"Good Morning Earlington:
More Beauty Salons and Barber Shops"

It appears there were other beauticians in the city in the late ‘30’s than I first though. Ruth Suthard Lamb (not to be confused with May Lamb, mother of Buck) ran a beauty shop in the rear of Mr. Rudd’s barber shop (South Robinson where the old post office was once located). Ruth was the wife of Granville "Peck" Lamb, "a nice fellow" who worked in the Shoe Emporium of the West Kentucky Store and was the brother of Earlington’s infamous Grace Price. In the mid ‘40’s "Peck" and Ruth left Earlington when he developed tuberculosis and was hospitalized at the Louisville sanitarium. They stayed on there with "Peck" working construction until they later moved to Jacksonville, Florida., where he died several years ago. Ruth also passed away, and although neither were originally from Earlington, they elected to be interred here in Oakwood Cemetery.

Mrs. Dorothy Carroll Christopher, EHS ‘42 (daughter of Gilbert and Mamie Carroll, corner of Hanson & Robinson) said that in 1934 she paid $2.95 for a heat wave perm which "liked to burn my head off and left a blister." Dorothy said it began when she learned she was going to be in one of Mrs. Mable Stodghill’s 5th grade plays on a Friday morning 10am chapel program . For the special event her mom treated her to her first store-bought (company story) dress and a "fuzzy" perm on her shoulder-length straight hair. The only beautician in town at that time was Mrs. Foster whose shop had been located for several years on the corner of Farren & Robinson (in what is now Jay Marquess’ home).

A year or so later Mrs. Floyd Byrum opened a shop on S. Railroad and began giving "machineless" perms. Since she produced curls by putting pads on the hair and dampening them with chemicals to cause heat instead of electricity, Dorothy decided to achieve her next "natural" curls without electrical current. Dorothy’s also says when she attended the old JBAM School free lunches were served in the 3rd floor auditorium. Times were hard and the government donated food and milk for school children. The lunch was free only if you qualified by way of your income (which at that time most did) or if your mother helped prepare the food. Since Mrs. Mamie, Dorothy’s mother, worked in the school lunchroom, Dorothy qualified. She says she still remembers the lunches and the old auditorium.

And Other Barber Shops

Now, as for barber shops in the ‘40s, I omitted three, two of which I was unaware, but the third I should have remembered because I have its ‘50s Messenger ad. That is of Rev. H.H.Belle who had a barber shop (‘47-57) on N. Robinson at the site of the present Masonic Hall. Rev. Belle’s shop was on the right; Henry King’s restaurant was on the left; and the Masons met upstairs. (Previous this was also the site of the 2nd AME Zion Church. A new Masonic Building presently occupies the lot.) The shoeshine person at Rev. Belle’s Deluxe Barber Shop was Rufus Cox and the apprentice barber was Faye Hughes (until her father Oscar Gill built her shop in ‘57on S. McEuen where they worked together). Rev. Belle seemed to be a busy person as he was not only a barber, a licensed instructor, and coal miner, but he also pastored the Little Flock Church in Nebo (’58-‘77) as well as Heckla’s Pleasant Grove Church (’60-‘77). Rev. Belle moved to Hopkinsville in ’77 to pastor the Durrett Avenue Baptist Church where he remains today.

One other barber of the late ‘30s of whom I was not aware was James "Hicky" Smith (husband of Mrs. Clara Smith who operated Clara’s Beauty Shop--the only black beauty shop here for many years). Mr. Smith was a licensed barber at Garrett’s Shop at the right side of Hubbard "Red" Garrett’s Restaurant (later Hall’s Pool Hall) for a while. Later while Mrs. Clara operated her shop in their home, Mr. Smith moved his "one chair" to a shop at the rear of the home. Although I may not have remembered a barber shop there, I certainly remember Mr. Garrett’s restaurant (run by son Adrien) as do most Earlingtonians who were here in the ‘40s and early ‘50s.

Ann Gipson 12-14-2001