South Church Street

South Church in Livingston has seen many businesses come and go over the years. The shirt factory located at the end of that street at one time had around 1,500 employees, and fed and clothed lots of families in Overton and surrounding counties for many years. Just recently a building that was once occupied by Sol Snitzer and his wife Ruth was torn down by the city. Ruth had a dress shop in the front in that building and in the back was a restaurant Malcolm and Jo Melton ran. Those who remember Sol know he was of the Jewish faith, and came to Livingston as an inspector of shirts with the Livingston shirt factory during the period of time the factory had an army contract. After moving to Livingston, he met and married Ruth M.C. Brady who held public office as Register of Deeds of Overton County during the years 1950-1954.  

Ruth Brady Snitzer


Mannequins that were once Located in Ruth Brady's Dress Shop


How many of these businesses do you remember that were once an active part of South Church Street?

Kaiser Frazer, Pontiac automobiles and GMC truck dealership;

A hatchery operated by a Mr. and Mrs. Lewis;

The American Legion building (square dancing were held there every Saturday night once upon a time.) This building also housed the Overton County Library years ago.

Leslie Brothers Dry Goods;

Marian’s Beauty Shop;

Livingston Enterprise;

Jones Jewelry ;

A bowling alley operated once in the building now occupied by Paul Coleman’s Used Furniture (my brother, Phil, worked there as a pin boy on Saturdays);

International Harvester tractor dealership;

Sewell’s Dry Goods;

Hugh Copeland’s donut shop;

Jessie and Cleo Harris’ Furniture Store;

Plymouth and Desoto car dealership;

Factory Outlet Shoe Store;

Kuykendall’s Grocery;

Paul Bowman’s 5 & 10;

Foster Bowman’s restaurant;

Mill Ends Fabric Shop;


Allred’s Restaurant;

Shorty and Lois Brown’s Factory Outlet Furniture Store;

Clifford Holman’s grocery;

Bush and Annie Taylor’s radio shop;

Linda and Danny Smith’s donut shop;

Minneapolis Moline tractor equipment;

Arnold and Treva Moore’s restaurant;

Lurlene Coleman’s photography studio;

Sew N Sew Fabrics;

Mrs. Ward’s Used Clothing;

Modern Cleaners owned and operated by Henry and Mary Lou Murphy;

Melton’s Restaurant and Grocery;

JoMel Apparel;

J & J Fabrics;

The Fashion Shop;

Earl Dale’s furniture manufacturing;

Dollar General Store;

Robert Lee Goodpasture’s barber shop;

And Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative had its offices on South Church Street for a good number of years.

Many purchases have been made throughout years in the various businesses that were once located on South Church Street, everything from tractors to automobiles, furniture, shoes, meals in restaurants, donuts, as well as groceries and clothing, fabric and sewing notions, and even colored Easter chicks. That street has been the scene of lots of footsteps made by those employed at the Livingston shirt factory while out at the lunch hour to get something to eat, or to make purchases from one of the other types of stores that were there.

With the closing of the shirt factory, nothing was ever quite the same on that street again. While work in the shirt factory was hard and demanding, especially in the early days, it did provide a source of income for many people which often meant the first car for a family could be bought, an electric stove could replace the wood cookstove, an electric washing machine to replace the rub board could be bought for the lady of the house.

As time passes, changes take place, which sometimes includes tearing down of old building as was the case when the Snitzer building was demolished recently. But the memories still linger of how things were in the days when the shirt factory helped those who worked there and their families to have things that might otherwise not have been possible. Sometimes it even seems as if we might still hear the whistle that blew from Ideal Cleaners to announce to the town of Livingston the noon hour had arrived. Do you remember that too?


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