Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

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Stepping Back InTime

FNB Chronicle Editor

When you step on the front porch of Duncanís Hardware, Feed and Grocery Store at Strunk, Kentucky, you step back in time.

There, beside the old-timey coal oil and kerosene pumps are rolls of fencing wire, wheelbarrows and a sitting bench. If that old bench could talk it could recount many old timersí stories complaining about the weather, government and most definitely a few heated political debates. Up until just a few years ago, local political candidates would gather out front of the store to "lectioner."

Inside the store, your attention is immediately drawn upward to the open balcony that encircles the entire store. Steps behind the pot-bellied stove lead up to the balcony that today is used primarily for storage.

Country stores like this nowadays are few and far between. They have just about anything you could be looking for ó whether it be feed, seed, groceries, hardware, tack, gasoline, oil, bric-a-brac, iron skillets, kitchen ware, farm utensils, or automotive supplies ó itís there somewhere. But to find it, Bobby will probably need to lead you through the paths, around merchandise on the floor, by overflowing shelves and ducking under merchandise hanging overhead.

The store is jam-packed with merchandise, some probably vintage. Thankfully, the time of the shopping cart has not come to this store. This is the kind of store in which you can walk in and tell the person behind the counter what you want, and your order is filled by the clerk. Or, you can carry your items one at a time to the counter to accumulate until you have completed your shopping.

You almost expect to be able to pick up a bottle of Coca-Cola from an old-timey drink cooler that has water circulating up to the neck of the bottle. Remember those? Remember Baby Ruth candy bars for a nickel? Remember thick, hand-sliced bologna and cheese between big four-squares of saltine crackers? A visit to Duncanís Store at Strunk will quickly bring back your memories of those good days of the 1940s and Ď50s.

. . . . And It All Began With Joshua Duncan in the mid-1800s

JOSHUA DUNCAN operated a general merchandise store in the Buffalo Community during the mid-1800s. According to old ledgers on file with the Scott County Historical Society, a "pare of men shews" sold for $1.75 in 1856. A yard of calico material sold for 20 cents. One dozen buttons for a quarter. Four pounds "shuger" for 50 cents. One "stear," $30 and one "yoake oxens," $75. Early settlers raised most of what they ate, but sugar, spices, coffee, flour, fabrics, medicines and shoes had to be bought from general merchandise stores.



T. A. (THOMAS ARTHUR) CREEKMORE opened a used furniture store and shoe repair shop in the Lonzo Lovett Building in Pine Knot, Ky. in 1933. In 1939 he, with the assistance of son WILLARD, built a general merchandise and furniture store at Strunk, Ky., where Ky. Highway #1470 East intersected with what is now known as old U.S. 27. Knowing that he would have to manage the store alone, he constructed it with an all-around open balcony for the furniture so he could see customers who were looking at furniture, as well as customers on the main floor who were shopping for general mechandise. The store is still heated with a huge pot-bellied stove in the center of the store.

Living quarters in the back of the store were used by Mr. CREEKMORE when he didnít have someone living there to oversee the store after hours. The living quarters came in very handy when Mr. CREEKMORE suffered a broken leg and lacerations in a car wreck and was unable to drive back and forth home from the store.

The original road which intersected with old U.S. Highway 27 was on the south side of the store building. In the 1940s the road was upgraded and graveled and a deal was struck whereby Mr. CREEKMORE traded off the right-of-way on the north side of the store for the road to go straight to U.S. Highway 27 and he would take title to the south side road right-of-way.

The store was located beside U.S. Highway 27 until the late 1960s when upgrading of U.S. Highway 27 moved the new route several hundred feet west

(See STEPPING BACK on page 3)

(Continued from page 1)

of the store building, therefore a connector road for Ky. Highway #1470 was built to U.S. Highway 27.

Brothers C. CLAUDE Duncan and BOBBY DUNCAN, descendents of the pioneer merchant, JOSHUA DUNCAN of Buffalo, bought the store from T. A. CREEKMORE in May 1946. In the fall of 1946, C. CLAUDE sold his share in the store to his brother-in-law, ALFRED CROSS.

BOBBY DUNCAN, the present owner, bought out ALFRED CROSS early on and has personally operated the store for 47 years. BOBBY is the father of ROBERT M. DUNCAN of Inez, Ky., and LINDA DUNCAN of Lafollette. He was married to the late BARBARA JEAN TAYLOR DUNCAN. The children of BOBBY and BARBARA JEAN were born while the family lived in the living, quarters in back of the store. In 1955 a home was built in north Oneida and since then BOBBY has driven to Strunk daily, Monday through Saturday, to operate the store.

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 4 No. 3 Ė Winter 1993
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
page 1, 3

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