Recently, I examined some old city directories, reflecting on the large number and diversity of business establishments that were once a fixture in downtown Johnson City.
I noted the rapid turnover rate of some dwellings, a few being the result of businesses relocating, in hopes of gaining a more competitive advantage. Case in point is McLellans (not McClellans as it is often spelled), the five-and-ten store that was once located at 223-225 E. Main, adjacent to the Liberty Theatre. The business opened its doors around 1925, first locating at the smaller 331 East Main edifice (later the site of Cole’s Drug Store and their delectable slaw hamburgers).
About 1946, the enterprise effectively doubled its floor space, taking over the vacated premises of Tom McAn Shoes and Ira A. Watson Company (department store). As the downtown area slowly began declining in the 1970s, some establishments were forced to choose between staying at their current site or moving elsewhere. Sadly, many went out of business, adding to the growing downtown malady.
With this in mind, I developed a short matching quiz listing several vintage advertising slogans from the 1940s and 1950s and their corresponding businesses. Some are dead giveaways; other will challenge even the most ardent Johnson City history buffs. Sit back and take a leisurely stroll down Johnson City’s advertising memory lane of yesteryear:
Slogans: 1- Where the Students Buy Their School Supplies, 2- The Pride of Tennessee, 3- What the People Don’t Know Will Hurt Them, 4- Cars Equipped with Two-Way Radios, 5- On the Minute Service, 6- The Thinking Fellow Rides a Yellow, 7- Everything Photographic, 8- Uncle Arthur’s Place, 9- Where Those Who Know Buy Their Clothes, 10- Where Everybody Goes, 11- On the Main Artery, Johnson City’s Finest, 12- You Are Always Welcome at (?), 13- East Tennessee’s Finest, 14- Double-Measure: Double-Pleasure, 15- For a Better Deal See a Better Dealer, 16- Everything for the Home, 17- Finest in Foods, 18- Johnson City’s Friendly Store, 19- Where the State Students Are at Home, 20- Your Account Will Be Appreciated, 21- Your Friendly Credit Jewelers, 22- The Cleanest Used Cars in Town–Priced Right, 23- A Good Drug Store, 24- Where All Good Sports Get Together and 25- No Better Than the Best But Better Than the Rest.
Businesses: A- John Sevier Hotel, B- Fountain Square Furniture Co., C- The Jewel Box, D- Johnson City Press Chronicle, E- Yellow Cab, F- S.H. Kress, G- Charles Store, H- Anderson Drug. I- The Chocolate Bar, J- Dixie Drive-In, K- Prator-Wilson Pharmacy, L- Dutch Maid Drive-In, M- Hamilton National Bank, N- The Little Store, P- Sevier Theatre, Q- Calfee & Swann, R- Diamond Cab, S- Double-Cola Bottling Co., T- College Grill, U- Arney Motor Co., V- The Spot, W- Kings Department Store, X- Lester Bowman Auto Exchange, Y- Dinty Moore’s Restaurant and Z- Johnson City Recreational Center.
Here are the answers to the quiz: 1F, 2J, 3D, 4R, 5H, 6E, 7Q, 8I, 9W, 10P, 11A, 12V, 13L, 14S, 15U, 16B, 17N, 18G, 19T, 20M, 21C, 22X, 23K, 24Z and 25Y.
Give yourself four points for every correct answer; your score will be determined by your age and your memory. If you have a favorite or unusual business slogan not listed above, please share it with me.