Interesting Events in Downtown Dickson’s History
References to “Currently at this location:” refers to the fall of 2017.
December 3, 1860- William C. Crutcher purchased 533 acres of the Piney Furnace Lands, which included the present town of Dickson. The purchase price was $2,169.41 and it was on terms. Crutcher later defaulted on the note payments
May 10, 1864- The railroad was finished from White Bluff, Tennessee, to Johnsonville, Tennessee, by the Union Army. The first train to pass through what would later be the town of Dickson on that date carried a load on Union troops. Dickson was at that time known as Smeedsville Station. One of the passengers on the first train to run west out of Nashville to the Tennessee River, was Military Governor of Tennessee Andrew Johnson. He had been appointed by President Lincoln at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became the President of the United States after President Lincoln was assassinated. And with this… the growth began.
October 7, 1867– By orders of the court, due to default by William Crutcher, the land which includes the present town of Dickson was sold at public auction. Conrad Berringer of Pennsylvania was the high bidder at $5,200.
July 23, 1885- Conrad Berringer of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sold a 300’x300’ block of land to the County Court of Dickson County, Tennessee, for the sum of $1.00. The land was located between South Main Street and Center Avenue and Walnut Street and Chestnut Street, in Dickson, Tennessee. It was to be used as a public square. This was the sight of the first and only court house ever in Dickson, Tennessee. Currently at this location: War Memorial Building
August 19, 1893- At two o’clock in the morning, the store of R. M. White and Company, located on Main Street in the business section of Dickson, Tennessee, was discovered to be on fire. In just a matter of minutes, the fire had spread to the store of Henslee and Myatt, then to the Thomas House Hotel, then to the store of McDonald and Jameson, then to Gray and Sanders, two houses were then burned, belonging to Monroe Dodson and J. R. Spicer, then other business houses were licked up by the flames, including the Murrell and White Store, the Scott and Wynns Store and the T. F. McCreary Store. The fire then jumped the street to the Miller block, destroying houses and business stores until it was finally subdued at the new brick wall of the Dickson Bank and Trust Company on the west side of Main Street. The offices of Dr.’s Ridings and Richardson, and the offices of Cullum, Crotzer and Egerton were completely destroyed by the fire. Currently at this location: Businesses located on North Main Street between College Street and the railroad.
October 5, 1896 – William Jennings Bryan arrived in downtown Dickson by train. He visited Main Street and even made a speech. He was a great orator and debater. He was a three time presidential candidate, a U.S. Secretary of State, and he delivered the famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention on July 8, 1896. He opposed Darwinism and at the Scopes Monkey Trial in Daytona, Tennessee, he was the prosecuting attorney.
May 12, 1899- The town of Dickson board of Mayor and alderman voted to use the Dickson Bank and Trust Company as the depository for the town. The bank was located in the Pentecost General Store on North Main Street. Currently at this location: House Blend
May 26, 1899- The third meeting of the newly re-chartered town of Dickson, Tennessee, passed an ordinance making it unlawful to block the sidewalks and streets in the city. There was also a bill passed which regulated the hitching of horses and mules. One citizen was ordered to clean up around his place of face being fined by the city recorder.
January 2, 1900 – The town of Dickson board of alderman passed an ordinance requiring all property owners to have board sidewalks completed within thirty days, or the town would build them and then charge the owners.
May 7, 1900- The city of Dickson was faced with a hog raising problem. A certain man was letting his hogs run wild in the streets and was also fencing in some of the streets. The town marshal was ordered to have him clean up and abide by the law or face being arrested and brought before the recorder to be fined by the city.
June 2, 1901- Harry Davis, Dickson Town Marshall and Jailer, resigned and took the jail keys with him as he left. The mayor and council had to appoint a committee to track the resigned marshal down and take his keys. Mr. Davis’ nightstick in on display at Ragan’s on North Main Street in Downtown Dickson.
June 18, 1902- The town of Dickson passed a law that made it illegal to sell meat, fish, or cold drinks on the sidewalks in the town.
March 2, 1903- The town of Dickson, Tennessee, granted A. Myatt the right to build a building on the corner of Main and Railroad Street, facing Main Street. The size of the building was to be 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. The building burned in the fire of November 24, 1905. Currently at this location: Main Street Interventions
November 24, 1905- Downtown Dickson, Tennessee, was almost completely destroyed by fire. The most disastrous fire in the town’s history started in the Berry-Seay Candy Kitchen at about 2:00 o’clock in the morning. 21 brick business buildings were burned to the ground in the block between the railroad and College Street. Three residences were also lost. There was no fire protection, except for a bucket brigade, which was helpless due to a terrific wind that carried the flames across the street. The buildings were not very old, having been built after the large fire of 1893.
March 24, 1906- Twelve horses, nineteen carriages, and two funeral carriages were destroyed by fire at the Charlie Sanford’s Livery Stable. It was located on the corner of North Main Street and East College Street, in Dickson. For many years, the Jackson Drug Store was located on the lot where the livery stable was formerly located. Currently at this location: Tom Waychoff Memorial Park
July 7, 1906- The town of Dickson entered into a contract with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation to install streetlights on the main streets of Dickson. The town marshal had to turn the lights on at night and off in the morning.
April 1, 1907- The town of Dickson, Tennessee, ordered all property owners on Main Street between the railroad and College Street to build concrete sidewalks or the town would build the walks and charge the property owner for construction of the walks. This order was not complied with at the time and the town did not build the walks.
November 7, 1907- The town of Dickson Mayor and Board of Alderman heard a proposal to gravel Main Street in Dickson. The council took no action on the project.
April 5, 1909- The city of Dickson, Tennessee, passed a law requiring property owners on Main Street to sprinkle the street in front of their property with water twice a day in the summer time. This was to keep down the dust.
