153 North Franklin
Richwood, the central Ohio village where I grew up, was once sufficiently urban to merit an interurban connection.
That may have been the original plan, but I don't think this particular railway ever went farther north than Richwood. Nor did it go farther south than Delaware. However, in that city a Richwood resident could board the Columbus, Delaware, and Marion line for connections to anywhere in the nation.
Strang-Electric Railway refers to William B. Strang, who had very recently invented a gas-electric railroad car to connect Kansas City to his new suburb of Overland Park. However, the Richwood trolley was not a Strang, as it drew its electricity not from an onboard engine/generator (like a diesel locomotive) but from an overhead wire.
Next to the freight house was a hotel, complete with steam heat and electric lights for the convenience of the traveling public. Apparently the name was actually the Cottage Hotel. Notice the largest of the trees out front; we'll see it again later. Notice that the north half of Lot #212 is open space; we'll see used vehicles parked there later.
As the years went by, automobiles became the preferred form of transportation and there was no longer need for the interurban. Service had been reduced to one round trip per day, and it was discontinued entirely in 1933.
Paul M. Curl and Jay Evans sold cars at a dealership known as Curl-Evans Chevrolet. Where was that garage? Jay's grandson Wayne writes on Facebook, Originally, it was located at Pop's Pure Oil. I think that was around 120 North Franklin Street.
The garage was of concrete-block construction with a wooden roof. The larger rear portion along Oak Street was the repair shop, and the smaller portion facing Franklin Street had a floor about two steps higher. The front half of this portion featured showroom windows; the back half housed the parts department and outer and inner offices. To bring cars up from the shop into the showroom, there was a short ramp between the offices and the restrooms (the small windows on the right).
Notice the big black steel pole supporting a lighted vertical CHEVROLET sign in front of the garage, where it could be seen all the way down Franklin Street. A portion of the Cottage Hotel is visible beyond what I'll call the Sign Pole. If I had to guess, I'd date this picture to about February of 1950 because of another neon sign, this one in the center-right window.
I'm not sure how well they got along at the end. He said Paul took two vacations a year; each one was six months long.
1953 Richwood High School Tigrtrax
By 1953, the showroom was rearranged so a car could be displayed in the big left window, and a metal awning was installed over the front door. Most importantly, there was a new name on the façade!
We soon purchased the Cottage Hotel and tore it down but not the big old tree out front to make room for a larger OK Used Cars lot. The colorized photo below shows that by the time the 1956 Chevys arrived, an Oldsmobile logo had been added to the Sign Pole.
Here's an aerial view of the garage from the opposite direction. A and B are houses on the other side of Oak Street, with addresses something like 159 and 157 North Franklin. H is the former site of the Cottage Hotel, M is the Masonic Temple, and E is the original location (I think) of Curl-Evans Chevrolet.
Unfortunately, in 1964 a great fire leveled the building at 153 North Franklin Street. But it didn't destroy th Sign Pole, and it didn't destroy Vernon M. Thomas Chevrolet & Oldsmobile. My father relocated the residents of A and B ...
... razed the houses, and erected in their place a brand-new building twice as large as the old garage.
All the printed material read 153 North Franklin Street, so the business retained that address, though strictly speaking it referred to what was now only a parking lot with a Sign Pole.
My father retired in 1973, and the Mills family took over the dealership. Sadly, small automobile dealerships in small towns are a slowly dying breed. Some 35 years later, Mills Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Pontiac went out of business.