In some ways, Mt. Judea of 1920 wasn't much different than mt. judea of today. It is as though parts of it are a time-capsule. In other ways, it is much different.
I am fascinated by both the similarities and differences I discover as I learn more about our local history. I try to imagine the conversations that went on while sitting on the porch or around the pot-bellied stove of buildings such as this store. Some of the topics would have included the stock-market crash, the invention of televisions, elections of presidents such as Herbert Hoover and FDR, WWII and the loss of local boys, winners of world series, and births of amazing people such as my (and maybe your) mom and dad and even some of my grandparents.
The pictures below may help our imaginations go back in time...
Please contact me for corrections/additions to the pictures:
"The Big Store"
Taken from across the street, this picture shows the Doctor's office on the left, the MJ Mercantile (currently) in the middle, and a store on the right. The store on the right later burned but the foundation is still visible.
Notice the false fronts on the buildings at the time. The windows of the Mercantile were busted when the motel across the street burned. The heat from the fire was so great that some of the men were afraid it would bust the front windows. In an effort to protect the glass, the men sprayed them down with cold water. Unfortunately, this caused the glass to shatter upon contact with the water. Almost everything else (both inside and out) remains original.
Many an hour was passed on the porch of the old building. Whittling, telling stories, or just watching the happenings of the town were what men such as these did on a regular basis!
From left to right:
Berry Greenhaw? (hat is barely visible)
Bill Hefley (legs crossed)
Burl David Kent in doorway
Grover Greenhaw in suspenders
Roy Hefley or Burr McCutcheon?
Fred Hefley or Arthur Nichols? standing
please contact me if you are certain about the identities of some we are unsure
This picture may have been taken near Loyd and Dora Hefley's house, looking east. The writing at the bottom reads, "MT. Judea, Ar, Aprox. 1930's or Late 20's"
You can see Fred and Hester Hefley's store (which sat where the current general store is located), as well as the storefronts of Doc Sexton's office and the current MJ Mercantile store. On the south side of the street, you can see the motel and the house built by John Johnson.
This was taken from Mildred and Bee Nichols home up on the hill just south of Judea. It is the view looking north.
The buildings marked with red arrows are still standing.
"Standing on the Steps"
Possibly taken on the store on the corner where the current general store now stands and that may be Doc Sexton's car in the background.
In the front row L to R is Beet Edwards, unknown, Irtle Criner. Behind Irtle is James Carl or Hobart Hefley, beside him is Helen Nichols or one of her sisters, behind him is Fines Hudson and behind him is Roy Johnson. The man at the top of the photo is Lowell Holt. The guy in front of Lowell is Ivan Hefley but not sure. The girl to the left of Lowell is Jean Nichols and next to her is Reba Greenhaw and in front of her is Lois Criner. Top-proprieter.
Different ones have identifed the building in the background as the Charley Jones Store. It would have sat on the uphill/north side of Mt. Judea, right on on Hwy 123.
The two women in the picture are Louvinia Holt Hudson (left side) and her sister Dora Holt Hefley.
"John Johnson House"
John and Celetha Hudson Johnson built this house.
The sawmill, cotton gin, and tomato canning factory were located in the holler behind this house.
"Fred & Hester's Store"
Fred and Hester Hefley's store is in the background of the picture. It was located on the corner where the current general store now stands.
Identification of ladies in the picture:
Left: Linda Hefley
Middle: Gussie Nichols
Right: Lina Jean Cook Gregory
"Fred & Hester's Store"
Dorie Hefley holding her granddaughter, Sharon Hefley.
They are standing on the sidewalk of the house that John Johnson built (James Carl and Ruth Hefley lived there for awhile) and you can see Fred and Hester Hefley's store behind them.
Behind Sharon Hefley, you can see Loyd Hefley's store in the background. Notice the false front is gone in this picture but was still present in the picture below.
"Baby Background 1940ish"
Burl Allen Kent was born in August of 1938. This picture of him was taken in the yard of his grandparent's (John and Celetha Johnson) house in Judea around 1940. Notice that the false fronts are still on the stores at that time.
"Kids in "Judy"
This picture was also taken in the yard of the Johnson's house. The names listed along the top are "Louise, Corena, Georgie, ?ise, Frankie, Marvell, Dee, Burl, J.L.
This picture of Edna Johnson was taken in the yard of her parents (John and Celetha Johnson) and you can see the store buildings behind her. This would have been taken in the late 1930's or around 1940. Her brother Dee is on the left and her oldest son J.L. (John Levi) is on the right.
If anyone can tell me who owned those stores behind them at this time, that would be appreciated!
John Johnson purchased the sawmill from J. Town Greenhaw in 1919. It was located in the holler just south of Mt. Judea and burned in the mid 1940's. A tomato canning factory and grist mill were also located nearby.
"Raymond Nichols Station"
Raymond Nichols owned a Gulf gas station that was located on the south side of Hwy 123 right on the corner. Notice the signs identifying "State 123" and the distance to Lurton.
You can see the John Johnson house in the background.
"Leck Hefley Store"
Leck Hefley owned the store on the east side of town and on the south side of Hwy 123. It then changed hands and belonged to Keltner Foster. The pictures below were taken when it was owned by the Fosters.
After life as a store, it was transformed into a local cafe called Herb's Place (see inset) and was ran by Grace and Herb Bolin. The cafe then changed hands in the 90's and burned.
Ruth Hefley (on the left) and Charlene Norton outside the store. The current Mt. Judea Mercantile is located on the left.
The store on the right burned.
"Just Another Day"
Burl Allen Kent (my dad) dressed as a girl for a school play.
You can see Fre & Hester's store behind him and Dorie Hefley or Gussie Nichols walking behind him.
This picture is looking west, unlike all the others. Most are looking east or north.
Harold Dean Hefley holding Linda Hefley with Patsy watching.
They are sitting in front of Loyd Hefley's store (the current Mt. Judea Mercantile).
"Mt. Judea School"
The first school buildings in Mt. Judea were wooden structures and went as high as the 8th grade.
This building (currently part of the high school) was constructed in 1936 by the WPA (Works Project Administration) workers. According to the WPA log book for this assignment, they made 50 cents a day.
The first graduating class of Mt. Judea did so in 1937.
Mt. Judea School, 1936
Perhaps you were thrown off by it not being yellow?
This is Virginia Smith in front of one of Mt. Judea's first official school buses. The date on the picture is 1944.
From left to right: Harold Dean Hefley, Dee Johnson, Burlin Hefley, Earnest Charles Edwards
Coach: Curtis Hamm
Taken on steps of the rock schoolhouse.