Photograph Captures a Small Town Moment in the 1930s

June 22, 2012

One click of a camera decades ago offers a quick trip back to the late 1930s in downtown Cleveland, Mississippi, at the north end of Sharpe Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. This tidy row of Model A (correct me if you know for sure!) tractors stands in front of the first home of the West Implement Company, the local farm equipment dealership. That splash of newly delivered bright green John Deere models was like a magnet to local farmers.

Photograph posted on Facebook by Lisa Miller, Director of the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi

The hat-wearing individual in the foreground appears to ponder over one of the new tractors. Priced in the $800 to $1,000 range, it was a wide jump for folks who were still using plows and mules to work many Delta fields. Effects of the Great Depression would have been lingering making anyone question a financial jump into mechanized farming. Everything was changing.

I’m guessing this was a Saturday based on the number of trucks and cars parked in the surrounding area. Saturday was “go to town” day for most people and the work day sometimes ended early. Families headed into town as a diversion from farm life, but mainly to buy the essentials.

Deep into the photograph are the town railroad tracks. Due to West Implement’s handy location the “fleet” of John Deere tractors was probably driven right off the delivering rail car and quickly parked in front of the dealership. That would have been a big day in downtown Cleveland!

Next to Bobb’s Drug Store, the big white building on the other side of the tracks, are three cotton broker offices. They are long gone but the street still hangs onto to the name, Cotton Row.

Visit:  Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum 



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