July 19, 1909- The first construction work was done on the three-story Masonic building at 202 North Main Street, Dickson, Tennessee. The cornerstone was laid on Sunday afternoon, July 24, 1909. The building housed the Knights of Pythias and the Masons. They shared the cost of having it built. The 3rd floor was the lodge hall. In following years, the second floor housed Dickson’s first theater and was the location of the first demonstration of a phonograph in Dickson. The ground floor once housed Dickson’s first radio and television shop and Reeder Chevrolet dealership. When the state condemned the courthouse in Dickson, the last trial moved to and finished on the second floor. The first loudspeaker demonstration of a radio in Dickson was held on the first floor as the World Series was being broadcast. A man fell dead at the front door during the game. In later years, Adcock Auto Parts occupied the first floor of the building. Henry V. Ragan bought the building from F&AM Masons and remodeled it for a portion of the present Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store
January 20, 1910- Several citizens of Dickson reported seeing a ghost in the burned out ruins of the Mayes Hotel in Dickson, on North Main Street. The hotel burned on the night of January 10, 1910, and S.G. Mullins of Nashville burned to death in the fire. Since the night of the fire, several people had reported seeing a man kneeling in prayer in the spot where Mullins’ room was located. They also heard the swishing of wings in the air and someone groaning in pain. Then, all of a sudden, the ghost would disappear in the darkness and everything would become quiet. Currently at this location: Curcio Building – second floor
March 25, 1910- A fire caused by a kerosene lamp exploding caused a $10,000 fire on the corner of College and Main Street, in Dickson, at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. The fire stared in the store of Hooper and Mitchell Meat Market, then spread to the Eldridge and McElya Barber Shop, then to the Taylor and Mullins Restaurant, then to Lunn’s Shoe Shop, then to Miss Tennie Alexander’s Millinery Shop and finally to the J. T. Moore Art Gallery. For many years, the building on the corner was home to Dickson Furniture & Undertaking Co. Currently at this location: Home Again Antiques and Gallery at Morgan Farms
February 7, 1911- The Mays Hotel, the finest between Nashville and Memphis on the N.C.&St.L. Railroad main line, opened to the public with an open house from 5:30 – 8:30 o’clock in the evening. A picture of the new hotel as it appeared in 1911 is on display at Ragan’s on North Main Street in Downtown Dickson. Currently at this location: Hodge Jewelers
August 5, 1911- W. E. “Ed” Hutton opened the Royal Blue Shoe Store on the corner of College and North Main Streets in Dickson. The building was known for many years as the Jackson Drug Co. Currently at this location: Tom Waychoff Memorial Park
February 2, 1912- The Wynns Brothers, Hugh and Harry, announced they would soon be opening a “Gents Furnishings Store” in Dickson. The grand opening was held on February 15, 1912. Wynn’s Store was located on North Main Street. Arnold’s Store was later located in one side of the old Wynn’s building. Prior to starting the clothing store, the Wynns were already big in the grocery business. Currently at this location: Jim Sowell, Attorney
September 10, 1912- Lots on the east side of Main Street in Dickson facing the railroad were swapped by the owners so all the lots faced Main Street instead of facing the railroad. The property now housing Fussell’s Shop is a part of the property described. Currently at this location: Bank of Dickson and Fussell’s Shop
October 10 & 11, 1912- The first Dickson County Fair was held in Dickson. The fair was held on Thursday and Friday around the courthouse square. The Friday crowd was estimated to be seven to eight thousand people. Currently at this location: War Memorial Building
September 4, 1913- An election was held in Dickson, Tennessee, for the purpose of electing the town officials. Eight alderman were to be elected for the first time in the history of the town. Prior to this election, the town only had seven alderman. This election was held out on the street. Ward one voted in front of the Mayes Hotel (now Hodges Jewelry Store), ward two voted in front of the Gossett Store (now Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store), ward three voted in front of W. A. Chambers Company (now Nicks Hardware) and ward four voted in front of the Will Cox Store building (across from Nicks). Main Street and the railroad was the dividing lines between the wards. Currently at these locations: Mayes Hotel – Hodges Jewelers; Gossett’s Store – Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store; W. A. Chambers Company – Nicks Hardware vacant lot; and Will Cox Store building – IREX Contracting Group (Meadows Building)
November 22, 1913- The new three story brick building, known as the Baker Building, to house the Dickson Mercantile Company on North Main Street in Dickson was ready for use. It was built by John R. Baker for a newly incorporated firm with $25,000 capital. The stockholders were W. B. Williams, W. A. Self, J. R. Baker, H. H. Self and J. A. Clifton. J. T. Halbrook was to soon finish the new $10,000 brick hotel on Railroad Street near the NC&StL Depot. Currently at these locations: Baker Building – S & J Designs / Main Street Antiques; Hotel Halbrook – Clement Railroad Hotel Museum
February 24, 1914- W. E. Hutton closed out the Royal Blue Shoe Store he operated on the corner of East College Street and North Main Street. The building later became the home to Jackson Drug Company. He had bought a business in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee. Currently at this location: Tom Waychoff Memorial Park
May 4, 1914- The first speed limit was imposed on the motoring public in Dickson, Tennessee. It was set at 20 mph… and no more. Interestingly, the current speed limit is 15 mph.
February 21, 1914- The first talking motion picture utilizing the Kinetophone machine in Dickson County was demonstrated by the Thomas A. Edison Company at the Elite Theatre. The theater was located on the second floor of the Masonic building, Currently at this location: Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store
July 23, 1917- A mass meeting was held in the Alamo Theatre in Dickson for the purpose of raising $760.00 to pay for the surveying of the Bristol to Memphis Highway through Dickson County. The money was raised in less than fifteen minutes by donations from the citizens present at the meeting.
April 29, 1919- A ‘Baby Tank’, the latest thing in military equipment to be used by the armed forces of the United States in the event of war, was displayed on Main Street in Dickson, Tennessee. The ‘Baby Tank’ was on a statewide tour in the interest of the liberty bond, or victory loan, drive to help pay the debt for World War I. Col. Pitt Henslee was the principal speaker at the rally. The tank was demonstrated by Lt. Dort, of the French Army.
