In Old Hickory there are
two centers of business activities. The principal one is it the
intersection of Cumberland and Donelson Avenue. The other is on
Hadley Avenue at Twelfth Street.
The former is adjacent to the two-story apartment
area and at the main entrance to the village; consequently, and for
reasons previously stated it should be as attractive in appearance as
possible. Unfortunately the present conditions do not meet these
requirements. The buildings are all relics of the war-time era and
while some improvements have been made, both to the buildings and
surroundings, the area still has a temporary; makeshift
It is recommended that all of these be replaced by
buildings or a permanent substantial type of a design in keeping with
the southern atmosphere and local tradition. Old Hickory is named
after President Andrew Jackson whose home is within a few miles of the
village. This home, "The Hermitage", is a beautiful old
southern mansion and it would be fitting that this type of architecture
be carried out in the new buildings as has been done in the public
These building should be grouped around the
triangle formed by Bryan Street, Cumberland and Donelson Avenues and on
Donelson Avenue east of the triangle. The triangle itself should
have no buildings but should be an open area appropriately landscaped.
In designing the new buildings, space should be
provided for all of the above mentioned activities except the Doctor's
Offices. These have recently been moved to a new building on
Hadley Avenue at Twelfth Street. In addition to these, space
should be provided for village Administration Offices and Offices for
the local newspaper force.
"Y" building - Community Club
"Y" building constructed in the powder plant
era, served various recreational needs of employees for
over 40 years. The club included a gym, bowling alley,
billiards room, soda fountain and barber shop. The
gym was used in the 1920s for showing silent films, but
soon after the advent of "talkies" in 1928 the
movies were transferred to the Old Hickory theater which
was equipped with sound. Like many buildings in
Old Hickory, the club's appearance improved dramatically
over the years. To the right are two photos that
exemplify these improvements.
To maintain proper morale among
worker, diversion must be provided for the idle hours
between work and sleep. This is especially true of
young unmarried workers of whom there are many in Old
Hickory. Some effort has been put forth along this
line attended with fair success. These activities
will be enumerated and suggestions made for improvement.
The community club which has
previously been mentioned caters to a large percentage
of the male workers and to a limited extent to the
girls. The pool tables and bowling alleys are very
popular, especially during the colder months. The
large lobby and porch afford a good loafing place, which
is very necessary in this community as many men and boys
board and most boarding places do not provide inviting
nor comfortable quarters for these off hours. The
soda fountain with its distribution of ice cream, candy
and tobacco, etc. is a necessary adjunct to the Lobby.
All of these recreational features
are good for the employees and should be continued, and
in addition they are a source of revenue to the
Company. While all of this is true the whole
outfit can and should be improved. The pool tables
and bowling alleys are in poor condition much of the
Community Club -1918
Community Club - 1940s
This photo is of the
barber shop which was inside the club.
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fire hall is today (2002)
shopping center built in 1948 now stands (2002).
The present Post Office is an old
frame building which was originally a part of the
war-time school house.
There has been some intimation
that the Federal Government will erect a Post Office
building here before long. If this improvement is
made, the Government may be induced to work with us and
design the new Post Office to harmonize with the type of
architecture it is decided to use. In fact, it
might be possible to have this building designed as a
monument to President Jackson in which case we should by
all means improve our portion of the area in keeping
-Old Hickory 15th
Anniversary - Old Hickory News
On the site where Sullivan's
Department store now stands was opened the first office,
in Feb. 1918. At the very beginning it was a small
affair and poorly manned and it was catalogued as the
The Nashville office furnished the
one here with one hundred dollars worth of stamps and
one money order book. The allotment for clerks was
so far below what was needed that there wasn't any hope
of meeting requirements.
Within a very short time the post
office was moved across the street where it occupied
half of the Robinson Grocery Store. It is told on
J.W. Williams, postmaster then, that he hired forty
clerks and paid them out of his own pocket until he
could get his quota increased. Then he had to work
through Representative Joe Byrns to regain the money he
Separate windows were opened in
the building, one for nearly every letter in the
alphabet, to facilitate distribution of letters.
The volume was so large that a night shift was put on,
but even then the long lines of waiting men and women
after the arrival of mail each day from Nashville was
similar to the lines at the bank on paydays.
In April of 1935, a new modern
brick building was erected with Works Progress
Administration funds and Old Hickory's post office went
to its permanent location. This was a $60,000 job
and gave the village a beautiful as well as an
up-to-date place for postal service.
Office 1918 - The sign reads "All Men at Post
Office during unauthorized hours will be docked 1st
warning - 1 hour; 2nd warning - 2 hours."
post office as it appeared in 1939.
1939: Left to Right: N.T. Warren, Thomas Jacobs, R.B.
