Small town America, mom & pop, throwback general stores that are disappearing faster than they should are the history of shopping in rural Tennessee and around the U.S.
Out in front of Tanner's Sundries are a couple of long benches and a few rocking chairs. Nailed to the post just in front of the chairs is a sign that says "Reserved Parking for the World's Greatest Grandpa's". Mix in the Coca-Cola sign, RC Cola sign, and the screen door to the entrance and you've got the epitome of rural, small town America.
This institution, dating back to 1923 is housed in a 1906 bank building that still features the original vault. In its early years, trains brought workers to and from the nearby Gobey coal mines and specifically to the store on Saturday nights. Facilities were set up in the back where the men could bathe. Over the years, the store has become a spot for antiques and other treasures, grab a stool at the counter and have a milkshake or banana split.
Morgan County Tourism Alliance was given a donation to purchase the store and is committed to preserving the building that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, the group plans to bring back the old soda fountain with ice cream, even sandwiches. In the back, the group hopes to renovate the old shower that used to be a luxury for townspeople working in the logging or coal industries and now will serve the hikers from the Cumberland Trail which runs right through the town of Wartburg TN.
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