Camp Lucy-Mac, Ludington State Park, Michigan: The Newspaper & Old Photos Post

There’s nothing that holds my attention like a good mystery, and for quite some time, the forgotten remains of isolated Camp Lucy Mac in Ludington State Park, Michigan, have been just that.  If you’ve not yet read this article, please follow the link below for the full tour of Camp Lucy Mac as she looks today:

https://thewaywardwanderlust.wordpress.com/2015/06/

But where there’s a will, there’s usually a way, and about a week ago, I finally got ahold of the newspaper articles that would provide me with the information–and even a few of the photos–I’ve been looking for.  Through these articles, I’ve been able to discover some information that was previously unknown and confirm a few of the rumors I’ve heard.

Here in chronological order are some of the more interesting articles, courtesy of the Ludington Daily News, pertaining to Camp Lucy Mac.

July 12, 1939:
July 12, 1939: This is one of the earliest articles I can find about Camp Lucy Mac.  This article makes reference to the location of the camp in relation to the CCC camp in LSP and also lists the camp staff for that year.
July 18, 1939:
July 18, 1939: One of the few photos associated with the articles pertaining to camp, this shows some of Lucy Mac’s earliest campers in what would be the 3rd season that the camp was open.
July 21, 1939:
July 21, 1939:  Not to be outdone, this article focuses on the women who ran Camp Lucy Mac in 1939.  Yet another rare photo of the people who once comprised Lucy Mac.
Close-up photo of July 21, 1939 photo.
Close-up photo of July 21, 1939 photo.
June 8, 1940:
June 8, 1940: This article is the first and only to mention that Camp Lucy Mac is a certified GS Camp.  It also is the first to reference the education that the camp’s instructors undergo.  Mrs. G. O. Kribs, who ran Lucy Mac for a good portion of the camp’s existence as a GS camp, is mentioned.
June 10, 1940:
June 10, 1940:  This article was my first evidence that Boy Scouts also used the camp and that Lucy Mac was not exclusively used by GS.
August 3, 1940:
August 3, 1940: Yet another article regarding Boy Scouts using Lucy Mac.
August 6, 1940:
August 6, 1940: Another article regarding Boy Scouts at Lucy-Mac, this one containing a list of items to bring.
August 17, 1940
August 17, 1940: Not only did Boy Scouts camp at Lucy Mac, they also had ceremonies that reportedly drew close to 300 visitors to this remote site.  In this day and age, nearly 300 people trekking out to a remote campsite for a ceremony without any motorized transportation option available would be outrageous!
June 21, 1941:
June 21, 1941:  This article mentions new buildings being dedicated at Lucy Mac, but does not say what buildings these are.  Given that 1941 was the first year any buildings were reportedly used at Lucy Mac (based on a 1944 article), this article is likely referring to the lodge, the laundry, the recreation building, and perhaps the unknown building northwest of the lodge.
July 8, 1941:
July 8, 1941: This article mentions some of the improvements made to the camp and again references the dedication of even more new–albeit unnamed–buildings.  Once again, based on the date, one can only presume that the buildings in question are the lodge, recreation building, the laundry, and the unknown building to the northwest.
July 24, 1941:
July 24, 1941: The Boy Scouts camp at Lucy Mac yet again. Note the cost of camping per week: $6 per scout!
March 11, 1942: This snippet of an article is by far one of the most interesting, alluding to three
March 11, 1942: This snippet of an article is by far one of the most interesting, alluding to three “moving pictures” that once existed of Camp Lucy-Mac. If you happen to know if these might still be in existence, please leave a comment below!
June 8, 1942:
June 8, 1942: An incredible find, this article goes through more improvements made to the camp, the staff, and even asks those girls and counselors in attendance to bring a specified amount of sugar for their stay–evidence of the cost of WWII.
June 8, 1942: Photo close up.
June 8, 1942: Photo close up.  This photo appears to have been taken with Hamlin Lake in the background and may have been taken near the remote fire pit location at the end of the peninsula (see previous post for the map!).
July 16, 1942: One of my jackpot moments, I believe this building,
July 16, 1942: One of my jackpot moments: I believe this is Bldg 1 from my previous post–the first building discovered upon my exploration of this site.  Note the fireplace, the shape of the building, and the windows overlooking the lagoon.  In the newspaper article, this building is called the recreational building / dining hall / kitchen.
July 16, 1942: Caption associated with above photo.
July 16, 1942: Caption associated with above photo and pieces of the associated article.
August 1, 1942:
August 1, 1942: A look back at health and wellness in the WWII era.
August 8, 1942:
August 8, 1942: This article details some of the day-to-day activities of campers as well as achievements.
October 2, 1942:
October 2, 1942:  Despite the trials of WWII, Camp Lucy Mac sees a boom in enrollment.  This article points out the benefits of camp for the girls who attend, citing relief of “wartime nerves” and teaching the valuable skills pertaining to civilian life in a time of war in addition to normal camp activities.
January 31, 1948:
January 31, 1948: A full 11 years after Lucy mac first opened, Mrs. G. O. Kribs remains the leader at Lucy Mac for Girl Scouts.
April 22, 1949:
April 22, 1949: Lucy Mac isn’t just a Scout camp anymore!  This article lists the numerous groups that are using Lucy Mac throughout the summer.
June 28, 1949:
June 28, 1949:  This article details more activities available at Lucy Mac for GS attendees, as well as local involvement in supporting this camp.
July 5, 1949: Lucy Mac experiences quite the boom in demand as numerous groups reserve the GS camp throughout the summer season.
July 5, 1949: Lucy Mac experiences quite the boom in demand as numerous groups reserve the GS camp throughout the summer season.
September 3, 1963:
September 3, 1963:  An article on the early history of scouting in Ludington, including a reference to Camp Lucy Mac’s opening date (July 11, 1937).

