Tue, Feb 20, 2018 05:36 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-31 communities
Paintsville Main Street

Main Street, Paintsville circa 1914 (click for larger version)
by Selene Blanton | Main Street Director

Don't you just love solving a mystery?

For the past several months, Paintsville Main Street has been working on a project of collecting old photographs of various historic sites around our city. We have been asking the community to bring in old photos so we can archive them into a collection in order to "bring back the past" for future projects.

Mary Grace Garland brought a postcard to me last week of Paintsville Main Street. She didn't know what year the photograph was taken, and that's where the mystery began. After I blew up the picture, I saw many hints that led me on the path to find the correct year.

On two of the electric posts, a sign read, "Kit Carson Here Tuesday Oct. 13," but it didn't have a year. After narrowing the potential years down to 1908 or 1914, I went to the archives at the Johnson County Public for the answer. You can imagine my delight when I encountered an ad in The Paintsville Herald in October 1914 that read, "Kit Carson's Buffalo Ranch, Big Three Ring Wild West Circus coming to Paintsville on Tuesday October 13 for an afternoon and night show." The ad also stated that this was "The largest Wild West show on earth and they were Coming direct on their own special train of forty double length railroad cars from the biggest ranch in the world." So the mystery was solved the year the photograph was taken was 1914.

As you look down the street, you can see on the right the Webb & Preston Mercantile Store, a hanging sign for a dentist's office, and in the background you can see the First National Bank building that still exists in the same location. In the middle of the street you can see a horse-drawn buggy loaded with a barrel and several townspeople walking along the street in top hats and suits. On the left side of Main Street sits a congregation of men on a bench watching the buggy pull away. You can see the Paintsville Grocery building, which The Paintsville Herald in 1914 stated, "was one of the largest business concerns in the Sandy Valley."

On the corner of Main and College streets, a sign on the side of the building reads, "The Hager." An ad on that date states The Hager as being Paintsville's new hotel. C.W. Hager was the manager and Col. Milt Hager the proprietor. On Dec. 3rd of that year an add ran in the newspaper for Hager's Soda Fountain/Cafe "They offered their wagon for delivery services to all parts of the city." I can remember Hager's Drugstore being on the corner at that location when I was a child.

If anyone has any old, rare and extraordinary photographs of Paintsville or surrounding locations, bring them by the Main Street office located in Citizens National Bank on Main Street.

I just love solving mysteries like this about historic sites in our town.

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