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Madison Moments

Jan 22

Broughton's Corner

Posted on January 22, 2021 at 5:57 PM by Ken Kocher

No doubt, on the morning of April 9, 1869 J. A Broughton was inspecting the charred rubble of his Dry Goods and Grocery store at the southeast corner of Washington and Main, a victim of the Great Fire that consumed nearly all downtown Madison. The Greenville Enterprise (SC) reported nine months later “one could hardly tell there had been a fire” and “Four large brick buildings were going up on the public square.” The two-story building that Broughton built wasAugusta Cash Store advertisement probably one of them. Little mention of Broughton’s business shows up in the local papers through the 1870s though we do find mention in lists of Madison’s businesses in Monroe’s Southern Witness, in The Atlanta Constitution, and a couple of trade journals. J.A. Broughton died in 1880 bringing a new business to the building which continued to be referred to as the Broughton Building or Broughton’s Corner.


The Hammonds moved their Augusta Cash Store – sometimes called the Augusta Cheap Store– from the Foster Building, cattycorner across Main Street, to the Broughton Building in September of 1883. Although the business was run by a husband-and-wife team, Mary Ann Hammond was more closely associated with it. Her stature in Madison’s commercial sphere is evidenced by the newspaper referring to her as Mrs. M. A. Hammond using her initials rather than her husband’s as was typical. In describing the move, The Madisonian noted that she would “carry on an extensive dress making department up stairs [sic] and conduct her usual business on the first floor – adding greatly to her dress goods department. The paper congratulated “this elegant lady on her success.” The Hammonds sold dress goods, millinery, embroideries, novelties, etc. here for a decade.

Hunter and Brooks Drug Store advertisement

In early 1894 the building transitioned to a drug store. Clark & Hunter’s Drug Store moved from the Richter Building a few doors down on Main Street to the corner. E.B. Clark and J.H. Hunter owned this business as well as a furniture store. At the drug store, Neil Vason was the clerk and a Mr. Mountcastle was the prescriptionist. Clark left the partnership later that year to return to farming in Oglethorpe County. Hunter continued the business solely under his name until 1897 when he teamed up with Dr. M. F. Brooks. Like most drug stores at the time, they had a soda fountain where, in 1900, they introduced a new drink: Dr. Pepper’s Phospho Ferrates. You could also drop your laundry off to have it cleaned by the Guthman Steam Laundry in Atlanta. The firm employed severalAnderson Dry Goods circa 1907 prescriptionists over the years including: W.B. Ogletree, Ewell Spearman, Mr. Quillian, and Butler Atkinson. Hunter & Brooks Drug Co. moved to the Atkinson Corner in 1902.


The Anderson Dry Goods Co. opened in March 1904. Their ads noted “Known by its Blue Front,” and “The only Blue Front in Madison,” and “The Blue Corner.” Guess what color they painted the building? It appears that by the Anderson's tenancy the arched window openings had been retrofitted with larger square windows. Roscoe Anderson plied his trade here for about four years. A 1906 advertisement announced, “a change in business causes us to offer our entire stock at exactly invoice cost.” It is unclear when the business closed, but the Madisonian reported in April 1908 that W.E. Shepard had bought Anderson’s stock of goods and would conduct a fancy dry goods business at the same stand. It was during Shepard’s occupancy that the storefront had a radical change. The newspaper reported improvements to the store in September 1914. The front appears to have been recessed and the corner opened.

W E Shepherd storefrontThe next tenant, following W. E. Shepherd’s relocation to a Main Street building in 1923, would undertake an even more radical change to the building. Enter the Age of the Automobile. This we will save for a later installment of Madison Moments.