Sands, Charles Ensley, C.V. Lineweaver, T.R. Ritchison, Ivan
Matthews, R.C. Woodard, L.E. Sweeney, T.E. Chumney, B.W. Carson,
assistant postmaster, and D.H. Ensley, postmaster.
playing to overflow audiences like the one at the right,
the Old Hickory Theater was a favorite entertainment
center for thousands of employees and families.
The theater was operated by DuPont from 1931 until it
was sold to the Crescent Amusement Company in
1948. It offered the top movies of the day and,
according to Ray Foster, manager, the most popular films
were those with Shirley Temple, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby,
Will Rogers and would you believe Frankenstein
("three people fainted in a single showing of
Frankenstein one day," recalled Foster.)
Prevalent prices were 10 cents for children, 20 cents
for adults in matinees and 30 cents for adults in the
evening. During on brief period in 1932 when large
numbers of employees were laid off, movies were shown
free of charge.
time ago the officials of the Nashville Trust Company,
of which the bank in Old Hickory is a branch, approached
the local management of the Old Hickory Plant with the
proposition that the Trust Company erect a new bank
building better adapted to their needs than the present
building, and of course of better appearance. They
were informed that it was the Company's policy at Old
Hickory to permit no building by private interests but
there was a possibility that in the not far distant
future the Company would provide better business
buildings. This further illustrates not only the
desirability but the necessity of these proposed
|The Robinsons had several
businesses in this area, but the central business was
the store situated on the triangle. The store
doubled as a bus stop and post office prior to the
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Hickory Businesses - Old Hickory News - DuPont - Old Hickory 15th Anniversary
one might naturally expect, the Old Hickory business section has
grown larger with the development of the community.
Whereas fifteen years ago, Old Hickory had only a handful of
business houses, today upwards to a hundred different
enterprises serve this community in various capacities and with
various lines of merchandise.
Included in this list are ten service stations, several tire
dealers, one exclusive auto accessory store: four drug stores,
more than a dozen food stores; four new and used car dealers;
four cleaning establishments; four furniture dealers; six
restaurants and eating places; two motion picture houses; three
coal dealers; one ice plant; one water concern; five barber
shops; a bakery; newspaper office and job printing plant; one
department store; five other dry goods merchandising
establishments; one exclusive jewelry store; two shoe repair
shops; a flower shop; home laundry; two hotels, one girl's
dormitory and men's hostelry; hardware store;; five , ten
and twenty-five cent store; tailoring shop; Doctor's building in
Old Hickory proper with two dentists, five physicians and a
public health department, a doctor's clinic and a dentists
office in Dupontonia; two chiropractors; two lawyers, two
undertaking firms and perhaps other business and professional
establishments which do not come to mind at this time of this
Station was located in Rayon City on the corner of Bridgeway
And so one might consider on the face of the above report Old
Hickory as a very "well-rounded" community with
respect to the number and diversity of its business houses.
On the other hand, the general layout of the town makes Old
Hickory a most unusual business town. In contrast with
most other towns of its size and potentiality
there is really no definitely outlined business center.
Indeed there are really four different and distinct business
centers, all of which are dependent upon the one community
for their trade. In the section known as the Uptown
business section there is a drug store, theatre, bank,
department store, filling station, shoe shop, flower shop,
cleaning shop, recreation center, and restaurant. However,
about a quarter of a mile away is another business section
comprising two large chain grocery stores, drug store and large
ready-to-wear, dry goods store. Here the Doctor's Building
is also to be found. About a half a mile farther on out on
the main highway is the Dupontonia shopping center with
thirty-two different retail enterprises, including furniture
shops, department stores, dry good stores, restaurants, barber
shops, jewelry store, baker, food stores, automobile dealers,
hotel, and newspaper and job printing plant, filling station,
lawyers office, coal yard, dry cleaning establishments,
chiropractor's office and motion picture theatre.
There is also a coal yard and ice manufacturing plant located
on Bryan Street in Old Hickory proper.
Then, as one leaves Old Hickory going to Nashville by way of
the new bridge he passes through the business section of Rayon
City with its filling stations, restaurants, auto dealer,
furniture store, attorney’s office, grocery stores,
So with this explanation it should not be
Old Hickory firms are well equipped to handle many of the
needs of this growing community. Several local stores rank high
among the stores of the entire county in total annual sales.
Prospective customers may expect to find here merchandise of a
high quality, attractively priced.
In years passed, local merchants have banded their efforts in
trade-at-home movements which have proved successful.
A service peculiar to this particular community, is the
custom many of the stores have of cashing du Pont checks. Since
du Pont employees are paid off exclusively by checks this proves
a great convenience to the customer and is also advertising
value to the merchant.
An accurate estimate of what portion of the weekly du Pont
payroll remains in Old Hickory would be very difficult although
it has been variously judged between 30 and 50 percent. The
amount spent here on business property and improvements would
naturally be expected to be relatively small since most of the
property and improvements would naturally be expected to be
relatively small since most of the property is of a rental
nature. Between four and five hundred people are employed by
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