End of the Line
Before any businesses came to the area just past the Housing Authority complex, which is known today as the “Village on Valley,” the triangle of land defined by the intersections of Wadsworth Street and Valley Street with the gradual northbound curve of Main Street was the home and property of an African-American gentleman who kept a horse and wagon on the lot along with a few other barnyard animals. He had somehow garnered a piece of the garbage collection concession in town and could be seen in the early 1950’s gingerly guiding his horse, hitched to the wagon, through various backyards along Ashville Road once a week dumping accumulated kitchen refuse from galvanized metal garbage cans into the back of his chariot. What he did with what he collected is unknown.
In 1947, construction began on a new brick building across Valley street from the garbage man’s compound and a new auto repair shop soon opened there and became known as Arnold’s Service Station and Garage. While Mr. Arnold certainly had a couple of functioning gas pumps out front on the Main Street side of the building, and someone would eventually come out to pump gas for a customer who had pulled in, this aspect of the business was viewed as more of a nuisance than a viable revenue stream. Phillip Arnold was a gruff, cigar chomping coverall-wearing mechanic of the old school who did not suffer fools gladly. He and his mechanics were there to make money curing automobiles of what ailed them, and only the most confident and self-assured patrons dared enter this dark, oily bastion of machines and masculinity. Mr. Arnold had definitely considered his own convenience when he located his new garage at the corner of Valley and Main. He lived in a sturdy brick bungalow on the next street over (Oak Street) whose backyard abutted the rear of the garage property. As a result, he could get to work each day by taking a few quick steps out his back door.
Thank you Clay Nordan, Vice President of Montevallo Historical Society, for this information! Clay generously put countless hours into the research and writing of our collaborative "Throwback Thursday" series. This is the last installment.