15 YEARS AGO: ALTIZER LANDMARK BURNS TO GROUND - The Morgans Held Forth

(06/17/2017)

By Bob Weaver April 2002

Morgan Store burns to the ground

Returning from my weekly NA (Nostalgics Anonymous) meeting yesterday evening, the Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Department was called down the West Fork to the mouth of Sinking Springs. The old Morgan store and Altizer post office was on fire, the second time in nine months. This time it burned to the ground.

In those "better than they really were days" of the 50's, I made my rounds of country stores, mostly buying RC Colas and a bag of peanuts (the nuts you shake down in the cola). The Morgan store was operated by Roy Morgan and his wife, Nora Whytsell Morgan, she being the postmistress for several years.

Electric pole becomes really crispy

New "high tech" pump on Arnoldsburg fire truck

I was there before the electric came through, remembering the dull glow of gas lights and the storytellers inside.

It was those memories that went up in smoke yesterday, as I snapped some pictures for The Herald. I talked with school bus driver Mitch Morgan, owner of the old building. He suggested I call his aunt, Joy Morgan Stevens. "She's the real historian in the family," he said.

Joy said the building was originally the Lynch School, and was moved from an upstream location to the mouth of Sinking Springs about 1942. The Craddocks and the Morgans had a store in that location during the 1920's and 1930's, she said.

Firemen work on small woods fire

The Morgan's son, Roma, was the final storekeeper when the place closed down in 1964. It has been sitting idle for nearly 40 years, sometimes used as a polling place. Several years ago hay was stored in the building.

Last June the Arnoldsburg VFD arrived at the burning building very quickly in their brand new pumper truck, but yesterday there was a lull before the call was made, and the building was completely engulfed. The woods caught on fire, too.

Driving back up the creek to the Mount Zion Ridge, I thought maybe, just maybe, those were really better days back in the 50's, and there is no need to go to another Nostalgics Anonymous meeting.


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