Memories
OF

 

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Three of our all time favorites that kept us entertained throughout our childhood

 
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Click here   To see some of the Movietone news clips of the 1930-50's

 

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There were many film like these

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Allock Coal Company

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Vicco High School
Renown for its basketball teams

 

Yes Royal. I mentioned the Street Car Saloon in upper Vicco. Actually there were two Street Cars hooked together, with one in Knott Co, the other in Perry Co. Food was served in the car in Knott Co and Beer in the Perry car. That place got to be very dangerous. It was the first chance from Knott, Floyd, and upper Letcher counties. It was four miles from my little village, so each car leaving Vicco the occupants would kill a pint or two by the time they got to our town. In our little town was a bootlegger, I and a couple other boys would search the ditch line from mouth of Irishman to Slick Eversoles for these pints and half pints. The bootlegger would pay us 5cents for each bottle with a lid and 3 cents without. The bootlegger would use cornshucks to make stoppers for the 3 cent bottles. Sunday mornings we could have a half a sack of bottles.

J.B. Francis

 

Knott was not always dry. When I was a kid, it was wet. In Smithsboro there was two big Dance Halls and Beer/Whisky Joints. One was the Blinkey Moon the other was called the Big Doodle. My first drunk was thrown at the Big Doodle. My dad and Grandpa took me along one day to visit that place. I remember they were drinking from Large Quart size beer bottles. The bubbles in the half full bottles were very large and caught my attention. I would sneak a sip everytime I caught their heads turned. After a little while they left, Dad said he looked back and I came along laughing real loud and staggering all over the place. I remember going home and getting sick and they forced me to drink Butter Milk. And Boys, today, I can't stand the smell, taste, or even look at a glass that butter milk has been in.

J.B. Francis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born in Scuddy Hollow in 1932 and except for one year that we lived at Glomawr, we lived there until 1945.

Author Willard Ashworth called Vicco the "Dodge City of the East". He is correct except there was no Wyatt Earp. In its heyday, Vicco was a thriving little town. It was the center of the coal camps in the eastern corner of Perry County. From Scuddy to Vicco was about a half-hour walk. We could use the railroad tracks, pass by Georges Branch, and cross the bridge into Vicco. Another way was to go by Hwy. 15. If we went this way, we would walk over a hill top, notorious for its Lover's Lane, down and around a curve into town. At the curve, was a small store that sold more beer than groceries. At the edge of town was a Church of God. A lot of residents attended this church because its pastor played the guitar and was a good singer. There were other churches there including the Methodist where my mother and father attended. The pastors were two brothers, Royal and Franis Baldwin; after whom, I was named.

Martin's Department Store was the largest store in the region. It had whatever one wanted, from movie tickets to plows, at a much cheaper price than the coal companies' store. We bought all of our clothes and farming needs there.

   

Martin's Department Store

 

For us kids, the Pastime Theater was where we went on Saturdays. For ten cents, one could see a Bugs Bunny cartoon, The Iron Claw cliff hanger, Gene Autry western, and The Outlaw feature. The shows would always start with the Star Spangled Banner, Bugs Bunny singing "Any Bonds Today, and a ten-minute Fox Movie Tone news review, mostly about the war. One of these reviews showed one of my cousins, John Shively from Sassafrass,  in a battle in the Pacific. He was standing there holding his helmet with a bullet hole in it and a dead Japanese soldier. His cousin was watching and she screamed, "That's my cousin". When he came home, I asked him about it . He showed me the Japanese rifle that he brought back as a souvenir. Popcorn and soft drinks were five cents each. Some times we didn't have enough money for everyone to get in. One would buy a ticket and the doorman would give us back half of the stub.  This was just in case we wanted to take a break outside and he could see this stub to make sure that you had bought a ticked earlier. Before we went outside, we got a half-stub from one of the other kids to give it to the one waiting. He would walk in showing his half-stub.

Cliff hanger... The Iron Claw

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B Movie

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The Feature

One time my cousin wanted to go to the movies with him. Neither one of us had any money, but he said that he could get us in. When we got there, I asked him how were we going to get in. He said for me to watch him. He walked over to a man who was walking by and asked him for a quarter. The man refused to give him one and then he looked at me and asked "Ain't you Bob Feltner's boy? Wait until I tell him what you just did." I stood there dumbfounded. I told my cousin that I was going home and tell my father what he did.

