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Hart’s Barber Shop on East Main St. was a busy place in 1953.

Notice the shoe shine stand in the back left.

Like drug
stores and cafes, barber shops and beauty shops were important businesses in mid-20th
century downtowns across America.  People
were able to take care of their shopping, banking, and other needs with a
weekly visit to town. 

As early as
1904 the Aethelwold Hotel in downtown Brevard had a barber for businessmen and
travelers.  Early barber shops also
offered shaves, baths, and shoe shines.

The Simpson brothers operated a barber shop

from the late 1920s intl the 1940s.

John W.
Smith was a barber for 55 years, most of them at his shop on West Main St. in
Brevard.  His shop was a hub of civic
activity where patrons could play checkers, exchange news and opinions, or
debate local issues.  For many years
Smith also had a department for women to get haircuts. 

In 1957 J.S.
Simms and Mitchell Crawford opened their West Main Barber Shop in Smith’s
former location.  Over the years a number
of barbers worked in the West Main Barber Shop but by 1970 it consisted of
Simms, Crawford, Holland Talley, and J.A. Gray. 

Talley had
worked for Smith and the Simpson Barber Shop before opening his own shop in
1948.  Both Simms and Crawford had worked
for Talley before joining together to open West Main.  J.A. Gray had also worked for both Simpson’s
and Smith’s and had even been partners with Smith for several years before
opening his own barber shop in 1955.

The four
longtime barbers and friends work together at West Main Barber Shop for several
years.  In the late 1980s Randy Austin
went to work at the barber shop.  Later
Austin and his brother Ricky purchased the shop.  Mitchell Crawford continued to work part-time
until about 2002.

Next week
Picturing the Past will take a peek inside a few of Brevard’s early beauty

and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library.  Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs. 
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712