June 2, 1920- Frank Goad Clement was born in Room #5 of the Hotel Halbrook. Clement became the longest serving modern Tennessee Governor (1953-59; 1963-67) and, at age 32, the nation’s youngest. During his tenure which led to national prominence, Clement organized the state’s first department of mental health, oversaw the planning and construction of Tennessee’s Interstate Highway System, provided free textbooks for students, and successfully led the state through integration of public schools. He was killed in an automobile accident on November 4, 1969, at 7:00 o’clock in the evening at the age of 49 years old. Currently at this location: Clement Railroad Hotel Museum
June 7, 1920- The city of Dickson board of alderman passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale, barter, lending or giving away of cigarettes or cigarette papers within the corporate limits of the town.
November 23, 1923- Announcement was made that a new cigar factory may locate in Dickson. The company said they must have 500 girls sign up to work for $5.00 per week while in training to make cigars. The 500 girls were quick to sign up, and the factory did come to Dickson and was located in a new building on West College Street and Mulberry Street after the cigar factory closed the building was occupied by the Red Kap Shirt factory. Currently at this location: Red Cap Flats
February 12, 1924- Dickson Furniture and Undertaking Company was established. The business was first located in the middle of the block, on the east side of North Main Street, at 121 North Main Street. The business later moved across and up the street. Currently at this location: James+Associates
August 17, 1925- The City of Dickson passed an ordinance authorizing the paving of Main Street, Crutcher Street, Rickert Avenue, McCreary Heights, Murrell Street and Poplar Street.
January 15, 1926- Jones and West Bus Lines began service from Dickson to Nashville. Two round trips were made daily in a seven passenger Cadillac motor car. The fare to Nashville was $1.25 and the trip one way took two hours. The bus service depots in Dickson were at the Halbrook Hotel and the Graystone Hotel.
May 28, 1926- The Citizens Bank on the corner of North Main and Railroad Street announced plans to build a new modern two story brick building. The lower floor was to be the main office of the bank and the upstairs was to be for rental office space. Currently at this location: Bank of Dickson
December 3, 1926- Robert L. Field, better known to his friend as Bob, and Dr. D. M. Diamond establish the Dickson Hatchery. The first incubator installed was a 7,000 baby chick machine. 7,000 eggs could be hatched with this machine at one hatching. They plan to expand the hatchery as business demands it. Currently at this location: Grand Old Hatchery
January 23, 1927- A shootout on Main Street in Dickson, Tennessee, at about 8:30 o’clock on Sunday night. Cheatham Bates, night town marshal, was shot by a citizen and the citizen was shot by Bates. The citizen died two days later in a Nashville hospital. Bates recovered and continued to work for the town of Dickson for many years.
June 15, 1928- The Clemore Pharmacy Drug Co., opened a new Victrola Department. Demonstration booths were installed for customers to listen to the music of the new Victor Records. Victrolas by Orthophonic were sold and serviced. Currently at this location: Ginger Hibachi
August 10, 1928- The first radios displayed in Dickson were on display at the Reeder Chevrolet Company on East College Street, where Alvin Jones Chev-Olds was located for many years. Currently at this location: City of Dickson Parking Lot
November 23, 1928- The Graystone Hotel was damaged by a fire. It started after closing time in the quarters of the Shelton Lamb piano store located in the right wing of the main entrance of the hotel. W. A. Parker discovered the fire as he closed up his Ford car dealership next door to the hotel. Currently at this location: Hodges Jewelers
January 2, 1929 – Dickson County Court Clerk, Melvin Harris, announced that automobile license plates for the year 1929 could be bought at Arnold’s Store on North Main Street in Dickson. Currently at this location: Southern Exposure
November 19, 1929- The modern and up to date Jackson-Dick Drug Store formally opened in Dickson on the corner of East College and North Main Streets in Dickson. Over 1,000 people visited the store. W. C. Jackson was the manager of the store, and “Too Little” Taylor was connected with the store in the Soda Fountain Department. J. K. Dick of Paris, Tennessee, was a partner in the store. The Jackson Drug Store was later sold to James Nicks and Jess Walker Beasley who operated the store for over forty years, and was then owned and operated by Mickey Wright. Currently at this location: Tom Waychoff Memorial Park
February 11, 1930- The American Cigar Factory closed its doors in Dickson, Tennessee. The Central Manufacturing Company came to Dickson on October 30, 1930, to occupy the Cigar Factory building. The Central Manufacturing Company had a payroll of $2,000 a week and employed 100 people. This plant later became the Red Kap Shirt Plant. Mitchell Hayes ran the plant for many years after the death of his father. Currently at this location: Red Cap Flats
February 15, 1930- The Bestway Grocery Store Chain opened their second store in Dickson within two weeks. At the time, the second store was located on North Main Street next door to the post office. Both stores were to carry a full line of groceries at Bestway prices. Currently at this location: Fussell’s Shop
May 11, 1931- The Coca Cola Company in Dickson announced plans to build a new two story brick building on North Main Street. For many years, this building served as the location of the service department for Ragan’s Friendly Neighbors Store. Currently at this location: Parking lot next to the Methodist church building
May 11, 1931- Loyd Reed bought a fifty foot lot facing East College Street, behind the Graystone Hotel. He built two buildings, both two story of block and brick. Each building measured 25 feet by 60 feet. It housed the Whiteway Inn and for many years it was known as the location of the Town House Restaurant. Currently at this location: A Little Bite of Everything and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
May 11, 1931- Dr. R. P. Beasley agreed to build a new modern service station building on the corner of East College and Church Streets, to be operated by the Apex Oil Company. The station was later operated by the Campbell Brothers, Lester and Russell. Currently at this location: Back Alley Barbeque
June 15, 1931- The First National Bank of Dickson installed its first electrically operated burglar alarm system. The entire walls and floor of the inside of the bank building were covered by the alarm system that was said to be absolutely fool proof. Currently at this location: Dickson County Office Building
