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Johnny Vardeman: What, where, who facts from back in the day
Johnny Vardeman

Some questions that sometimes come up from newcomers as well as old-timers:

Where was Britt Martin Hardware?

It was at 708 Auburn Ave., which is just off Jesse Jewell Parkway and beside J&J Food Store. The store was a throwback to the old-fashioned hardware store with creaky wooden floors and merchandise stacked and hanging to and fro. You bought nails by the loose handful or pound from metal bins. The place had about everything you needed from a hardware store, or they would find it for you.

Likewise, where was Palmour Hardware?

Similar to Britt Martin Hardware, it was just off the downtown square on Main Street at the corner of Broad. It also carried a variety of merchandise, including curious items you couldn’t find elsewhere. The store actually originated in 1887 as S.C. Dinkins Co. The Palmour family operated it beginning in 1900.

Wasn’t there a building at the intersection of John Morrow Parkway and Pearl Nix Parkway?

The two-story brick building once housed a branch of Citizens Bank. It was torn down when the roads were widened. The bank began operation in Gainesville in 1913 and once was located at 101 South Bradford St. on the square. Its latest location was between Washington and Spring streets, which is now Bank of America.

Where was Reeves Furniture Co.?

Jimmie Reeves and later Ralph Owen operated the store at 117 North Green St. next to what was then Georgia Power Co. There were plenty of furniture store choices in the 1950s in Gainesville. They included W.E. Hood, 328 S. Bradford; Mather-Gainesville, 219 S. Green; Pilgrim-Estes, at the corner of Bradford and Brenau Avenue just off the downtown square where Scott’s Restaurant is today; Propes Furniture on Atlanta Highway; B.H. Moore and Son, 132 N. Bradford; and Martin Furniture, 121 N. Bradford, which continues in the same location today.

Before First Federal Savings and Loan built its building on Green Street, where was it located?

It once operated at 108 S. Main St., Gainesville. The present building since has housed other banks, including the present Pinnacle Bank. Most upper floors are offices.

Who was Gene Tyner?

He was a longtime independent grocer known for attracting shoppers with lower prices than his chain competitors. Among locations were Atlanta Highway, Athens Highway and Hancock Avenue in Gainesville.

Who remembers The Brazier?

The fast-food hamburger place had locations on Atlanta Highway next to what was Emmanuel Baptist Church and across from the popular Doug’s Drive-In. Another was on Riverside Drive or now Ronnie Green Parkway where Little Italy is located today. They also were Dairy Queens.

Who were the first black police officers in Gainesville?

Royce Stephens and Ernest Earls.

Where was the McCrary Branch of Hall County Library?

Across from Fair Street School. It actually was a part of Chestatee Regional Library and named for its librarian, Clara Belle McCrary.

How long has there been a poultry monument in Gainesville?

A group of poultry leaders led the campaign to erect the monument in 1977. It is located in a small park at the corner of West Academy Street and Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Poultry monument
A chicken statue rises from Poultry Park in Gainesville.

What banks preceded SunTrust between E.E. Butler Parkway and South Green Street?

First National Bank built a building on the site in 1951. It was formerly the site of Bill’s Grill. When the bank moved across the street, Home Federal Savings and Loan occupied that building. First National became part of Regions Bank and occupied the building that still stands at the corner of Washington and Green and is now used for offices and has been the scene of movies filmed locally.

Who was Leonard Cinciolo?

A longtime photographer whose studio was upstairs in a building on Bradford Street just off Gainesville’s downtown square. His family had come to Gainesville from Italy in the early 1900s and operated various enterprises around town, including a soda shop and candy store on Spring Street and Bradford Street. The soda foundation and ice cream parlor became a popular place for young and old to gather for many years.

Other photographers at the time Leonard Cinciolo operated included Ed Beazley, who also had an upstairs studio on Bradford Street downtown; J.M. Hardy on South Main Street; and N.C. White, also on South Main Street. Travis Massey continues his family’s Magic Craft Studio on Candler Street.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. His columns appear Sundays. Email,

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