New Kerr County History Book Available!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Ridiculously Busy Downtown Kerrville postcard

Man, Kerrville was hopping in this photo.  I remember a lot of these buildings, but this clear photo shows so many details.  There's a newsboy's bicycle at the gas station under the hospital; another bike parked at Pampell's; awnings on the J C Penney building; a Pool Hall down in the 800 block of Water; the Arcadia and Manhattan Cafe signs dominate that side of the street, along with the Western Auto; a Yellow Cab heading to the Taxi Stand by the Sidney Baker Street bridge; and, of course, the big Blue Bonnet Hotel in the background.
Click on image to enlarge
Water Street looking east, Kerrville, around 1950.


  1. This photo brings back so many great memories of Kerrville. This photo was taken when Kerrville was still a small town.

    The Humble gas station was always busy. Being located right in the middle of town was a true convenience for everyone who shopped in downtown Kerrville, and everyone did shop in the downtown area.

    I loved the J.C. Penney store. It had two large doors at the front of the building. The doors were surrounded by large, floor to ceiling, glass walled, showroom areas.

    Inside were two levels for shoppers to roam around and see all the latest fashions.

    Penney's also had a cash delivery system that allowed the salespeople to send the customer's money up to a second story cashier. After receiving the payment, the cashier would send the customer's change and receipt "flying" back down the cash carrier system. It was great fun!

    The downtown area had a pharmacy everywhere you looked: Pampell's, Harts, Central, Blue Bonnet, and Joe Pacheck's. If I think really hard, I might be able to think of another pharmacy that was located downtown. If so, I believe that it was opened and closed before 1938.

    In the photo I can also see Lehmann's Five and Dime store. It was a great store because of all that it offered. No matter what time of the day that you went to that store, you always saw someone you knew. Later, Mr. Lehmann's boy, Gene, managed the store.

    In those days, there were two elevators in the hospital, one in the back, and one in the front.
    The front elevator had an operator. You told him which floor you wanted to go to, and he took you there.

    When he was taking a break, you could ride the elevator by yourself. You could also force the doors open between floors, which always scared the "bejoobies" out of the people riding the elevator.

    Oh, how I loved that old Blue Bonnet Hotel. It opened around 1926 or 1927; I don't remember for certain. That was a long time ago.

    The hotel had such a grand ballroom. It also had pretty fancy suites. Kerrville had never had such an elegant hotel as the Blue Bonnet. It had all the most modern conveniences, at least for the time period.

    The suites were two rooms, and had their own bath and shower. I remember thinking how grand the hotel was because I would never again have to walk down a hotel hallway to get to a bathroom - a public bathroom, that is. The Blue Bonnet was true luxury. I miss it.

    I don't remember for certain, but I believe the hotel was built by a man named Mr. Singleton, or Singletary, or something like that. Whatever his name was, he was a very likeable person.

  2. The cash carrier system that J.C. Penney's utilized can be seen in an old 1947 movie that is entitled, "Life With Father."

    It stars William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor and Jimmy Lydon.

    There is a scene whereby the mother (played by Irene Dunne) has recuperated from an illness and decides to venture out on a shopping trip.

    While in one of the stores, the cash carrier system can be seen as it is operated by a store employee.

    The cash carrier system was a great invention.

  3. Rawson and Rock were the names of two other downtown pharmacies.

  4. This photo brings back so many memories, both good and bad. I won't attempt to list them all, but I will stare at the photo for a long time. Thank you!


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