Broughton's Corner 
Dec 29

Number Please

Posted on December 29, 2020 at 10:36 AM by Ken Kocher

The telephone system was a focus of Madison’s people in 1938. The Kiwanis Club “had a hand in getting a new telephone exchange for Madison” – presumably this was new equipment because the Exchange remained at its upstairs location in the Vason Building where it had been Telephone Dry Cell Batterysince 1901. The bigger story was that Madison was to get a new, up-to-date, common battery system. Subscribers were polled as to their support for this a new system and an application was made to the Public Service Commission for the change. So what was this change?

Remember in the old-time movies when folks would turn a crank on the side of the phone to get the operator at the exchange? That was a magneto system where two dry-cell batteries on the customer’s end supplied talking power and signaling power was created by turning that crank to alert the operator at the exchange. With a common battery system all power for the customer’s phone and the switchboard was located in the central office. When the customer took the receiver off the hook, a lamp would light up on the switchboard to signal the operator to make a connection.

Firefighters directing water on burning brick buildings.
On the morning of Sunday, February 6, 1939 any immediate plans for the new system went up in smoke. The Trammel Building (now 115 S. Main) caught fire and was a total loss. The adjacent telephone exchange incurred considerable fire and water damage. Even before the fire was extinguished, Manager R. M. Sealey had set up a long distance line in the former W. E. White Grocery at the corner of First and Jefferson streets (Gussie’s) and crews worked through the night stringing wires and installing a new switchboard. By noon Monday, service was restored to 90% of Madison’s 250 phones. Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Nina Duckworth, and Sarah Jones were “giving their usual prompt and gracious service from a new switchboard in the present quarters” They anticipated remaining there until their old quarters were restored.

However, those plans, as well as the plans for a new common battery system, were thrown into disarray. In the very edition that reported the fire, the Madisonian asked what had become of the promised new system noting that now there was agitation for a dial system. This went on several months. The Mayor and Council passed a resolution requesting that Southern Bell install the common battery manual system at once. The newspaper reported, “Some want common battery and others want dial – and there you are.” Then one June day, Manager Sealy stopped by the Madisonian offices to report that a new exchange would be built next to the Ford dealership. It was to be a residence type building that would house the exchange, offices, and a new common battery system.

The Public Affairs Committee of the Kiwanis Club comprised of W. C. Hemperley, M. A.1941 Sanborn Map McDowell, and Ben S. Thompson sponsored the new exchange. That sponsorship was primarily in the form of Mr. Thompson having the exchange built. Mr. E. T. Chase, from the Atlanta contracting firm of Jirond Jones & Company (also reported as Giroud Jones), was the superintendent of the construction crew that began work in August. By October the building was ready for a walkthrough by the Madisonian who deemed it to be of excellent construction. An article described the layout and finishes in detail as well as a combination garage and supply room behind the building. This outbuilding can now be found behind the Variety Works event center housing a shoe repair shop.

The Southern Bell Telephone Exchange was ready for the “Cut Over” on November 25, 1939. Representatives of Southern Bell, the Kiwanis Club, and the City of Madison were present to witness the transfer of service from the old magneto system located in the post-fire, somewhat temporary site on Jefferson Street to the new common battery system at the exchange on Main Street. The cut over occurred with no gap in service. A week later, at a Kiwanis meeting, Bell Company officials expressed appreciation for the support of the project by the club. The company held an open house for the community the following January where visitors could experience the Voice Mirror and Voice Inverter a machine that gave visitors a chance to hear how their voices sounded to others. One year and a fire later, Madisonians finally had their new exchange and phone system.

Old Telephone Exchange


The Southern Bell Telephone Exchange in the little red brick cottage would serve Madison for 28 years. During that time the building would gain 750 square feet with three additions. Southern Bell would vacate this building for a larger facility in 1967. The reason? A new type of phone system.

Bonus! City Manager David Nunn shared a family keepsake with us, a souvenir box commemorating Southern Bell's move from this building in 1967,
commemorative boxcommemorative boxcommemorative box
Oct 28

“There’s a Rogers Store Near You”

Posted on October 28, 2020 at 2:30 PM by Ken Kocher

Read about Madison's first chain grocery store.

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