Note from The Tuscumbian: Jim Smith is the author of ‘Walk Through Town’ a boyhood memory of 1946 Tuscumbia and ‘Miss Bernice, Tales of Barnes Lane’. His books are available at Coldwater Books.
I am honored to be asked to write something for this blog. I suppose my first recollections of Tuscumbia would have to be when I was about 4 years old; my Daddy, John Jr. and my granddaddy, John Sr, brought me to Tuscumbia to see a Joey Chitwood dare devil car show at the old racetrack in the park. I was amazed at how many people were there. Probably 200 or so; but to me; it was tremendous. I remember them crashing 1936 Fords into walls of ice. The drivers jumping over things and driving around on two wheels.
I never dreamed at the time I would ever live in a town this big. Iuka was my home and the fartherest I had ever been was Corinth.
Several years later in 1941, we moved to Tuscumbia when my daddy was hired by the Southern Railway. We lived at 703 E. 4th street. The only other place we lived was 705 E. 4th. My dad bought the house and like many others; it was financed by O. B. Clark.
I have so many memories of Tuscumbia and the wonderful people who were a part of this town. They were friends and family to me. I can still walk the streets and see them in my mind. Each building in downtown has a special meaning to me. I never get tired of just driving around and looking and remembering the times of my life.
For those of you that are not old enough to remember; Tuscumbia was a railroad town. The train tracks ran up the middle of 5th street and a lot of the people in town worked for the railroad. The depot was big part of town. There were passnger trains and many people came and went everyday by the trains.
There were stores of every kind in town. At one time; around 1945, there were at least 11 grocery stores scattered over town. There were new Car dealers, numerous service stations and garages. Many dry-goods stores, several furniture stores, seed and feed stores, 5 an 10 stores, feed grinding stores, and we even had our own blacksmith in town.
There also were many churches. It seems like Church was big part of life in town. Most people attended church, it seemed. At one time, nothing was open on Sunday; except McDaniels Curb Market, (now Malone’s).
This was the ideal place to grow up.