TLC #97: May 19, 2007
Dear Hearts & Gentle
Unless you receive the Lexington
newspapers or see K.C. TV stations, you may not know that the mysterious cast
iron coffin discovered in Machpelah Cemetery has revealed its contents to be a
young woman, probably around 30 years of age.
This remarkable find was
discovered in February, I believe, as they were opening a new gravesite in
preparation for a burial. Authorities were notified, including the Smithsonian
Institution, and the University of Missouri was very interested. The coffin was
carefully unearthed, shipped to a laboratory at MU, and examined by scientists.
If you can't wait any longer to see the photos of "the grand opening," go
to our web pages.
As for other news of Lexington, I
hardly know where to start! We have two new restaurants opening soon: a tea room
in Strictly Victorian (antiques and gift shop) between 12th & 11th Streets
on the south side of Main, and a Chinese restaurant in the 4-Life Center's
shopping area on Highway 13. The Lexington Inn has re-opened under new
management, and the new restaurant operating there is called The Edge of
Town, an appropriate appellation.
In Chinese puzzle fashion,
downtown retail is making big shifts. First, the very successful Mexican
restaurant, Las Carretas, will move from the Palace building to the current
location of The Brewery restaurant on Franklin next door to the movie theatre.
The Brewery will close and re-open as Piggy's BBQ at the corner of 10th &
Main, site of the former Corner Bar and waaaay back, Malo's Bar.
Gigi's, a boutique, will move
across the street into a building formerly housing a hair salon (Salon
LaVogue, which I believe is moving to the 4-Life Center shopping area
also). Gigi's will then be next door to The Velvet Pumpkin, both shops
owned by Georgia Brown. (No, that's her real name.)
And what will happen in the areas
vacated by Las Carretas and Gigi's? Law offices. Bob Langdon, whose offices
are upstairs in the former Palace building, will expand his law offices and
storage, utilizing the whole area.
Whew! If you were able to follow
all that, please explain it to me.
What else? Well, we had a cruel
Spring. March was so warm that all the plants got excited and began to bud. Then
about four days of hard freeze in April "nipped" them, so we saw very
little of our dogwoods and lilac blossoms. Everything survived, and leafed out,
but it was disappointing.
Apparently it's safe to plant now,
because more than 40 flower pots on downtown corners were planted this weekend.
Last year they put on a beautiful show, and everyone is hoping they'll thrive
again this year.
The mural project continues, and
the goal is within sight. Please check that out at http://www.lexingtonmural.com It
will be on the east wall of the building on the south side of Franklin at 11th
The mail brought many positive
comments about Lexington's recent awards. A sample from Lovella Yates '56
Congratulations on living in
historic, charming, beautiful, happy Lexington. I guess you now lollygag
about the streets wearing your "WE WON" buttons. Keep up the outstanding
Ah, but we are
much too modest to do that. We simply stop cars on the highway and tell them how
wonderful Lexington is.
Jim O'Malley is not only a
faithful reader and faithful contributor, he has terrific recall. A recent note
suggests a new theme for us to explore: Lexington Legends. This is what he
Hi, Here's a list of people
I call the "Lexington Legends." These are people, all deceased,
who have lived on in the memories of many of us and who made life fun and
interesting. I'm sure the readers will have their own
"Legends" to add to the list. Read on:
Barron. Con Barron was a warm-hearted man who worked in several
grocery stores in Lexington. When he would see a young child he would
ask them "....how's the wife (or husband) and children?" Lots of us
would respond by saying something like "...Mr. Barron,
7 years old!" He'd always give a loud laugh and thoroughly enjoy the
2. Katie and Cue Ussery. Cue Ussery was a
Lexington businessman. He had many business interests but his "Cue's Cafe" was a
Lexington institution. Teenagers in the 30s and 40s would
gather in the basement of Cue's and dance to the music of his
Jukebox. Swing was
in and Cue's was the place to
be. His wife Katie was a homemaker and the mother to
Jimmy, Mary Catherine, and Theresa. She never knew a stranger and
was loved by everyone.
3. Ben Carter. Ben Carter
was the city street sweeper and had the reputation for being the "Town
Liar." He entertained generations of us with stories about his
exploits. He told of a flood that came up to the steps of the Court
House and of finding lots of money on the streets as he swept them.
Once he talked about walking across the spans of the old Lexington
bridge. People laughed at that one, but my dad told me he'd seen him
do it. Ben passed away in a nursing home in Kansas
4. Henry Swartz. Henry was a junk dealer in Lexington.
His junk yard was at the site of the Maid-Rite Drive-in. He
was a kind-hearted man with a keen sense of humor. He bought a lot
of tin pans from kids wanting a few cents to go to the movies. I'm
one of those kids.
5. Walter Shinn. Walter was the City
Marshal of Lexington during the 1930s and early '40s. Today
Lexington has a Chief of Police but not too many years ago the chief
lawman was the City Marshal. In the election of '44 he was
defeated at the polls by his assistant, Mose Butler. Walter Shinn
was a no-nonsense police officer who patrolled Block 42 during its
rowdiest days and was known to have whacked many a lout on the head with
his nightstick or blackjack. Walter Shinn was the great uncle
of Jerry Shinn Warner of Lexington, and she should be very proud of
him. He took his work seriously and made Block 42 a safe place
for women and children to visit.
6. Miss Elizabeth Young.
Miss Elizabeth was the Librarian at the Public Library. She was
the daughter of a druggist in Lexington who co-owned the Crenshaw and Young drug
store. This became Ford and Rush Drug Store and later, Rush's Drug
Store. I met Miss Young when I
was in the early grades and
discovered the Public Library. She introduced me to the world of
literature and suggested books that I might enjoy reading. That very
gift was worth more than gold. What a kind, gentle woman she
7. Floyd Boldridge. Floyd Boldridge was a barber who operated
the Gem Barber Shop on the Courthouse Square. My family lived across
the alley from Floyd and his family during the '30s and early '40s.
His kids (E.C., Elmer, and Mary Helen) and I were playmates and
visited many times in their home. Mrs. Boldridge was kind to
me and very much a gracious hostess. I never knew a kinder, gentler
man than Floyd Boldridge. Getting a haircut in his shop was an
experience. The repartee between the customers and Floyd and
his brother, Buzz, was precious. Sports was the usual topic, and
when TV came in their play-by-play commentary on the game of the day was
Well, I think 7 is a good number of
"Lexington Legends" to start with. I'm sure the TLC community
will have many other "Legends" to add to these. I'll be
waiting to read their own selections. Best wishes
Here's one of my favorite Lexington legends: Jim O'Malley. Please
send yours for others to read.
Collobert Thomas sent a note commenting on another Tall Tales Topic:
grocery stores of Lexington.
It's amazing the memories triggered by some of the
topics. I hope someone remembered
Sam's Meat market owned by Sue
Bell's father on Franklin (& 16th). I've lived away
since 1954 and my memories are spotty. Keep up the good work, and I'll try
to contribute when I feel fairly confident that I know what I'm talking
about. I do remember John Shea because Jan (Janis Ray Beretta
Beyer) and I spent a lot of time at the newspaper office ostensibly on
school paper stuff but really just getting out of classes. You seem to be
something of a chip off the old block.
Thanks to Jim and Evelyn
for sharing their memories with all of us. The rest of you: please do the
Finally, we lost three sons of
Lexington within the past few weeks. Many of you will remember Howard Johnson,
Wayne Goodloe, and Ben Bob Tarwater. Our sympathies go out to their
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