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Early 1900's

Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

The 1930's and Depression Years

Farm Life

During the late 1920's and the 1930's the whole country, with Stanley included, was going through the "Great Depression."

Farming remained the major occupation in the Stanley area, even though some people had left the farm to go to work in the mills. They moved into town and made their homes close to the mill.

The countryside consisted of large family farms or smaller tenant farms where people lived off the land as the ancestors had before them. Life was hard and being conditioned to the killing of animals for food and working in the fields were still the necessities of life.

Highway Expansion Continues

Back in 1922-23 the Highway Department had begun a program to pave most of the major roads in the state. At that time the road from Charlotte to Lincolnton was paved as well as the road from Stanley to Dallas. However, by 1929 it was determined that a new and better road from Stanley to Mt. Holly was needed. A roadbed was graded for the new route which entered Stanley directly alongside the railroad and eliminated two dangerous curves upon entering town.

Telephone Exchange

In December of 1930 Lester T. Lineberger was allowed a 33 year franchise to build and operate a telephone exchange in the town of Stanley. However, on the 7th day of July 1941 an authorization was afforded the Southern Bell Telephone Company of Atlanta, Georgia to erect telephone and telegraph lines in the town of Stanley.

No Town Taxes

No property taxes were levied for the year 1933 in Stanley.

George Robert Shook

Bob and Margaret Shook moved to Stanley around 1904 following his parents and brothers and sisters who had moved from Catawba County. Bob and Margaret only lived here a short while before moving with his young family to Pumpkin Center where he ran a grocery store; and then a while later the family moved to Maiden. In 1925 Bob Shook purchased the meat market in Stanley from Logan H. Goodson and the family moved back to Stanley.

He ran the meat market for only a short while and then began selling groceries in the store near the Lutheran Church that had been previously run by James S. Fox and his wife, Mary A. Wallace Fox.
Warren Abernathy on the left and Bob Shook on right in front of Shook-Abernathy Grocery Store on North Main Street around early 1930's

Sometime in the early 1930's Bob Shook went into partnership with Warren Abernathy in a grocery store Warren began in February of 1928. This store was located north in the next block, beside McKelvey's Drugs.

After Warren Abernathy's death at age 32 on 29 November 1934, Paul Shook, Bob's brother, went into the grocery business with him. Some time later they moved their grocery business a block south into the McLurd building next to the Post Office. At age 72 Bob sold his share in the business to his brothers but continued to work at the store without pay until around age 94.

The Bob Shook family attended Christ's Lutheran Church where he was responsible for ringing the church bell, which he did every Sunday for forty three years until the new sanctuary was built and they no longer had the bell.

In 1975 the town of Stanley declared September 5th as Mr. Bob Shook Day. It was his 100th birthday.

George Robert Shook died at the age of 102 on 23 October 1977. He and his wife, Margaret, are buried in Christ Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Inside the Store on North Main Street
Paul Shook in apron - Avery Shook behind counter (without hat). Others unidentified.

Bob Shook's brother, Paul was a merchant in Stanley for over fifty years, both in the grocery and later in the clothing business.

During the Depression, when the people didn't have money to buy groceries, he let them have what they needed on credit, sometimes knowing that many may not be able to pay him later. A lot of families who would have gone hungry during the Depression were able to be fed thanks to Paul and his help. Not only did he give away large amounts of goods to private families, but also to Stanley Schools, the Salvation Army and to his Church. (See George Robert Shook and Paul and Edna Shook)

Bank Closings

The year 1933 seemed to be the crises year for the Depression. By 2 March 1933 more than 20 states had declared bank holidays as a measure to stop customers from withdrawing their money in a panic. In a few days banks across the country were all closed. The Farmer's and Merchants Bank in Stanley was included in the closing.

An emergency banking bill was drawn up by the Federal Government in which Federal Reserve Notes were issued to the banks which proved to be in sound condition, allowing them to reopen.

Stanley's Farmers and Merchants Bank never reopened. Many of Stanley's citizens lost money as depositors as well as stockholders.

A Water and Sewer System for Town

A referendum was held and an ordinance was passed on November 22, 1933 for an issuance of bonds for a sanitary sewer system, sewage treatment plant and water works system in the town of Stanley. The waterworks system comprised of deep wells and pump stations at different locations around town as well as an elevated storage tank. Up until that time most townspeople had private wells and private outdoor closets or priveys. The mill village residents relied on the mill to supply their water.

The water system, installed first, was completed in 1936 with a water tank constructed on the northern end of town. The sewer system was not completed until the late 1940's.

Dr. B. G. Weathers, Sr.

 A well known figure around town beginning in 1929 was that of Stanley's "country doctor," Dr. Bailey Graham Weathers, Sr. (1895-1974). His career in Stanley spanned forty-five years and covered a fifteen mile radius. During World War II he was the only doctor in Stanley. He was on call twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Very few roads in the county were paved and the doctor expected to be hauled out of mud holes at almost every farm house where he made a winter call.

During those first twenty years when there were few cars Dr. Weathers estimated he covered 450,000 miles of mostly dirt roads and wore out nine automobiles. He delivered three thousand babies.

In 1949, Dr. Weathers was named Gaston County's "Country Doctor" of the year by the Gaston County Medical Society. In an interview with the Gastonia Gazette Dr. Weathers was quoted as saying, "I made up my mind to be a country doctor. That is what I wanted when I started out and I've never changed my mind." (See Dr. B. G. Weathers, Sr.)

To the left is a photo of Dr. Weather's Drug Store taken sometime around 1930. Pictured in front of the drug store is Forney O. Goodson, Sr. Notice that the sign indicates Dr. B. G. Weathers Medicines & Soda Shop also had curb service available.

The building to the far left, in the picture above, is part of the George Watts Cafe and living quarters for George and his wife, Mozelle Welch Watts. John Derr had his Pressing Club down stairs. The building burned around 1931. This Drug Store was located on the corner of North Main & East College Streets.


Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

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