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BY MIKE AVITT
Dave and Darlene Irving gave me this picture about ten years ago and they didn’t have any information on it. Now, it’s ten years later and I still know almost nothing.
I can see the wood sidewalk and I know these had been replaced by cement sidewalks on Mount Ayr’s commercial lots by 1894. The building is a two-story, wood-frame with a flat roof and that was somewhat uncommon. The banner says, “GREAT CLEARANCE SALE.” If this is Mount Ayr, this building could have burned in one of the major square fires that took place from 1879 to 1892.
We are at “Snapshots of History” article number 500. The longer I have done this, the easier it has gotten. One reason is Ringgold County’s newspapers being placed online. Another is the timelines I’ve created on my hard drive over the years. I have recorded hundreds and hundreds of business openings, closings, and changing hands. I have recorded buildings being erected and razed. I got this information from newspapers.
To a lesser degree, I have recorded Ringgold County history by taking my own photographs. I have taken between 500 and 1,000 pictures in Ringgold County beginning in the 1990s with a few exceptions. Some of the photos are historically significant and some are just old houses that no one remembers.
I also have, in my collection, pictures taken by other people. In 2005, David Pugh loaned me a stack of Mount Ayr photos he took in the 1990s. Bob and Kay Sickels and I made copies of them and I returned the photos. David passed away in March of 2006. Those pictures are historically significant.
I also glean information from items such as postcards, business cards, maps, programs, high school yearbooks, and matchbooks. Yearbooks are great because they have pictures and advertising.
I want to encourage those who can, to visit neighboring towns, counties, museums, and historic sites.
Every town and county has places of interest or historical significance. Many courthouses are like museums, with pictures, artifacts, and beautiful architecture.
Libraries have local history books. Even some restaurants display pictures, antiques and historical information. And bring your camera – future historians are going to need the pictures we take.
Thanks to everyone for their words and contributions. Next week is number 501.