West Memphis As It Looked in 1932

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The Lauderdale Library recently made an interesting purchase — some pages torn from an old scrapbook that contained eight photographs showing Broadway Street in West Memphis, Arkansas, as it appeared in 1932. It’s really a fascinating glimpse at a bygone age. Broadway, as you might expect, has changed quite a lot in 75 years.

Look carefully (you may have to squint at the images below — I’ve posted them as large as I can), and you’ll see a service station with globe-topped pumps and a sign offering gasoline at 16 cents a gallon, a billboard for Fortune’s Ice Cream, lots of horse- and mule-drawn carts, and such long-gone establishments as the tiny Bell Cafe, West Memphis Cleaners, West Memphis Meat Market, and the Martin Drug Store.

What’s interesting, too, are the huge clumps of fresh bananas dangling outside J.B. Fields Market and several other businesses along the street. Nowadays you might go into a grocery store and buy a clump of a half dozen or so bananas, but the whole stalk? And a bargain at just 10 cents.

I haven’t had time to venture across the river and try to match up these images with present-day locations along Broadway, but it’s possible that some of these buildings have survived. And even in the 1930s, Broadway was aptly named — certainly one of the widest streets in the Mid-South. Enjoy.

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