The Things I Remember About DeKalb County, AL, From My Youth

Almost a year ago I visited Fort Payne and Rainsville, AL, for the first time in several years. After the devastating tornadoes in 2011, so much has changed, but the more I thought about it, so much had already changed from the time I was a boy.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the Rainsville intersection had a phone booth at one corner with nothing else but a small parking lot. The booth stayed there for many years. On the other side of Hwy 75 from the booth was the old McCurdy House, which stayed there until being moved and the spot is now occupied by McDonald’s.

I remember the old drive-in about 3/4 of a mile from the intersection that was later a place for Roadway trailers to be parked. The odd thing about the drive-in was that we could see the screen from our house even though we lived on the brow road (Co. Rd. 44) near Hwy 35.

My mother took us to shop at the IGA on Hwy 35, and if I recall correctly, a Jitney Jr. once stood directly across the street from it. The old Post Office stood nearby. The Rainsville Curb Market was a place I only frequented whenever my grandparents visited from Ohio. Grandpa would take me to the store to get a few items on our way to great-grandmother’s house. For a while, Rainsville had a small Five & Dime, which was the best place to get toys.

The old Dairy King, which later became Kings Restaurant, was a place where teenagers spent weekends and summers cruising around and hanging out. I also remember a small Dairy Queen in Fort Payne when I was about four years old. I suppose the reason for this is because I won a free Fudge Sundae but had to give it to my brother David because I was too full to eat it. The contest was based upon matching the number on the back of the red plastic spoons to the one they had written on their board.

In Chavies, we had the old iron bridge, which was a single lane bridge. Not far from Plainview High School was a small Mom & Pop store where I remember my father taking me in the late 70s. We got Grapico sodas in the old glass bottles. The cashier told us that those were the last ones being made and they were being discontinued. At least that had been the rumor, I suppose. What actually happened was the franchise for Grapico was being sold to Buffalo Rock, but a few years later, the product was back on the market.

For the longest time, Dewey Williams had a store near the old Hwy 35. After the highway was reconstructed into four lanes, the area changed a lot. But I suppose that’s the nature of the beast in all areas. Once a town or an area progresses, a lot of the historic landmarks disappear.

For those of you who grew up in DeKalb County, AL, what are some places you remember that are no longer there?

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