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Pop Kola: 1939

Pop Kola: 1939

July 1939. Gordonton, North Carolina. "Country store on dirt road. Sunday afternoon. Note kerosene pump on the right and the gasoline pump on the left. Rough, unfinished timber posts have been used as supports for porch roof. Negro men sitting on the porch. Brother of store owner stands in doorway." Our second look at this establishment, seen here two years ago. 4x5 nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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[Wow!! I made this into a a separate post here. - Dave]

What did they sell?

I am looking at signs on stores like this and think that they didn't sell anything except cola and cigarets.

Now that's marketing.

Pop Kola. So when Yankees come down and ask for a "pop" you can give them one.

"Pop Kola. People ask for it by name. Even when they don't mean to."

Pop Kola cap and a quarter

In 1939 in Corpus Christi, Texas you could take a ride in a Ford Trimotor for 25 cents and a Pop Kola bottle cap. I took such a ride in 1939. This is the first reference to Pop Kola that I have seen in 70 years. Thanks for making my day.


Looking at the state of the place now, I'd have thought those rocks and tree stumps were added later on as support as the place started to fall down and need maintenance. But nope - looks like they were there all along, piled just like that!

Clicking on the previous post is totally worth it, by the way. I LOVE the characters photoshopped in! So cool.

Navy uniform

I wore those navy 13 button trousers for thirteen years and I'd bet that the pants pictured are not navy trousers. If I recall correctly, there was a civilian "style" during those years that resembles what is shown.

I wonder

what a building inspector would say about those deck supports. And yet it seems to have worked, since it's still standing.

Thanks, tipster,

for posting the photos by panorino of the current state of the store. And there's nothing like a "Carolina Blue" sky!

Great Picture

This is really a great picture. It captures so much in one shot.

Bell Bottoms

Did anyone else notice the boy under the coke sign wearing the trousers from an old Navy blue uniform. The suspenders are a classy touch, but probably more a necessity than a fashion statement.

American Adventure

Annoying Disney Fan, I was thinking the same thing. The show is indeed still there. The banjo player strums and sings, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" FDR comes over the radio and says, "the only thing we have to fear..."

Chicken catching or "catchin"

I revisited this picture and now see what I missed before. There is a chicken crate barely visible under the left side of the building. I went to high school one year in a small town in the south. On Friday nights sometimes chicken farmers would come to town and pick up boys and men to work the chicken houses. The workers would run around and catch the chickens in the houses, throw them in crates like the one shown. They would load them on the trucks for market. They say some of the good catchers could grab 4 to 6 chickens by the feet with one hand.

I like the previous shorpy picture better

In the last picture they were just talking amongst themselves. This one most of them have turned to look at the Camera. It just looses something now.

This Shack in the Present Day

That store in Gordonton has been documented in the present day!

On the Level

I suspect the store owner believed his "unfinished timber posts" added to the rustic charm of his establishment - he obviously could have used plain timbers. The stone supports for the porch have been artfully built up to keep the porch level, so he cared about maintaining appearances.

Note to Dave: I am very protective about the quality of your wonderful web site, and I appreciate the necessity for advertising support. However a fine line is crossed when ads expand out of their sidebar location and obscure half the page, as the Jack in the Box ad did tonight. Making the reader reach up and close the ad is cheesy and impertinent.

Immortalized in Florida

If I'm not mistaken, this scene was almost completely duplicated as a stage set for "The American Adventure" show at EPCOT Center. The gents in the show are or were audio animatronics robots who spoke for a few minutes about the Depression and how not many people would pay 18 cents a gallon for gas. Is this show still in place?

Gas Pump

Appears to be a Fry Model 117.

Not under the porch

It's a damn shame that there's no hound dog sleeping down there!

Orphaned Shoe

There it is! Lower right, under the porch.

Cannot Live on Bread Alone

Must also have soda pop and tobacco products. Curious that nothing else is advertised and that 71 years later those two evil items seem to be the root of all health problems. We must be slow learners.

Priceless junk

I'll bet the "American Pickers" guys would love to just step into that shot and start spreading the cash around. It's everything they dream about.

Dental Snuff

That sign is the only one that survives according to Google. All of those other signs are gone. See the comment "Improvements" below. Maybe the "American Pickers" added some of those to their collection.


Since 1939, they've painted the sky blue. Click for more.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em

I guess since no one is actually pumping gasoline at the moment, it's OK to be smoking. Somehow these folks are not quite as sophisticated as the gents in the cigarette ads.

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