December 12, 1932- The Christmas display in the show window at Arnold’s Store on Main Street in Dickson caught fire and damaged the merchandise in the window. Claude McCorpin, one of the sales people at Arnold’s said the fire was caused by the red hot price on the clothing at Arnold’s. Currently at this location: Southern Exposure
February 1, 1933- Bill and Helen Bruster of McMinnville, Tennessee, moved to Dickson as managers of the new Cumberland Theater located in the Ryan Building on North Main Street. The new theatre is modern and is completely air conditioned. All shows will be 10 cents and 25 cents regardless of the picture show. Currently at this location: James+Associates
November 11, 1933- The new War Memorial Building in Dickson was dedicated on this Armistice Day. Earl Brown was the Post Commander for this grand occasion. A parade started at 10:45 o’clock in the morning, led by the Central High School Band. A concession stand sold barbeque dinners for 25¢ and a dance was held that night in the basement of the building from 8:00 to 12:00 o’clock mid-night. Currently at this location: War Memorial Building
March 16, 1935- E. C. Reeder and Company opened a Chevrolet Dealership and Texaco service center in the Masonic Building at 202 North Main Street in Dickson. The company was to sell Hester batteries and U. S. Royal tires and tubes. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Friendly Neighbors Store
October 17, 1935- The new Piggly Wiggly store on North Main Street opened and was to be managed by C. D. Bruce. Piggly Wiggly later was bought by the Kroger Company. The building was once occupied by Shelton’s. Currently at this location: Lena Peony
March 28, 1936– Norman Fussell and his wife, Billie, opened Fussell’s Store on North Main Street in Dickson. Mr. Fussell had come back home to Dickson and had purchased the stock of merchandise of the Brown’s Cash Store located three doors south of the United States Post Office on North Main Street. He planned to conduct a dry goods business at the same location. Fussell came back to his hometown after having been employed for several years in larger stores in Kentucky and Tennessee. He was to be assisted by his sister, Mary Fussell, who had been a saleslady at the McClean’s Store of Dickson for many years. Business firms who have operated in these buildings in the past include the U. S. Post Office, Dixie Barber Shop, Jack Currin Grocery, Hubert Ray Grocery, Lampley Refrigeration Sales and Service, Joe Porter Barber Shop, The Sweet Shoppe, Kennedy Electric Service, Mid-State Sales and Service, The Federated Store, The Cumberland Telephone Exchange, Southern Bell Telephone Exchange, Chamber of Commerce Office, The Draft Board in World War II, Dr. R. P. Beasley, M.D., Dr. G. L. Bouldin D.D.S., and several other firms throughout the years. Currently at this location: Fussell’s Shop
April 1, 1936- Hugh Reeves was made postmaster of the Dickson Post Office. The post office was located at the corner of the alley north of the Old Citizens Bank building on North Main Street. Currently at this location: Fussell’s Shop
June 10, 1936- A red-letter day in Dickson. Representatives from seven Middle Tennessee counties were in attendance in Dickson for the celebration of TVA coming to the area. A large and colorful parade got underway at 10:00 o’clock in the morning with three brass bands, ten floats and many high ranking government officials riding in the parade. The main speakers were David Lilienthal, Dr. Arthur Morgan and H. A. Morgan, Directors of TVA. An electric fair was held at the Dickson Central High School on June 10, 11, 12 and 13. Many new electrically powered appliances were displayed and sold by merchants of Dickson.
September 23, 1936- A Western Union Telegram Office was installed in the Graystone Hotel and was ready for use. Telegrams could then be sent and received seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. Currently at this location: Hodges Jewelers
July 11, 1937- Dr. L. C. Jackson opened his office in Dickson on Main Street on the 2nd floor of the Ray Building over the Kuhn Brothers 5 and 10 cent store. His sister, a graduate nurse, assisted him in his practice of medicine in Dickson County. Dr. Jackson graduated from the U. T. Medical School in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1931. Currently at this location: Curcio Building
April 5, 1938- The new Roxy, completely remodeled and modern in every respect, and one of the finest movie houses in middle Tennessee opened. The theater would seat 500 people and was completely air conditioned, carpeted, and equipped with a lighted stage. Currently at this location: James+Associates
May 1, 1939- Bennie McCreary and Robert Sugg opened the New Century Studios on West College Street in Dickson. The name was later changed, and remains to be, the McCreary Studios, owned and managed for many years by Mrs. Helen McCreary Eubank. Currently at this location: McCreary Studios
June 10, 1939- The formal opening of the new Vogue Shoppe on North Main Street was held with several hundred people inspecting the new Ladies Shoppe. Mrs. Neeley Jackson was to manage the business. The Vogue was located in the building that had been vacated by the Style Shoppe. Currently at this location: Spunky Monkey
September 22, 1939- The National Store opened in Dickson on North Main Street next door to the Myatt Drug Store. It opened in the building that had been recently vacated by the McLean-Ramsey Company. The National Store and Myatt Drug Store were both destroyed by a fire on February 15, 1973, at about two-thirty o’clock in the morning. Currently at this location: Patina V
January 27, 1940- At 2:30 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, North Main Street was packed with citizens at the retail merchants of Downtown Dickson gave away a new Chevrolet car. The contest took place over the entire year of 1939 with each 25 cent purchase from a downtown merchant allowing them to place one ticket in the drawing. The winner was Louise Luke Leech (later Talbert).
January 12, 1941- At about 6:00 o’clock in the morning, a big fire on North Main Street destroyed the Kuhn’s Brothers 5 & 10 store. Hubert Ray was the owner of the building and repairs and rebuilding was begun immediately. Currently at this location: The Curcio Building, home of Bloom Day Spa
September 18, 1942- R. T. Meadow, owner of Meadows Furniture, moved into the building recently vacated by the Franklin Brothers. The building was located on the corner of South Main Street and Railroad Street, in the old Halbrook Building. Meadows would carry a bigger stock of furniture since he now had a larger building. He stated that for the grand opening a new $8.50 plush bottom chair would be given with each new bedroom suite purchased. Currently at this location: IREX Contracting Group
November 1, 1943- Early in the morning, fire broke out in the South Side Café on South Main Street. It soon spread to the Dickson Hatchery, R. D. Field Feed and Seed Company and the W. H. Walker Grocery Store. The fire was contained to buildings on the west side of South Main Street between the railroad and the alley.
