SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

E.L. Bowman Grocery: 1940

E.L. Bowman Grocery: 1940

March 1940. "Grocery store and filling station in the high plains. Dawson County, Texas." Medium format negative by Russell Lee. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Outlived his obituary by 22 years

I love digging into the names of these old stores, and was surprised how easily this one was compared to most.

In the 1940 US Census, the family of 54-year-old W.H. Bowman, his wife 51-year-old wife Pearl, and twin 23-year-old sons Ernest L. and Everett Bowman appear with W.H. being "Owner Garage and Grocery Store." His sons are listed as clerks. It turns out Ernest was the "L".

Ernest L. Bowman went into the Army in October 1941, came back after a four-year stint, married in 1945 and stayed in the Lamesa area apparently until he died in 1994 at the age of 78.

Except, despite his tombstone saying 1994, and his BIRLS file saying 1994, and his Social Security saying 1994, I found his obituary. This was in 1977.

Usually I'd chalk this up to two people sharing a name, but in this case the obituary lists his twin brother as well as his sister!

I've been doing genealogy a long time, and I have to say finding an obituary 22 years prior to the actual death is a new one on me.

His obituary from 1977.

His Find-a-Grave (which correlates to his military records.)


Yes, that is definitely a DC power-generating wind turbine, probably a Wincharger. The lack of an air-brake governor leads me to believe that it is one of the small 6-volt machines, designed to replace a radio's A battery. They could handle a small number of light bulbs as well, but little more than that, unlike the larger 32-volt machines. The visible-register gas pumps were operated by hand, of course.

As to the ice, it was probably trucked from Lamesa. Just about every town with rail service would have had an ice plant in those days.

The Iceman Cometh

In answer to the question; "Where do they get their ice?" I'm going to venture it was trucked in from Midland or Lubbock.


As a youth, friends and I would prank call stores asking if they had Prince Albert in a can. When they said they did we would say "then let him out".

Childhood humor, anything so we could laugh. Of course the store owner probably did not appreciate it.

Wind generator

The windmill appears to be making electricity. No power poles to be seen.

Reading the sign on the photo first

I wondered what ELBOWMAN meant, I saw the very small periods meaning E.L. Bowman, then I looked at the title, oops.

Where do they get their ice?

Please educate me.

Shorpy Vehicle Identification Imperative

A couple of '38 Ford coupes. Nice, the way they balance out the photo.

Poster Boy

      Alvin R. Allison, generally regarded as the “Father of Texas Tech Law,” served as a statesman and as a member of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents. The Alvin R. Allison Professorship of Law is dedicated to supporting a faculty member based on commitment to the Texas Tech School of Law, to the legal profession, and to public service.

To Dave,Your title is much better than mine.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.