Photo of The Month – Aug 2002
The Old Shoe Shop
Picture contributor: David James
From about 1920 until the early 1950s, Walter (“Walt”) Suggs’ Shoe Shop was located in the rear of the building that housed the bowling alley. That’s Walt behind the counter with his son Jack. Those were the days when boys would help their father, and when shoes were made of leather. When they began to wear, people had the heels and soles replaced, for they couldn’t afford to buy new shoes very often. (Today when our shoes show the slightest sign of wear, we run down to the mall and get a new pair. Back then, a mall was a heavy chunk of wood that we used like a sledgehammer.)
If you ever visited Walt’s shop you probably can still remember the rich odor of cowhide, and the strong acrid smell of the polish he used to dress up the edges of the newly-applied soles and heels.
Note the simple electrical service: the overhead lights plug into the wall. Judging from the good stock of new heels Walt kept on the shelf, if the whole town wore their’s out at the same time, he was well prepared. Remember those old paper rollers (lower right) that every business had? Instead of putting your goods into a paper bag, the merchant would wrap them in a square of heavy brown paper and tie it up with string.