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Bynum Brothers was the name of the general merchandise store owned and operated before the Great Depression by Porter, Ollie, and Luther Bynum at the corner of First Avenue and Second Street in Oneonta. It was THE department store in Blount County, even boasting a milliner, who came from elsewhere to create women’s hats. She became Porter’s wife.

The store opened around 1913, according to the best calculation of Bill Ward, Porter’s grandson, who contributed the accompanying photograph and many others to the Blount County Memorial Museum. Ward believes the subjects in the picture to be (from right) Porter; unidentified woman; Lottie Bynum (Nash), one of several sisters of the Bynum merchants; Luther, Grady, and Ollie Bynum.

The store fell victim in the early ’30s to the nation’s devastating financial collapse.

Some while later, H.C. Kimbrell, a Baptist preacher, established a furniture store in the building. Kimbrell was known for his offer, posted in the store, to marry couples, then sell them furniture for their new homes.

McCurry of Warrior became Kimbrell’s partner in the store, then bought it outright. His son Claude, then in the Air Force, later acquired the store and owned it until his death. Later owned by Doris Hendrix and her daughter, Marilyn Tillery, the store closed in 2008. The building’s most recent occupant has been Furniture Solutions.

Early Oneontans would likely have given little thought to having full grown trees on Main Street, unlike today’s developers who plant them generously in shopping malls. There would have been early clamoring to get those trees out of the way of shoppers’ horses and buggies – later those Fords.