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History Article~ Mike Avitt

 East side of the Mount Ayr square in 2005.

It took me eighteen years to find the construction date of this building on the east side of the Mount Ayr square. The storefront at 122 S. Taylor (the corner store) was built in 1880 for William Timby. The three storefronts to the north were built in 1882 for Wm. Timby and attorney J. F. Mount. So it was two buildings, not one, and two owners, not one. This was the first of about ten brick buildings Timby financed. The building we see here was torn down in 2018.
Oh, yes, welcome to “Snapshots of History” number 600. And while I’m pleased with my written contributions to Ringgold County history, I’m more pleased with the 500 photographs I’ve taken in Ringgold County since 2001. I’ve taken about ten photos of the building in this week’s article and someday soon, while viewing this photo, someone will say, “Where was this?’
I have a very good memory but my ability to memorize images is better yet. When I first joined the Mount Ayr Depot Museum in 2001, I found a box of photos Shirley Hickman had used for her “Ayr Views” articles from the years 1988 to 1992. Shirley had collected them while she was a member of the Preservation Partnership, the organization which later became the Mount Ayr Depot Preservation Corp.
I bought my first picture postcard about 2002 at Young’s Antiques in Decatur City. It shows the north side of the Mount Ayr square and was postmarked 1910. I paid six bucks for it. I have purchased many more since then.
The best way to obtain pictures is to have someone give them to you and this column has led to many photographic contributions. Thanks to all!
Advertising is also something I’m very attracted to. Slogans, 3-digit telephone numbers, and logos trip my trigger. And businesses that are obsolete like harness shops, livery barns, and produce houses are of interest to me. I’m currently working with a Mount Ayr businessman who is considering reproducing past local advertising as a mural on his business building. I can see it now, “Drive the New Studebaker!” Yeah, I’m on board with that.
Old advertising is easy to find. Telephone books, yearbooks, newspapers, sports programs, matchbooks, coupons, ink blotters, calendars – advertising in print is found everywhere. Can anyone else remember Guy’s Potato Chips? Or Nehi soda? Imagine driving around Mount Ayr and seeing an Allis Chalmbers logo, Mt. Ayr Skating Rink sign, or Ringgold County Speedway banner. We already have a good start with the restored Skelly Station on the south side of the square.
I tell people having a good memory is a double-edged sword because the temptation to live in the past is ever present. I remember the old 1967 Chevrolet Biscayne that city policeman Avery Mickael drove and how poorly that car ran. I’ll close with one more memory and one that is only a year old. I ran into Ray Hymbaugh at a funeral and we were talking about the old days. Ray said, “It was wonderful to grow up in Mount Ayr.” You nailed it, Ray.
Keep the photos coming into the Mount Ayr Depot Museum. They inspire me and at my age I need all the inspiration I can get.

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