More Art Moderne in Greenwood

service station

Following up on last week’s Greenwood Art Moderne Greyhound bus terminal, this week features a remodeled-to-Art Moderne corner service station.  It is part of the Central Commercial and Railroad Historic District and Mary Warren Miller (1985) described the building:

Dr. John Smith, Dentist.  A brick gas station with front wall set on the diagnoal; the interesting feature of this building is the large flat-roofed canopy with curved corner that extends to the sidewalk on the Main Street and Church Street elevations.  Art Moderne. Ca. 1950 remodeling of older service station.

324 Main Street

Photograph by Mary Ellen Bowen. Retrieved from nomination form NRHP, Mary Warren Miller, 1985. Retrieved from Mississippi Dept. of Archives & History, Historic Resources Inventory.

The newspaper archives between 1917 and 1946 provided a fairly clear picture of the changes on the four corners of Main and Church Streets.  The process of elimination of known companies on the corners led to conclusions about the building above.  The E. F. Bryan home was for sale in 1929 and the city purchased it to build the new city hall, currently still in that location.

The Lee Funeral Home was listed on the corner of Main and Church in 1926, and in 1938, extended the building by the addition of a chapel.  That was most likely the corner diagonal across the intersection from the corner station, facing the Greyhound lot.

In 1927 and 1928, J. D. Lanham ran ads for “desirable site for modern hotel” located on the corner of Main and Church, ads ran for Mrs. Summers and Miss Dodds for dressmaker services corner of Main and Church in the 1920s, C. G. Varnell lived on the corner of Main and Church in 1928, and a one and one-half story frame house was for sale on the corner of Main and Church in 1930.   Those sites cannot be tied to a specific corner.  However, it could not be the corners where the city hall and Lee Funeral Services were located due to the known time spans for those lots.

Ground was broken for construction of a service station to be operated by Shell Petroleum, formerly owned by J. H. Freeman (Commonwealth, July 29, 1930, p. 8).  In 1936, the Glenn Phillips Tire Company was located at Main and Church, in the former Shell station, and of course, we know already that that is the site of the Greyhound bus terminal constructed 1939 following the demolition of the station.

The earliest reference to a service station on the corner was 1920 when Humphrey & Schilling purchased the lot of Attlesey on Main and Church and planned to build the Schilling Auto Company (Greenwood Commonwealth, Feb, 29, 1920, p. 1).  An article in the Commonwealth, Sept. 3, 1926, p. 1:

The frame residence at the corner of Main and Church Streets is being torn down to make room for clearing the ground, on which a filling station will be erected by Messrs. M. M. Richardson, F. T. Anderson, and T. B. Henry.

The structure being demolished is one of the oldest buildings in Greenwood.  For many years it was the residence of the late Judge R. W. Williamson, who served for twenty years in the eighties and nineties, as judge of the Circuit and Chancery Courts.

Later that month, (Commonwealth Sept. 27, 1926), it was reported:

The 513 Tire Company is erecting a new building at Main and Church following the installation of its gigantic tanks for gasoline storage underground.

In 1940, the 513 became McDonald’s, and in 1946, “Work began on extensive improvements at the 666 Filling Station, corner of Main and Church” and it became known as Irby Williford’s service station.  That timeline fits with the 1926 construction date of the station, and the estimated remodeling (giving it the Art Moderne appearance) ca. 1945-1950.

William Gatlin (n. d.) identified other Greenwood Streamline Art Moderne structures as:

  • 301 Jefferson Street (remodeled so heavily as to not be recognizable as Art Moderne)
  • 324 Main (the above former service station remodeled from an older building)
  • 504 Howard (“not an outstanding example” (Gatlin)
  • 401 McLemore

Gatlin called the Greyhound bus terminal the most significant example of Art Moderne in Greenwood.

Can’t get enough Art Moderne?


Categories: Greenwood, Historic Preservation, Modernism


7 replies

  1. interesting that the building has been re-used as a dentist’s office–but. covered parking is nice anywhere. on the other hand, i don’t care for the extensive use of blue—the sky is blue, but buildings shouldn’t be…. am guessing that the original ‘color’ was white, or a combination of off-whites?


  2. I’m glad to see this station has been restored. In 2013 some of the enameled panels were falling off. The only upside of that was that parts of the original station were visible underneath.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting and I love how you are tying in all the dates. It does make a unique dentist’s office! I’ve been moaning about all the demolitions and proposed demolitions where I live, but this reminded me that demolitions happen and change is a constant in any community.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Il Duce’s Piccola Roma today. The city of Asmara survived the twenty-year war with Ethiopia without damage to urban areas. Libya did not fare as well. Now, AfriCom has set its sights on Libya and the Horn of Africa. Sad to see MNG troops being deployed to these war zones.


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