October 29, 1945- Dr. Albert Wright opened his optometry office on North Main Street between Charlie’s Radio Shop and the City Service Dry Cleaners. Currently at this location: Goal Post Sporting Goods
April 18, 1946- The town of Dickson bought the old Citizens Bank building on the corner of North Main and Railroad Streets. The electric department was to use the main floor and other city offices were to be upstairs. The council chambers were to be in the old depot building in the back. Currently at this location: Bank of Dickson
August 2, 1946- The Dickson County Herald moved into a new building. The building was located on Railroad Street in back of the Myatt Drug Store. Currently at this location: One Care Dental Solutions
December 16, 1946- Henry V. Ragan, at the age of 25, opened his first business in Dickson, Tennessee. It was a plumbing and heating business located on the corner of South Main and West Walnut Street. It was a 10×10 space, including his shop, office and warehouse. He mortgaged his home to pay for the business and he sold his car to buy a work truck. The first month’s gross receipts were $47.00. There were no employees until the business was almost one year old. The beginning total investment for stock, tools and equipment was $3,500.00, all of which was owed for. Currently at this location: Phil Hall Electric
April 7, 1947- The town of Dickson voted to install parking meters in the downtown business district on a six month trial basis. The trial lasted for 32 years. May 27, 1947 was the date of the first metered parking in Dickson.
May 2, 1947- The McIntire Brothers, Billie and Paul, finished the new brick building on the corner of East Walnut and South Main Streets. The brothers used the building as a retail outlet, and later the building was bought by the Dickson Electric Department and was used as the main office for the department. The Dickson Electric Department later sold the property to the Dickson Water Department. Currently at this location: New Creature Counseling Center
May 15, 1947- The NC&StL Railroad sent the new and slick passenger train, the City of Memphis, to Dickson for display from 9:30 until 10:15 o’clock in the morning. The new passenger liner was to go into service between Nashville and Memphis on May 17, 1947. The time schedule from Nashville to Memphis was five hours. It was to arrive in Dickson from Memphis at 12:12 o’clock in the afternoon daily and arrive in Dickson from Nashville at 3:33 o’clock in the afternoon daily. A trip to Nashville from Dickson took 53 minutes and cost 83 cents one way. A round trip fare was $1.50, including taxes. The train is 577 feet and 3 inches long. It was the first “modern” train built in the south. It was completely built at the NC&StL Railroad shops in Nashville at a cost of over $300,000. The train was designed to be streamlined in function and appearance. The exterior paint color was blue, from the engine to the rear car, with a gray stripe. The cars were equipped with draftless air conditioning, a public address system, electric water fountains, marble tile floors, and more. Officials with the NC&StL Railroad said approximately 1,000 citizens showed up to inspect the train as it was parked in downtown Dickson. The old steam engine, number 666, was stopped on an adjacent track making what was scheduled to be its last historic stop in Dickson.
November 28, 1947- Announcement was made of a new modern drug store to locate in Dickson. The City Drug Store was to soon be located in the J. M. Gossett Building on the corner of West College and North Main Street. Dr. L. C. Jackson and W. F. “Bill” Bruster were to remodel the Gossett building. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store
March 9, 1948- J. E. Tidwell, one of the oldest merchants in Dickson, died at his home on the corner of Poplar Street and East College Street. He was 85 years old. He owned and operated the J. E. Tidwell Grocery on Main Street for many years. His house was located on the lot where Radio Station WDKN was located for many years. The J. E. Tidwell Grocery was located in one of the buildings that was occupied by Subs & Scoops for several years. Currently at this location: Home Again Antiques
March 26, 1948– The city council of Dickson called for sealed bids on the installation of a natural gas system for the town of Dickson. The bids were to be opened at city hall on April 5, 1948, at 7:30 o’clock in the evening. One of the original blueprints showing the map of the system for downtown Dickson is on display at Ragan’s on North Main Street.
April 9, 1948- The automatic signals at the Main Street crossing in Dickson were installed by the railroad company. For many years, two men, Martin Buttrey and John Dunn, had served as flagmen at the crossing.
October 1, 1948- Nicks Hardware moved into the old Dickson Wholesale Grocery Building on South Main Street. Currently at this location: Vacant Lot – formerly Nicks Hardware
October 19, 1948- Gus Lanier died at his home on Mulberry Street at the age of 73 years. He was a Main Street Barber for many years, a news reporter for the black community in the local paper and a leader in the black community.
March 11, 1949- The Ford Dealership in Dickson was purchased by Mathis-Raymond-Walker, from the Coleman Brothers. The buyers were Lee Mathis, King Raymond, and Ramey Walker. The sellers were Willard Coleman and Dorsey Coleman. The firm was located on North Main Street with the Automobile and Truck agency on the east side of North Main Street next door to the Graystone Hotel, and the farm tractor agency is located on the west side of Main Street next door to the Masonic building. Currently at this location: Goal Post Sporting Goods (east side) and Ragan’s Arcade (west side)
August 5, 1949- The Dickson County Farmers Co-op purchased the old creamery – livery stable – tobacco warehouse building and property on the corner of South Main and West Walnut Streets in Dickson. They purchased the property from B. E. Brown. The purchase announcement was made by Marvin Pitts, manager of the local Co-op. Currently at this location: Phil Hall Electric
October 28, 1949- Announcement was made that a new theater building would be built on North Main Street, on the property that at the time was occupied by the Mathis-Raymond-Walker Ford Tractor Dealership. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Arcade
January 25, 1951– The Kroger Store held its grand opening at the new and bigger store on North Main Street. The new grocery building was built and owned by the E. W. Stewart Lumber Company. The building later became Volume One Book Shoppe, owned and operated by Tom and Kitty Mayo. Currently at this location: Three Times a Lady
February 1, 1951- 16” of ice and snow on Main Street in Dickson Tenn. The temperature was 13 below zero, all power, gas, and transportation was shut down for over a week. The storm hit on the evening of January 30, 1951.
