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Submitted by McCreary County Museum
In 1933, Archie Harry Brown and his wife, Flora (Davis) Brown, were living in a home owned by Stearns Coal and Lumber Company, located on Farm Ridge Road. On November 24 of that year, Archie and Flora welcomed a son they named Eddie Lowell Brown. He joined a sister, Alma Dean, who was four years old.
In the 1930’s, the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company had homes all over Stearns. Eddie recalls with fondness that the families who lived on Farm Ridge Road during his childhood were like one big family and included the Butler and Martin families. The Browns lived in several homes throughout his childhood. One of them was a duplex located where the Stearns Post Office is currently located. The duplex had an unusual floor plan with the toilet located in the front entrance. There were two duplex units on this site.
In 1939, the year Eddie started school at Stearns Elementary, the family moved to the third house on the right on Stearns Tower Road. This home, not owned by the Stearns Company, had four rooms, an outhouse, and a well from which they drew water. The home was of such poor construction that when the wind blew, the linoleum blew up inside the house.
Eddie’s father, Archie, was employed by Albert Hickman in his garage. While working for Albert, Archie was studying with Jeff Hickman, Albert’s brother, to become a licensed mortician. After obtaining his license, the family moved to an apartment underneath the Hickman Funeral Home. The Brown family lived in this apartment from 1942-1950 until moving to a small home that still stands near the Country Store about a half mile away.
Eddie attended grades one through twelve at Stearns School. Throughout most of his school years, Stearns School had no cafeteria. During the hour allotted for lunch, he ran home, ate lunch, and then ran back to school. After school, he and his friends went to the park, near the Stearns Golf Course. This park was located where the tennis courts were previously located and included the hilly, overgrown area now overrun by kudzu. A path led from the Stearns Golf Course to the bowl-shaped park.
The Stearns High School gymnasium was located above Store 1. On the days Eddie and his friends did not go to the park, they went to the Stearns Gym and stayed until 5:00 PM. He laughingly shared there were no dressing rooms in the gym, so the boys changed in the balcony above the gym floor and hung their jock straps on the rafters. They got their drinking water from the half bath located in the gym. At the top of the steps in the Stearns Gymnasium was a small office. The office was the Selective Service Office, managed by Hattie Hume, where Eddie learned he had been drafted for service in the US Army. Readers will learn more about Eddie’s military career in next week’s issue.
Eddie enjoyed his childhood and fondly remembers the carnival held in Stearns during the week of July 4th, the lasting friendships made during his twelve years as a student at Stearns School, and the big bags of candy given by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company at Christmas. He also enjoyed attending a movie most Saturday nights at the Stearns Movie House and eating at the Stearns Confectionary when he had the money. The admittance price for a movie was ten cents, and when a Tarzan movie played, he said you had to hustle to get a seat. You could enter the movie house through the Stearns Confectionary or through a side door facing Hwy 1651.
Next week’s article will feature Eddie’s time spent in the US Army and his life as a young husband and father.
For more information or comments email Debbie Kidd-Trammell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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January 10, 2024 | No Comments »