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Tyler's Place: 1940

Tyler's Place: 1940

September 1940. "Farmers and townspeople in center of town on court day. Campton, Kentucky." Acetate negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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Court Day

In Kentucky (and maybe other states), "court day" was when the circuit judge would visit and hear cases. In some communities it also developed into a sort of market day where folks would gather and trade farm goods, horses, guns, etc. This would explain the large number of people gathered in the photo, and perhaps the car for sale.

The tradition lives on in several Kentucky communities, most notably Mount Sterling, which hosts a huge Court Day festival every fall.

Court Days

According to this site : "October Court Days began at the turn of the 19th Century when the Kentucky General Assembly decided that each county should meet once a month to hold court. This day quickly became an annual trading day where people came from miles around to buy, sell and trade. And it still is today."


I'll take it. Appears to be a '35 or '36 Ford, but I'm no expert.

Court day

What was "court day"?

Spectator Sport?

I count approximately 30 adults in the photo, quite a crowd for a town with a population of 418. Did all these people have business before the court? Or did they enjoy watching the proceedings? Or is there another explanation?


For that '35 or '36 Ford doesn't sound like much, but that's $4,200 in today's money for a six or seven year old car that we see as beyond rudimentary in creature comforts and driving ease and convenience. And at six or seven years old in that era it was practically ready for the junk yard, although that one looks above average. It was still leagues ahead of the Model A on the far right in improvements. A '42 Ford was $1,090, or $18,000 today, but production stopped after two months and whatever you had would have to last through 1945. A year later he could probably double his money if he still has it.

Black Friday

Anxiously waiting for the store to open?

Kicking The Tires?

Is the rather beefy faced gent with the jaunty fedora buying? Or selling? It's still a mystery after 81 years.


I'll take it! I love old Fords. This one looks in good shape for being four years old. Pretty sure it's a 1936 Model 68 deluxe touring tudor.

Now with paved streets

The Tyler Building is still there, although the Tyler Building name has been removed. The post office is somewhere else. Google Maps now identifies the building with the dome in the background as the Probation and Parole Office.

I believe the phrase for the woman in the foreground with her back to the camera is her cotton is "riding low" -- her slip is showing. As a rather dimwitted child I remember hearing one woman say that to another, upon which the other woman would tug her dress here or hike something under her dress there. And I still had no idea what that phrase meant.

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