If it were after dark before we left for home, we always walked the highway. The top of the hill was supposed to be haunted by a person who was murdered there some time ago. As we passed the place, our hair would stand on end and we hurried by  looking over our shoulders for a ghost.

We used to walk through Vicco to visit our Aunt Cynthia Shively who lived at Sassafras.

There was always a lot of activity going on in Vicco. On Saturdays, during the day, the streets would be filled with people shopping and going to the movies. At night the bars would be crowded with young men drinking and shouting to let off some steam. They had been working at the four coal mines located nearby and this was their time to relax. Where there is drinking and women, there will be a lot of fighting and killing and there was.

One time, when Marcus and I were walking the highway to Vicco, three brothers, who we knew, were driving by and when they saw us, they stopped to give us a ride. As we were passing the curve with the store, one of them wanted to go in to buy a pack of cigarettes. About two minutes later, the door swung open and out came our friend and another man going at it with their fists. The other two men got out to help. When the man saw this he quit fighting and ran towards town. By this time, Marcus and I got out of the car and told the men that we would walk the rest of the way. The brothers said that they had been looking for this man and were going to search for him.

We had been in town for half hour when we heard people hollering and laughing.  To their sad mistake, the three had found their man. He was chasing them down the street and throwing rocks at them. The last we saw of them, they were high-tailing it out of town. The man came over to us and started to say something when Marcus told him that we had nothing to do with the three of them. We only had gotten a ride with them. He believed us and walked off.

Shorty Combs owned a restaurant next to the theater where we bought a snack before going to the movies. After I graduated from high school and waiting to join the Air Force, I went to Vicco to see a movie. I met one of my best friends and we stopped for a soda. We were playing with a pinball machine when a man walked in and said to us that he wanted the machine. I politely told him that we were playing and we would be done in little while. He looked at me and said that he wanted it now and if he didn't get it, he would whip the two of us. I told him that he had to whip me before he could whip the two of us. He looked a me and walked out. My friend was a little stunned. I asked him what was wrong. He asked me if  I knew who I had just spoken to. I said no and didn't care. He told me that he had whipped two men the day before. We went to the movies and the two of us went our separate ways. It was forty-five years before I saw Vicco again.

My wife and I were visiting Scuddy because I wanted to show her where I was born. Later we drove to Vicco. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. I did not believe that this was Vicco until I saw the name on the postoffice.  Where there once was a thriving little town was now nothing that I could recognize. Like everything else, when the mines closed and jobs disappeared, so did the towns.

These are some of my memories of Vicco. If you have some fond memories that you wish to share, please email me and they will be added with your name as a contributer. This town should never just fade away.

 


These were sent by Doug Epperson who was well acquainted with Vicco in its heyday and the descriptions are his.

 

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Saturday night Cordell's Bar

A cinder block building close to where the swinging bridge was in Vicco.

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Here is a picture of the Vicco Methodist Church. It is gone now. It stood just across the railroad tracks in Vicco where you went up toward the high school.

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Here is a picture of the old Jim Stacy house. I never saw this house. Jim Stacy built it and lived there. The Stacy family owned all of Vicco at one time. It is supposed to be on the site where my great-great-grandfather Long Jerry Combs lived. He owned all of Vicco and most of Sassafrass at one time before the Stacys. Shadrack One Eyed Stacy married one of Long Jerry's daughters and bought the property from the rest of the family when Long Jerry died. 
It was across the tracks behind the Methodist Church and backed up to the mountain. There used to be a whole row of houses over there but are all gone now. Breck Mullins lived over there and so did the Carrolls. Carolls ran a shoe shop in Vicco. The site where the house stood is now part of the new bridge which runs over top of Vicco.

 

 

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The Presbytrerian Church

 

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Kodak School, Vicco

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Smithboro Store, Smithboro, Ky. Now , just a memory, Submitted by Donald Givens

Donald,
I really enjoyed that picture in particular.  Of course you know Guy was my uncle and we both played around the store.  I saw the cars in the picture and I later bought the 64 Mercury from Uncle Guy and Daddy bought the old delivery truck and kept it for many years.  They gave the old brown Ford car to my brother Doug at one point.   It had a big hole in the floorboard but he worked it out pretty good for a few years.  I sure had a lot of happy times in that store and dairy bar.  
Thanks again for the picture.
Phillip Collins


Donald, I`ve eaten many a good custard from that stand. Janallee
About Us Perry Co. Hazard Vicco Parks Festivals Links My Childhood Mt. Carmel Guest Book