Sunday, October 19, 2014

Zip Code 38336

Fruitvale  What a pleasant sounding name for a town.  By the way, it is in Tennessee.

Sometimes, the most important discoveries are made by following the most overgrown trails, and that is how I became aware of the treasure, Fruitvale, Tennessee.  Doesn't that sound like someplace you'd like to stop and buy a Coke with your wife, then discover a tiny restaurant which serves the best you ever ate, homemade chicken-n-dumplins (with carrots), with sourdough rolls with butter and honey?   
It would only be made more perfect, if the restaurant was nextdoor to a antique/junk store.  

Anyway, I discovered Fruitvale, TN this morning, because one of the 65 townspeople stopped by this bloggie, and left a trail for me to follow on SiteMeter: "Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Fruitvale, Tennessee, Sydney, New South Wales...."

An oddity, so I looked her up.  What an old, rich story behind Fruitvale.  I would love to come visit such a town.  Err, "village" is how describes her:

    The Fruitvale area was settled during the first half of the 19th century. At first it was known as Jackson Hollow. In the 1850s, the Memphis & Ohio (M&O) Railroad was built through the area.
The site of Fruitvale started to be known as "The Switch" because a railroad switch and siding had been constructed there. The switch enabled the community to become a location for shipments from and to the surrounding area. By the last decade of the 19th century, the community was an important center for trade in perishable produce grown on nearby farms. By the 1870s, the community had acquired the "Fruitvale" name, reflecting its role as a shipping point for a large quantity of fruits and vegetables. The Fruitvale post office was established in 1893.

    Ten years later, a directory of local businesses listed a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, and several stores. An ad in the "Alamo Sentinel" in 1900 says that T. P. Taylor has moved to Fruitvale and will deal in drygoods, notions, boots, shoes, a full line of staple groceries, and will take country produce in exchange for groceries. He must not have remained long for his name is missing from the businesses listed in the 1903 directory. This 1903 list included these businesses: Marlow Bros. Grocery; Nelson, Raines, & Scarborough Groc.; J. R. Jackson and Co. Dry Goods and Groceries; W. Z. Williams, blacksmith; R. N. Raines, express agent; R. W. Riggins & Co., Sawmill.

    Brothers J.O. "Ollie" and Oscar Boyd established a grocery business in Fruitvale in 1906 and expanded their commercial interests in the subsequent years, adding the J.O. Boyd General Merchandise Store in 1918. Oscar Boyd sold his interest to his brother in 1920. During the 1920s Ollie Boyd, who also served as Fruitvale's postmaster, started a barber shop and built a potato barn and a pea/fertilizer shed. In 1930 he converted the barber shop building to house an office for management of his business interests. He made extensive land purchases, eventually accumulating 1,200 acres of farmland on which he produced a variety of crops and raised hogs, sheep, and cattle.

The Boyd farming operations employed many seasonal migrant workers who were housed in bunkhouses that Boyd built in Fruitvale.

Later developments

    Some time in the early 20th century, a large wooden fruit shed was built adjacent to the railroad siding. Rail cars could be parked adjacent to the shed for loading of food boxes and crates. A wooden crop scale was installed in 1925.   In the late 1930s, electricity became available in Fruitvale, and Ollie Boyd built an electric-powered corn crusher to produce feed for beef cattle and hogs, as well as a tractor shed.

Dear friend(s) in Fruitvale, I am not belittling you.  I'm as serious as I can be.  We live in a wide spot in the road called Yanush, Oklahoma; barely 120 population. And we genuinely believe there's no finer place to live than in a tiny town:  To me, McAlester is huge, and a city the size of Dallas is agony.

As a kid, I heard of a Texas town called "Sweeny Switch" from my uncle, and I hunted and searched for Sweeny Switch, until I finally found it:  And I loved it for it's only remaining crossroad and single grocery/gas station store, built in the 1910s.  Likewise for me, there's no place like Wister, and Shady Point, or Adamson, or Langley, Oklahoma, just the sweetest places ever on this earth.

Don't even get me started on Mountainburg, Arkansas~ or I'll go on for hours here.
Or the diner there, or the cafe I visit so much down in Caddo.

I will get over to Fruitvale, Tennessee one of these days, for a visit.  Keep the ole fires burning.

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