladies took their vacations the summer I had just finished Business College. Charlie Davis, Clara Johnson, later Mrs. Charlie Davis, Dorothy Hadwin, Bryce Hardeman, and many others are gone, dead for many years. Clara was my friend, too, and I still miss her.
I will always miss Webb Hardware along with Mr. Will Life, George and Inez Lorraine, and Doris Monzingo Lomax. Only Inez and Doris are living today. I always said my furniture was not "Early American" or any other title, but it was" Early Webb Hardware."
As I think about my furniture today I realize the bedroom suites, the sofa in my living room, the pair of chairs, my two recliners, my dining room china cabinet, my Tell City dinette as well as my china and my crystal all came from there. There are tables, mirrors, lamps, and much, much more that I acquired during the first years of my marriage (almost six decades ago.) Only the building remains, and the memories.
Of course, the Ford Dealer where my husband and I spend so many years is gone, torn down and only a hole in the wall where it once stood. My husband worked in that building from 1936 until 1970, and then moved on out to J. C. Johnson and worked until his death in 1989.
I worked from 1940 until I went home to await the birth of our first child in 1952. Of course J. C. is gone, and almost all of those I worked with are gone, with the exception of Jeannine Miller and Mary Ellen Upton.
Some that worked there after I was gone are still living, especially Glenda Broughton and Becky Jeter Anderson.
And then there was John Fort's Newsstand, where there were the best ice cream cones that were hand packed.
At the foot of the hill on the Shreveport Road was where Leroy Bishop and John Ross Bishop operated the Magnolia Gasoline agency (later known as Mobil.) Both these men have been dead for many years. Only John Ross' s wife is still living.
Across the way the feed store there was owned and operated by Earnest and Bobby Almand. I miss both of these men.
And of course, I cannot forget Thad's Cafe where all the Andress employees had their coffee "breaks". Thad had a gruff exterior but was really an old "softie" at heart. So many of the waitresses who worked there are gone. Melba Ray Lewis is one of the few that is still living.
One little blond girl that I remember was LaQuita Fuller. She had such a sweet personality, and she has been dead for decades, dying at a very early age and leaving a baby daughter.
Before Thad moved across to the larger location Lorene New Sullivan was the waitress there, and she is still living. I remember Thad saying he lost money on some bowls of chili he sold.
He said the man would eat the chili, then crumble up the bowl of crackers and cover them with the catsup and eat that. Loking back I imagine those men who did that were just plain old hungry.
Well, there you have it, my trip down memory lane as we drive through downtown Minden. These are just a few of the places that I miss, but all that is in my yesterdays now.
There are others, and especially in other parts of town such as Wise Grocery out the Shreveport Road and Johnnie Mays' Service Station on the Homer Road. A friend remarked "you have already written about what is now gone." And I said "Yes, I have, but they are still gone and I still remember." All gone, but as long as we have memories they will not be forgotten. Do you remember, too?
Juanita Agan passed away in October, 2008 at the age of 85. She had been a Minden resident since 1935 and a columnist for the Press-Herald since 1995. A constant writer, Mrs. Agan had many stories written but unpublished. The Press-Herald will continue to publish these articles as long as they are submitted.