Monday, January 21, 2019

Dairy Queen


Today Brevard has numerous fast food franchises along the Asheville Highway but in the 1950s there were few businesses of any type beyond Brevard College.  There were a number of restaurants in downtown Brevard that served meals to travelers or those who wished to dine out.  For something quick to eat, like a burger and fries or for treats, like milkshakes or sundaes there were drug store soda shops or the Chatterbox across from the high school on Broad St.

The first chain or franchise restaurant in Transylvania County appears to have been the Dairy Queen located on the N. Broad St. (Asheville Highway) just beyond Brevard College.

This week's photograph shows the original Dairy Queen logo with simple text
and a soft serve cone at one end.
The very first Dairy Queen had opened in Joliet, Illinois on June 22, 1940.  They sold soft-serve ice cream that had been developed by J.F. and Alex McCullough two years earlier.  The McCullough’s had persuaded a friend, Sherb Noble, to sell their product at his ice cream store.  It was an overwhelming success, selling 1,600 servings in just two hours!  Noble and the McCulloughs soon went into business together and Dairy Queen was born.  They went from 10 stores in 1941 to 100 in 1947 and by 1955 there were 2,600 Dairy Queens across the U.S.  The first Dairy Queen in North Carolina opened on Wilkerson Blvd. in Charlotte in 1947.  Today they are an international business with thousands of locations in over two dozen countries.

A search of newspapers, phone books and other resources revealed very little information about the Brevard Dairy Queen though.  An advertisement in the May 26, 1955 Transylvania Times listed the hours as 10:00 am until 11:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, on Sundays they opened at 11:30 am.  Mr. and Mrs. George Adams were the owners. They sold sandwiches, hamburger plates, French fries, cold drinks and of course, ice cream desserts.  Sundaes cost 25 cents.

The Brevard Dairy Queen appears to have only been in business for few years in the mid-to-late 1950s and possibly in the early 1960s.  By 1962 Dairyland was operating out of the former Dairy Queen building.  Dairyland was is business for about 10 years.  If you have photographs or additional information about Dairy Queen or Dairyland please contact the staff in the Local History Room at the Transylvania County Library.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Looking At A Brief History of the Canteen Cafe

The Canteen Café, a long time fixture in downtown Brevard, opened in the summer of 1928 by W.E. “Elzie” Shipman.  Shipman only operated it for a brief time before selling the business to E.O. Shields of Rosman in the fall. 

Shields then sold the business to J.C. “Dock” Galloway who ran it for several years.  Galloway advertised the establishment as being of service to the Home Folks—52 weeks a year, 7 days a week, 20 hours a day.  Later advertisements stated they opened at 5:00 am and closed 2:00 am.  During the period when Galloway owned the Canteen he moved the business to the Weilt Building located on W. Main St. at the corner of the Times Arcade. 

In 1935 Lucien English purchased the café from Galloway who was retiring due to health issues.  After just five months English sold the business to V. Karl Twigg.  By Christmas 1936 Twigg had sold it to Hamilton and Patterson. 

The Canteen was once located were Mayberry's
Soup & Sandwiches is today.
In January 1938, Clyde Hamilton bought out Patterson.  A few months later he remodeled the former bowling alley located between Plummer’s Department Store and Farmer’s Supply on the north side of W. Main St. and moved the Canteen back across the street.  Hamilton and his wife, Hyburnia, would move the business one more time in May 1945 to the Bagwell Building on S. Caldwell St. behind Transylvania Trust.

In addition to serving year-round residents, the Canteen was popular with college students.  The business advertised every year from 1935-1949 in the Brevard College yearbook and often in the school newspaper.

The information for this article came from The Brevard News (1917-1932), The Transylvania Times (1932-1940), and Brevard College Pertelote (yearbook) and Clarion (student paper) all of which are available and searchable on digitalnc.org. 

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Royal Cafe Has Become Lily T Clothing Company

The young men pictured are identified as Walter Whitmire, Luther Cooper
and Tommy Whitmire.  However Tommy Whitmire was only 9-years-old
when his brother, Walter died in 1919.   It is more likely the man on the
 right is Roland or Rush Whitmire.  They would have been 17 and 15 years
 of age respectively in 1915.
This week’s featured photograph dates to the second decade of the 20th century and was likely taken around 1915. Although the image does not include enough of the building to definitively identify where it was located the architectural details around the door and windows are very similar to the section of the McMinn building where the Lily T Clothing Company is today.

