E. K. Myrick, “the popular garage man” in Greenwood: Ford Dealership in retrospect

Myrick Building side and front

Mr. E. K. Myrick, the popular garage man, whose place is on Main street, next to the corner of River Front, has purchased the River Front Stable building and the lot upon which it stands and the lot to the rear of it, both adjoining his garage property, one on the north and the other on the east. 

The property is a very desirable corner, facing on Main street and extending full length along the River Front.  The lot on the east runs from the main lot through to the alley running east and west just south of Mr. Myrick’s garage.  The combined property gives Mr. Myrick a big corner of the entire block. (The Daily Commonwealth, Oct. 12, 1916)

Myrick owned other garages in Itta Bena, Indianola, Carrollton, and was constructing one in Winona at the time he purchased the additional lots and buildings on Main Street next to his garage.  He anticipated erecting a new building within months due to the rapid growth of his business.  By 1917, he added Rolling Fork and had six counties “having the exclusive agency for the sale of the noted Ford Cars.”

Myrick was identified as the first Ford dealer in Mississippi, and his “extensive automobile firm” painted all his buildings yellow in the towns where he had garages ((Daily Commonwealth, Sept. 13, 1916. His first office in Greenwood was in the former Dantzler’s Grocery on Summit Street.  He sold tires at 315 Main Street in 1916.

Myrick Ford Dealership

Mississippi Department of Archives & History puts the date of construction this building at ca. 1920, and Lloyd Ostby (1980) described it:

terra cotta panels…decorative brick buttresses…parapet with concrete coping…large plate-glass windows (Nomination form, National Register of Historic Places)

A service clinic was held in Myrick’s building (presumed to be the one above) in 1925 “for the benefit of the dealers in the surrounding territory, their service men and shop men.”  Service managers from Memphis and New Orleans provided the clinic and accessory companies from Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Kansas were present.  Thirty-eight dealerships from the area were in attendance.

Myrick made “automobile history” again in 1927 when “hundreds of people, not only from this city, but from points all over the Delta and the hills, viewed the new product and there also came dealers to inspect the new Model A from several cities” (Commonwealth, Dec. 2, 1927).  Available as a coupe, sport coupe, ‘Fordor’ or ‘Tudor’ sedan, phaeton, roadster, and truck with cab and stake body for prices ranging from $455 to $670, the vehicles came in Niagara blue, Arabian sand, dawn gray and gun metal blue.

The Hohenberg Bros. Cotton Co. was located in the building in 1980 when the nomination form was completed.  At that time, the far right section of the building had all windows filled with paneling.  Fortunately, that was corrected around 2000.  Currently known as the Durden Building, the former dealership was renamed by Viking in honor of Liston P. Durden who helped develop Viking appliances.

 

 



Categories: Delta, Greenwood, Historic Preservation

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18 replies

  1. handsome building; glad it’s still around and being used, automobile dealerships were often in the vanguard of bringing ‘modern architecture'(not necessarily ‘moderne’ but whatever was new at the time) to smaller towns and cities; this could be said of such structures in hattiesburg at the same time, as well.

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  2. Mr. Myrick’s daughter taught me at Greenwood Junior High School in the mid-60s and she just died a few years ago. I remember this dealership as Cade-Davis-Tubbs Ford, which brought in Greenwood’s first Mustang and always had the new models covered with tarps until the annual unveiling in the fall. Viking Corporation has done wonders with repurposing the old building.

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  3. Interesting and intriguing! I always thought Model A’s were all painted black. Now I can just see those lovely colors chugging down the dusty dirt roads! What a nice building and I agree that it is nice to see it so well cared for and in active use! It reminds me of other Ford dealerships from that era – perhaps it was a standard plan?

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    • If you put in the search terms for the 4 colors, you will pull up examples of each. My grandpa had the truck.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is an interesting history. Model T’s were not available in black from 1908-1913. Then only available in black from 1914-1926. The change apparently was related to the disruption of European dye sources during World War I.

      I don’t know if it is a standard plan or not, but I believe those glazed terracotta panels are standard. I think I’ve seen them in other locations but cannot recall a specific example for you.

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      • I did not find any photographs that showed a similar design in a search for 1920s Ford dealerships. Maybe Daughter of the Delta will be able to find out about the other buildings Myrick owned in the Delta.

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        • I haven’t done any research into it but my impression is that corporate mandated designs for branded auto dealers is a fairly recent thing. Within the past 30 years or so.

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          • The Buick dealership in my Texas hometown had the most incredible mid-century modern building that will still there and greatly admired by me until 2 years ago. They replaced it with a building that now looks like every other Buick dealership, and while it does have a couple of nice features, it is no where near as unique as the old one.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Beth, the Model A followed the Model T, all of which were black. Henry Ford famously said, “They can any color they want as long as it’s black!”… or something close to that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My father never told me to hand start an engine with the left hand as shown in the video. He did warn me about the kickback that would occur if the spark wasn’t set properly. Our first farm tractors in the Prairie were the Farmall F-20 and the Allis Chalmers B…both hand starts.
        I can only imagine the terror that my grandmother must have experienced fleeing Marks during the rising waters of the 1927 Mississippi flood. Of the nine children in that Model-T, there was a lap-baby, a knee-baby and a four-year old. My father drove the “T” while my grandfather and uncles “scouted” ahead… wading in the waters to keep the “T” between the ditches.

        John Barry’s book, Rising Tide, is a great read.

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  4. enjoyed seeing what i think are brick streets in this view—are they old, new, what? when i was growing up in hattiesburg in the late 40s/50s, there were still a few; they seemed functional to me but i am not street engineer… anyone care to comment?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. and rainwater ‘sinks’ easily inbetween the bricks, which is not a problem if there is a proper ‘base’!

    Liked by 1 person

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