DOWNTOWN HISTORY SET IN ‘STONE’
Hood County News – May 8, 2002
In recent articles we’ve explored the west side of Granbury town square in its earlier years when a number of the permanent buildings had been completed. Before World War I the balance of the original frame saloons and others were replaced with the stone structures we continue to know and use today. I must rely on the old photographs because I really had not yet arrived in this world.
I did come into Granbury along with the Great Depression. Nothing new was being built, but fortunately the sturdy old structures stood proudly with new occupants and their merchandise. Possibly the drug store building was the one constant. The owners during my younger years were the Cherrys. Today’s Ratliff Gallery occupies this site.
Not long ago I was able to get two pictures dating to the era around 1970s–Williams Dry Goods store and Collins Department Store. Collins was located in the old Hannaford Arch Block building. Notice the door closing the entrance to the store. Venetian blinds can be seen in the upstairs windows. Modern doors had replaced the original wooden doors at the entrance to the store. The building shows some signs of aging but is very sturdy. The Collins family remained in business here for many years.
Look again at the outside stairway that was deeded its own space beside the Hannaford building. I find it interesting that the front of the adjoining building extends across the stairway area but does not restrict use of it. I believe you will find that Mr. Hannaford built the second structure as well.
Mr. E.G. “Pig” Williams owned and operated the Williams Dry Goods. His brother, Presley, with his wife Marie had preceded him in another location on the north side of the square. As they retired Williams Dry Goods was relocated to the west side. This building still had its original doors, but did have the addition of a water cooler providing “air conditioning” to keep up with the times.
Don’t miss seeing the potted plant on the sidewalk. The Beautification Council had placed these large pots around the square. Merchants were encouraged to keep them planted and watered. Some were very pretty, but others fell prey to motorists using a part of the sidewalks for their parking. The pots have continued to be used today and do add a bit of color around the square.
At the same time period as Granbury was growing with progress, there were changes on the north side of the square. From the photo note that the First National Bank had expanded first to include the first store on its east side into a part of the bank. (This had been the former location of Williams Dry Goods.)
The next expansion was to take another store area. This became the bank’s first motor bank with two stations. It was done by removing both the front and back walls of the building. We drove across the old floor with the tin ceiling still remaining above us.
Observe the old rock wall visible at the back of the opening. Cars turned a sharp left to exit to drive to N. Houston Street. This once beautiful building faced west. In its earliest days, B.W. Morris’ Grocery was located there. It is possible that he may have built it.
Later it was used to house freight hauled from the railroad onto the square. When I was small, the Martin brothers used it for their wool warehouse. Bennett’s Cleaners were probably the last tenants.
As it is pictured here, it had been purchased by the First National Bank and waiting to be demolished to make room for the present parking lot behind the bank. After today’s motor bank was completed, the better stones were used to close the opening onto the square.
The photo from the courthouse lawn shows an effort that had been made to duplicate a portion of the original fence that had been removed in very early years. Each corner had this bit of ornamental fencing, but they were removed in a few years. The planter with small shrubs that is visible at the corner on the inside drive around the courthouse was repeated at each corner. They added attractive areas, but were soon removed to allow more parking spaces.
The efforts were small, but we were all working to make progress.