A search of the Sylvan Valley News revealed the first mention the Royal Café in a paragraph on May 24, 1912.  However, the business actually got its start 17 months earlier when Spurgeon Osborne opened the Royal Lunch Room in the McMinn building on W. Main St.  The menu included oysters, fish, steak with eggs and ham with eggs.  The café, which catered to those attending court or conducting business downtown, also carried groceries, fruits, confections, tobacco and cigars.

In 1912 H.C. Aiken and J.H. Pickelsimer opened the Royal Café in the old Pickelsimer Drug storeroom and bought out Osborne.  Oysters and fish continued to be the specialty of the café but they also prepared lunches for picnics and driving parties.  In addition they sold ice cream, fountain drinks, green groceries and fruit.  Aiken managed the business.

After just a year-and-a-half Paul Smathers purchased the café.  He continued to operate it for a couple of years but by the summer of 1915 F.N. Nicholson was running the café.  No further mention of the café was found after an April 21, 1916 announcement that Nicholson would manage it under the name of Nicholson & Brother.

The Sylvan Valley News from 1903 through 1916 is available and searchable on digitalnc.org.  It is a great resource to learn all about Brevard and Transylvania County during this time period.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Pete Bikas Greek Restaurant Owner: Struggle and Success


This week featured photograph is looking south down Broad Street from the intersection of Broad and Main streets.  The signs along the building fronts identify long time Brevard businesses including Morris Pharmacy, Jones Newsstand, Crest Five & Dime and Varner’s Drug. 

Snow remained piled in the middle of downtown streets
following a March 1960 snowstorm.
On the north side of Crest is a large sign for Bikas Restaurant—Home of Country Ham.  Although Bikas Restaurant only operated under that name from 1958-1960 owner Pete Bikas was a well-known restaurateur.

Bikas was born in Greece in 1893. He served in the Greek cavalry and in King Constantine’s Royal Bodyguards.  During the revolution in Greece in 1924 Bikas decided it was time to leave though.  He made his way through France, Spain and Cuba before arriving in Macon, Georgia.  Over the next ten years Bikas would purchase a restaurant in Greenville, SC, become a U.S. citizen and send for his wife and son in Greece.  Bikas also helped other relatives, including his three brothers, come to the United States.

By 1942 Bikas had purchased Galloway’s Restaurant on South Broad Street in Brevard. This establishment would later be known as Bikas Restaurant.  

Bikas built a home in Brevard and raised his family here in the mountains that reminded him of his native village in Greece.  For many years he regularly commuted between Brevard and Greenville.  In addition to restaurants in both locations, he also owned and operated two billiard parlors in Greenville. 

Multiple attempts were made to hold-up Bikas at his businesses.  An undated newspaper article reads, “Robbers, and would-be robbers, in Greenville, S.C., should learn to leave Pete Bikas, former Brevard restaurateur, alone. Three times they have attempted to rob him, and each time Pete got the best of them.”

Bikas died in 1978 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident several months earlier.  He is buried at Gillespie-Evergreen Cemetery on Country Club Rd. in Brevard.  To learn more about Bikas’ life visit the NC Room at the Transylvania County Library.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, December 24, 2018

How Reid Furniture Co. Started and Grew


This week’s Picturing the Past photograph features Reid Furniture Company and was taken in 1959. The building where Reid’s was located at the time looks different today.  The best clues in the photo are actually small parts of the buildings on either side.  Can you identify where it was located?

Theodore Reid and W.M. Melton formed Reid-Melton Furniture Company in late 1944.  They held their formal opening on Saturday, February 17, 1945.  They carried living room, dining room and bedroom suites, tables, chairs, rugs and appliances.  Products could be purchased on credit with weekly or monthly payment plans.  Mr. Reid, who had worked in the furniture business for many years, managed the store located at 21 East Main St.

The Reid Furniture Company truck in front of the business at 123 W. Main St.
The business quickly outgrew the small store and in 1947 relocated to the Mull Building on the corner of S. Broad and Jordan streets.  Two-and-a-half years later they again moved to a larger store.  It was shortly after this move that Reid purchased Melton’s share of the business and changed the name to Reid Furniture Company.

In December 1960 Reid announced, “With my lease expiring in January, I have decided to close my furniture store at that time.  Between now and then, I am offering the citizens of Brevard and Transylvania County bargains in furniture that are unheard of.  It has been a real pleasure serving at Reid Furniture Company since 1944, and I cordially invite one and all to come by and see our hundreds of close-out bargains.”

Reid opened an office on Caldwell St. where people could make payments on their accounts.  He continued the business in some fashion until retiring in 1965.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.