The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

December 24, 2012

Shopping in Oak Hill in the 1950s

By Ann Flack Bowman
For The Fayette Tribune

— (Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the 2012 edition of The Reunion Log, the newspaper of the Collins High School/Oak Hill High School Alumni Association.)


As I remember Oak Hill during the ‘50s, several stores come to mind. These stores were important to me for various reasons. First was The Piece Good Store where I shopped for material. Eva Mae was always so helpful in picking out just the right pattern and material. Further down the street was The Quality Store where we bought our school supplies. There was only so much room in the store so we waited outside for our turn to go in.

Then, there was Georges’, which was probably my favorite. Not only did I shop there, but I worked there part-time during my high school years and early college years. Lewis George was a true “cheerleader” when anyone was trying on clothes, making you feel like you had always picked the perfect dress. That was the place for formals for prom. Also, I remember his shoe sales — buy one and get the second for 1 penny.

I can’t forget Katie’s, which also was important in my life. When you went in her store, you were treated as family, not just a customer. The summer I was married, I went in to do some last minute shopping and left with a lovely gift from Katie “just because.”

And, finally, there was Wanda’s Bridal Shop where you went when you became engaged and needed all the things that a bride would need even if you didn’t know you needed it! Wanda was such a supportive person in helping you navigate everything that was needed for a perfect wedding day: the invitations, the china and silver selection, the perfect wedding gown, and on the day of the wedding, making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be at the appropriate moment to make it a perfect day.

Today, we certainly have more shopping opportunities in the malls that surround us, but the special thing about shopping in Oak Hill in the ‘50s was that all these storekeepers knew who you were and treated you as someone they knew and cared about. We have lost that in today’s world.

(Ann Flack Bowman is a member of the Class of 1953.)