January 28, 1951- On Sunday afternoon, at about 3:00 o’clock, a slow cold drizzle of a rain started in Dickson. It soon began to freeze and by Monday morning the ice had built up to about two inches, stopping traffic and breaking tree limbs. The sleet and freezing rain continued to fall, causing power lines to fall. On Wednesday, it snowed on top of the ice and then it rained and froze. Finally, it had built up to about 12-13 inches of ice and snow. Some parts of Main Street had sixteen inches of ice and snow. Over 900 miles of power lines were out of service, over half of the telephones were out of service, bus service was canceled, and train service was cut to a minimum. Life in the county almost came to a standstill. Temperature dropped to as low as minus 18 degrees in the county. This was the worst storm since the winter of 1917-1918. I was also during this time that Henry V. Ragan drove a bulldozer up Main Street in Dickson.
July 23, 1951- The Bill-Lo’s gift shop opened in the new Dickson Theatre on North Main Street. The gift shop was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Potts and was under the management of the watchful eyes of Lo Potts. Bill and Lo stated in the opening announcement that gifts for all ages would be carried by the shop. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Arcade
November 28, 1952- The management of the Darwin Stores announced a new-modern store would open in Dickson in the remodeled Roxy Theater at 121 North Main Street. Currently at this location: James+Associates
February 4, 1954- John Baker and Sam Bradley bought the Dickson Builders Supply Company from R.T. Reeder and S.J. Daniel. Later, Russell Moore bought into the business. Baker and Bradley later sold out to Moore. The business was operated in the building where J & M Sports was located for many years. Moore built and moved to a new building on Highway 70 By-Pass. Currently at this location: Church Street Antiques
May 28, 1954- With Mr. Hugh Wynn as the first President, the Bank of Dickson opened for business in the two story brick building on the corner of North Main and Railroad Street. Over 3,000 people attended the opening. The Bank of Dickson opened in the same building built in 1926 by the Citizens Bank. The new Bank of Dickson opened 38 years to the day after the announcement by the Citizens Bank of plans to build the new building. Currently at this location: Bank of Dickson
November 25, 1954- Marvin Duke announced he would build the Dickson Frozen Food Locker Plant in the Self Buildings on South Main Street. Duke had purchased the property a few days earlier. The Locker Plant planned to give full service in meat processing for this area of middle Tennessee. Currently at this location: Specialty Electric Company
January 1, 1955 – Radio Station W.D.K.N. went on the air officially for the first time. William A. “Bill” Potts was the general manager, Hal Smith the announcer, Dick Esner the chief engineer, and Ruth Forehand the Secretary/Treasurer. The first words ever to be spoken over the airwaves of W.D.K.N. were, “This is Hal Smith beginning a history of broadcasting in Dickson, Tennessee. There was a baby born in Wisconsin this morning at 12:01 a.m. and in Dickson, Tennessee, here at 1:00 o’clock p.m. January 1, 1955, a radio station was born.” The first owners were John Bailey of Clarksville, Bill Potts (majority owner), and Mitchell Hayes. They station was first located in the upstairs of the Bank of Dickson building on North Main Street. Currently at this location: Bank of Dickson
January 12, 1957- Burglars broke into Sullaway’s Jewelry Store on North Main Street and stole several thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry and diamonds. No one was ever arrested for the break in. Currently at this location: Parking lot for Dickson County Office Building
May 11, 1957- The Town and Country Shoppe, a ladies ‘ready to wear’ clothing store, opened on North Main Street in Dickson. Currently at this location: S & J Designs / Main Street Antiques
April 4, 1958- Dr. L.C. Jackson delivered his last baby born at Jackson Clinic on North Main Street. Bonnie Paul Thompson was born to Bill and Betty Thompson. He was moved from the clinic to the new Goodlark Hospital and stayed there 35 days since he was premature, weighing just 2 ½ pounds. Currently at this location: House just north of the Methodist church building
May 9, 1959- The first Old Timers Day was held in Dickson on a vacant lot on Church Street, across the street from Ragan & Hamilton General Contractors. The day was sponsored by Ragan and Hamilton, Henry Ragan and Vernon Hamilton. The oldest man attending was Joe Ferguson, 110 years old. Currently at this location: Ragan & Hamilton Building – now K&P Events & Rentals; Vacant Lot – still a Vacant Lot
February 4, 1960- Glynn Daniel of Burns, Tennessee, opened Glynn’s Store at 126 North Main Street in the building formerly occupied by the Edwin H. Walker Grocery Store. Glynn Daniel was formerly with Fussell’s and later with the Federated Store of Dickson. Glynn’s latter moved next door. Currently at this location: Gracelynn & Co. Boutique
September 20, 1960- The Dickson Theatre property on North Main Street in Dickson, Tennessee, was purchased by five men for the sum of $55,000 and was later remodeled into the Dickson Arcade. The five men buying the property were Henry Ragan, Tommy Hodges, Jess Walker Beasley, Stanley Fowlkes and Dr. Walter A. Bell, II. Later, Vernon Hamilton and Dr. W. A. Crosby were partners in the property, but both sold back to the original five before the Arcade was constructed. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Arcade (Ragan’s Five Rivers Realty & Auction Company)
April 2, 1962- Ragan’s Friendly Neighbors Store opened at 106 East College Street in Dickson, Tennessee. The building the business was first located in later became the home of WDKN. The grand opening was held on April 4, and a crowd of more than 3,000 people registered for several prizes given away during the day. Henry and Nancy Ragan, the owners, first went into business in Dickson in 1946 as Henry V. Ragan Plumbing and Heating. . Currently at this location: High Cotton
August 3, 1967- Henry V. Ragan moved the Friendly Neighbor Store to 122 North Main Street. The store moved to this temporary location until the remodeling of the property on the corner of College and North Main Street was completed. Currently at this location: Reading Rock Books
