At that time the first depot was in use just a few feet north of today’s depot on the west side of the tracks.
This one-line entry about the construction of a new depot ran in the “Woodstock Locals” section of the June 21, 1912, issue of The Cherokee Advance. “A new depot is being built.”
In the same paragraph, more space is given to the construction across the street of “the handsome three-story brick building of Perkinson and McAfee” which was “nearing completion, and it’s a beauty.”
That business had been destroyed by fire earlier in the year, according to an Advance article in March.
I had read both entries numerous times, but had never paid much attention to the other news items there.
It’s a perfect example of what was considered news in those days when Woodstock’s population hovered around 300 or fewer.
There were few, if any, phones, radios, or automobiles. Local news, and/or gossip, depended on word-of-mouth and the Advance and other sporadic publications.
Therefore, Woodstock’s citizens were especially interested in such tidbits as “Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Fowler of Atlanta visited Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Kemp recently.”
“Mrs. Emmett Carpenter and Miss Eva Fowler visited friends in Canton recently.”
(We must wonder if Eva’s name was a typo. On the same page was the announcement of the marriage of Ava Fowler, daughter of Woodstock’s first mayor N. A Fowler, and Warren Sewell, “popular traveling salesman of Atlanta.” The wedding took place on a Wednesday afternoon, not uncommon since even then, and for many decades later, downtown stores were closed on Wednesdays, which meant that merchants and townsfolk were free to attend weddings and funerals on that day without losing business.)
“Miss Iris Dobbs spent several days this week visiting her brother in Atlanta.” (Later generations would stand in awe of the Iris Dobbs three-story home behind the depot, a revered landmark for many years.)
“Mr. and Mrs. Fred McCleskey visited his sister, Mrs. D. J. Haney Sunday.”
“J. T. Wright made a business trip to Atlanta Monday.”
“Mrs. R. B. Spears visited her mother, Mrs. W. Parks Dobbs last week.”
Just day-to-day happenings, but fodder for over-the-fence conversation.
One item would no doubt be discussed in places other than the next-door neighbor’s, perhaps in Dean’s Store which had only been open for six years.
“The sidewalks are being improved, J.H. Johnston having put a cement walk in front of his place, and in various ways Woodstock is evidencing her progressive spirit.”
The elder Dr. Dean’s death on May 6 of that year had left his grandson, Linton Dean, quite a legacy, and his influence was felt throughout the town. He would have been proud.
A cement sidewalk was quite an improvement over the boardwalk and dirt walkways of the town’s early years.
Less than a year later the town seems to have returned to normal.
The first bit of news listed in the February 28, 1913, issue of the Advance under “Woodstock Items” reads: “The old depot has been torn away, which improves the appearance of the square.”
Ads on that page include one for Perkinson & McAfee, proclaiming itself to be Woodstock’s Big Department Store, “The Store Where Quality Tells and Price Sells. Everything You Eat. Everything You Wear. Everything You Use.”
They note also that they are agents for F.S. Royster Guano Compauy, the “n” type in the word company being upside-down. (For those of you who didn’t grow up on a farm, guano is bat manure and is used as a fertilizer.)
The Dean Drug Co. ad told its story in boldface type. “Evetything in Pure Drugs and Toilet Articles,” with another slip in type-setting, but “Fountain Drinks” was what caught my interest.
The J. H. Johnston & Co. ad suffered a funny error. The owner surely meant to say “We”, but the “W” was upside down, and the ad reads: “Me received this week up-to-date Line of Spring and Summer Clothing, Low Cut Shoes, Hats and Caps.”
Just a few months later, the town’s landscape changed yet again as the Baptist Church and the J.H. Johnston Home burned on the same night, May 4, 1913.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. Woodstock survives, and thrives.
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.