Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pampell's, the sweetest corner in Kerrville

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Pampell's, Kerrville, July 4, 1952
I have a lot of fond memories of Pampell's.  Aside from the print shop and the library, this is the building downtown I visited most often. In those days it was a drug store run by Bob Hood and his wife Carolyn, and it had a long soda fountain. I remember Emmie Kneese and Virgie Morris who worked at Pampell’s. Emmie could make a milkshake that would knock your socks off. Virgie worked on the opposite side of the store, and sold me many a Hershey’s candy bar.  It’s odd, but the normal rule, where children always addressed adults by their last name, didn’t seem to apply at Pampell’s.
What you might not understand is this: it seemed everyone downtown stopped in the morning around 10 and walked over to Pampell’s for coffee or a coke. Everyone, no matter how busy or important. The Mosty brothers would come up from their garage blocks away; Merrill Doyle, who painted the murals at the library was frequently there, and even my busy father went there almost every day. I remember running into quite a colorful group of people at Pampell’s.
The long soda fountain was parallel to Sidney Baker Street, and toward the back of the store were a few tables and chairs, made of twisted chromed wire legs and wooden tops. Legend said they came from the Chicago World’s Fair, brought back by J. L. Pampell himself. I remember wanting to purchase a table and chairs from that place when they were later sold at an auction, but of course the price was so high I couldn’t afford them. But they held a lot of memories for me (and also, probably, for whoever bought them).
The regulars would gather back there and sip a coke or coffee and visit. It was wonderful, really. Busy people taking time to stop, to converse, to tease and joke, to put aside their work for a minute or two, and enjoy each other’s company. I heard many a story back there, and some of the stories about old Kerrville probably inspired in me an interest in local history.

I have several things from Pampell's in my collection:

Wax paper cup, Pampells, ca 1950s

Several gifts from readers of my column.
Pampell's bottle, ca 1950s
Pampell's label, 1960s
Pampell's tag, late 1950s
Pampell's bottle, ca 1920s

Pampells was, for a while, the Victrola dealer for Kerrville.
Metal sign, ca 1920s
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1 comment:

  1. Two of my friends and I were eating lunch at Pampell's on November 22, 1963 when we heard that President John Kennedy had been assassinated. To say the least, the place holds memories for me!

    Kathy Turley
    Nuevo, California
    (born in SPMH in 1947!)


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