October 26, 1967- Leon Haliburton, owner of the Dickson Hardware Store on Main Street in Dickson, announced the store would become affiliated with the Ace Hardware Wholesale Company out of Chicago, Illinois. Currently at this location: Zander’s Woodfired Pizza
May 5, 1968- Open house was held at Taylor Funeral Home, dedicating the newly remodeled funeral home and the new addition. Taylor Funeral Home was established in 1909 by three Taylor brothers, Tom, Marvin and Talmadge Taylor. At first it was a furniture store and a funeral home combination, located at 131 North Main Street where the Main Variety Store was located. The present building of Taylor Funeral home was built in 1926 by Sager Lumber Company. In 1948, the Woodall Brothers, Tom and Jimmy, bought the funeral home. In 1954, Tom bought his brother Jimmy out and for a number of years was the sole owner. In 1983, Tommy Marvin of Centerville bought the funeral home from Tom Woodall. Currently at this location: Taylor Funeral Home
February 26, 1969- The last day for operation of the Clemore Pharmacy on Main Street in Dickson. The drug store had been in operation for 55 years when it ceased to operate in 1964. After this date, the snack bar and variety store part of Clemore’s continued to operate for another five years. Currently at this location: Ginger Hibachi
April 20, 1969- Henry V. Ragan and a crew of men started moving furniture and appliances into the newly remodeled Masonic Building at 200 North Main Street, in Dickson. The building was built in 1909 and has housed the Knights of Pythias and F&AM Lodge, the first picture show theatre in Dickson, a Montgomery Ward Store, the first radio repair shop in Dickson and Adcox Auto Parts. Currently at this location: Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store
April 15, 1970- Bob and Tunelle Nicks closed down the City Service Dry Cleaners on North Main Street. The cleaners had been operating for 34 years. The Nicks couple went in the real estate business full time. Currently at this location: Kerry Pruitt’s building currently undergoing renovations – next to Goal Post Sporting Goods.
February 16, 1973- At about 2:30 o’clock in the morning, with temperatures near zero, a fire broke out in the attic of the National Store on North Main Street, quickly spreading to the Myatt Drug Store building. Within a matter of minutes, the fire raged out of control and completely destroyed both buildings and their contents. There was water and smoke damage to the old Clemore Drug Store building. All three buildings were built after the fire of 1905. Currently at this location: Myatt’s – Main Street Interventions on the corner; National Store – Patina V
© 2017 H. Alan Ragan, Ragan Family Skits and Bits & Archives
A History of the City of Dickson
Mile Post 42… Smeedsville… Dickson Station… and now Dickson
During the iron ore mining and smeltering boom of the early 1800s in Dickson County, several iron furnaces and forges were located within a few miles of what would later become the city of Dickson. To supply the furnaces with ore, large blocks of land were purchased by the owners of the furnaces. One of the furnaces located nearby was Piney Furnace, located on Piney River. The lands owned by the company were known as the Piney Furnace Lands. After the iron ore boom began to die out, the company sold the land. On December 3, 1860, William Crutcher purchased 533 acres of the Piney Furnace Lands for the sum of $2,169.41, on credit terms. He then built the first building in what is now Dickson, a log building measuring 16×16 feet, located near the site of the present Bank of Dickson on North Main Street.
The Nashville and Northwestern Railroad had already been chartered and the line surveyed from Nashville to Lucas Harbor (Lucas Harbor’s name was later changed to Johnsonville) on the Tennessee River in Humphreys County. The line was marked off by mile posts, referring to its distance from Nashville. The area of Crutcher’s log building was first known as Mile Post 42, with the post being located at the crossing of the road from Charlotte to Vernon.
In 1861, when the Civil War began, construction was halted on the railroad in the area of Kingston Springs and White Bluff, and the economy of the county, like other areas, began to decline. Crutcher began to have financial problems because of the poor business conditions in the county. In 1862, union soldiers took his log building, dismantled it, and moved it to Cox Spring. Cox Spring was located in the eastern section of the land owned by Crutcher, now on Mathis Drive at about the site where Mathis Drive crosses the drain between the rear of First Federal Bank and TriStar Bank. The building was reassembled and used for the office of the supervisors of the construction crew of Irish emigrants, slaves, and union soldiers, in the construction of the railroad through Dickson County to the Tennessee River. One of the men in charge of construction of the railroad was a civil engineer by the name of E. C. Smeed. In honor of him, the name of the rail-stop was changed from Mile Post 42 to Smeedsville.
E. C. Smeed was one of Brigadier General Herman Haupt’s most trusted supervisors of the U. S. Military Railroad Construction Corps (USMRR) Construction Corps. General Haupt was the chief of construction and transportation for the military railroad system for the Union Army. Haupt together with Smeed invented a ruthlessly effective tool to render track unusable, it was the ‘Track Twister’. It was a 6 1/2 pound portable tool in the shape of a large horseshoe with a hook on either end. The Track Twister could be placed on either end of the rail with a long timber placed in the loop and then twisted in opposite directions with man or horse power, rendering the track useless.
On May 10, 1864, the railroad was finished and the first train passed through Dickson County headed west out of Nashville to Lucas Harbor on the Tennessee River. The train was carrying a load of Union troops and Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee. He had been appointed by President Lincoln at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became the President of the United States after Lincoln was shot. Johnson went to the end of the new railroad, Lucas Harbor. The population at the time was about 1,000 people, with several general stores, hotels and other businesses. Andrew Johnson himself changed the name of Lucas Harbor to Johnsonville, Tennessee. Johnson was a tailor, a United States Senator, a Military Governor and President of the United States of America.
Crutcher eventually defaulted on payment of the Piney Furnace Lands and in September of 1867 the court ordered the land to be sold at public auction. On October 7, 1867, the records show that Conrad Berringer purchased the lands for $5,200.00 and at once began to establish a town. Within six years, the town had been established, platted, chartered, and the name changed from Smeedsville to Dickson. The plat for Smeedsville was drawn in 1867 and future growth was planned. Hermann Bokum’s 1868 guide book, The Tennessee Handbook and Immigrants Guide, stated that “At Smeedsville, on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, which passes through the county, Mr. C. Berringer, of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, is establishing a colony of framers and mechanics, like himself, immigrants of Pennsylvania. There is oil shipped from this county. The soil is both free and limestone. The lumber is abundant and good… Apply for further information to the Hon. M. J. J. Cagle, at Charlotte, the county seat.” By 1870, Smeedsville had a population of approximately 150.
After the civil war, William Darby published a newspaper, the Emigrants Guide, in which he advertised Dickson County very highly, listing the natural resources of the county, plus the railroad, the rivers and creeks, plus the four towns all located on the railroad, Hutton, White Bluff, Smeedsville and Gillum Station, as good towns to settle in and establish a business.
The name Dickson officially came into being on January 6, 1873, as a petition was filed with the Clerk of the Chancery Court in Charlotte to establish the town of Dickson. The plat of the town was filed on January 21, 1873. On June 10, 1873, an election was held by the citizens involved for the incorporation, and on December 2, 1873, the charter was granted for the town of Dickson, Tennessee. There is no record of why the name was changed, but one speculation is that there was a town in east Tennessee by the name of Sneedsville which caused some confusion with Smeedsville, thus causing the name to be changed to Dickson.
By the time 1880 arrived, growth had come with its problems. Many years ago, Mrs. D. L. Swank stated, concerning the late 1870s and the early 1880s, “One thing, however, that impressed itself indelibly on my memory was the three licensed saloons open right in the middle of town. With the influx of drunken men added to the locals, Saturdays especially were a menace to decency and order. There was no Chamber of Commerce, Lions, Kiwanis or Women’s Clubs to lend their influence. There was a group of men who believed in a better way of life, a decent chance for boys and girls, and for the women too, bowed with poverty and shame because of this evil that threatened to destroy their homes. These men ‘went to bat’ against the monster, with more or less success. Then the Legislature passed the Four-Mile Law and saloons had to go!” The Four-Mile Law was passed by the state legislature in 1877, enacting a law forbidding the sale of alcohol within four miles of chartered rural schools.
With a state law on the statue books prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in unincorporated towns, it is believed the town of Dickson, like many other small towns, used this law to close their saloons, by abolishing their charters. With a population of nearly 800, the citizens of Dickson voted to abolish its charter, doing so on March 16, 1883. The act to abolish the charter was signed by Governor Ben McMillin on March 19, 1883. The town existed in an unincorporated manner until it was re-chartered on April 22, 1899, with a population of a little over 1,300 individuals.
The first organized baseball game to be played in Dickson was on September 7, 1882. It was between the Dickson Seed Ticks and the Nails Creek Nine. The game was called at the end of the fourth inning with the score being, Dickson 50 and Nails Creek 2.
A county election was held on September 1, 1898, to determine if the county seat and courthouse would be moved from Charlotte to Dickson. The vote was 1495 for and 714 against the move. This was 67 votes more than the required 2/3 majority. A compromise was worked out in the state legislature to divide the county into seven equal districts and have a courthouse in both Dickson and Charlotte. Jones Creek was set as the dividing line with those arrested north of the creek being taken to Charlotte and those arrested south of the creek being taken to Dickson.
On December 10, 1925, the Courthouse in Dickson was condemned by an engineer hired by the State of Tennessee. The December term of the circuit court was held at the second floor of the Masonic Building (now Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store) because officials feared the top floor of the courthouse might fall through with the large crowds expected to attend the hearings and trials. On April 26, 1926, the Dickson County Quarterly Court voted against the funding of the cost to build a new courthouse in Dickson by a vote of 29 to 6. The proposal was to cost $34,000.00 for the new courthouse. On July 9, 1928, work crews began demolishing the old courthouse in Dickson. On or about February 1, 1931, House Bill #308 was passed abolishing the circuit court of the town of Dickson, repealing Chapter #237 that in 1899 created the circuit court that was held in the old courthouse on the public square in Dickson.
On July 2, 1929, at a special called meeting of the mayor and board of alderman of the town of Dickson, a resolution was passed to deed the property where the old Dickson Courthouse stood over to the Memorial Building Commission. The Memorial Building Commission consisted of nine members, three members appointed by the county, three members appointed by the town, and three members appointed by the American Legion Post of Dickson. The Quarterly Court of Dickson County, in a stormy session on July 1, 1929, passed a resolution allotting $15,000 on construction of the Memorial Building. The vote was 9 to 16. State Controller Edgar J. Graham refused to write the $15,000 check for the states part of construction cost on the building. A suit was filed against the state of Tennessee on July 27, 1929, in the 3rd Circuit Court of Davidson County. The Honorable E. F. Lankford ordered the state to issue the check.
The first official meeting of the town after re-charter was held on May 12, 1899, with Dr. C. M. Lovell named as the first Mayor.
The town of Dickson was almost completely destroyed by fire in its early years. On August 19, 1893, a fire starting in the store of Murrell and White on the corner of Murrell and North Main Street destroyed all but three buildings in the business section between the railroad and Murrell Street. On November 24, 1905, at 2:30 o’clock in the morning, a fire starting in the Berry-Seay Candy Kitchen on North Main Street destroyed 21 of the buildings on the block between the railroad and College Street.
With the coming of the railroad in the 1860s and the subsequent additions of the Bristol to Memphis Highway (originally known as State Route 1), a majority of which became known as U.S. Highway 70 (Broadway of America)in 1926, Highways 46, 47, and 48, Interstate 40 and more, Dickson has grown. The city may not be located on a major waterway, but it still has great transportation routes. The available transportation and a multi county trade area has helped Dickson to grow a diverse commercial and industrial base.
© 2017 H. Alan Ragan, Ragan Family Skits and Bits & Archives