Camp Lucy Mac Bonus: The Lodge, The Rec Building, or Something Like It…

Since my first article on Camp Lucy Mac, I have struggled to clearly define which building at the camp was the lodge and which one was the recreation hall, opting simply to call the buildings Bldg 1 and Bldg 2 as I could not say with certainty which one was which.  Not necessarily assisting me in my quest to delineate between these two buildings are the newspaper articles that seem to confuse each building with each other for different reasons.  Before I go into detail on the reasoning behind this debate and for your reference, here’s a copy of the map from my previous article.

One of my presents to you--my artistic rendering of the general layout of Camp Lucy-Mac. Not to scale. Bldg 1: Likely the recreational building / dining hall / kitchen Bldg 2: Likely the lodge Bldg 3: Unknown. Reportedly a classroom/sleeping quarters, but this is unconfirmed by newspaper or historic source.
One of my presents to you–my artistic rendering of the general layout of Camp Lucy-Mac. Not to scale.
Bldg 1: Up for debate!
Bldg 2: Also up for debate!
Bldg 3: Unknown. Reportedly a classroom/sleeping quarters, but this is unconfirmed by newspaper or historic source.

So, here we go: why I was so darn confused about the buildings of Camp Lucy Mac!

Case 1: Bldg 1 is the Lodge, Bldg 2 is the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall.

Evidence for Case 1: The June 22, 1944 article clearly describes the lodge as being at the end of a lagoon with a “great view of the lake”.  This readily describes Bldg 1 and not Bldg 2, which does not border any water.  Notably, this section of the article doesn’t mention a recreational building at all.

Less on the scientific and more on the intuition side of things, Bldg 1 struck me initially as the lodge, not Bldg 2, which was less scenic and seemed more like a general purpose building.  But hey, they’re foundations.  What do I know.

Case 2: Bldg 1 is the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall, Bldg 2 is the Lodge.

Evidence for Case 2: Just when you think you have everything all figured out, a newspaper article gums up the works!  A July 16, 1942 article, which includes a photo of what (structurally speaking) almost has to be Bldg 1, specifically refers to this structure as the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall.

Per the photograph in the article, the building is in an L-shape; the only L-shaped foundations found at Lucy Mac were those of Bldg 1.  This clearly does not describe Bldg 2.  The building was described as having a kitchen and a stone fireplace, which have both survived in varying degrees to this day as the fireplace is still visible and the tile in the end of Bldg 1 appear to be from a kitchen.  Structurally speaking, Bldg 2 has nothing to suggest that it ever contained a kitchen or a stone fireplace…or at least, it has nothing remaining!

Case 3: Bldg 1 is all of the above and Bldg 2 is something completely different.

Y’know, sometimes it just happens: buildings undergo structural and/or functional changes, and are known by various names at different times, sometimes going by two names interchangeably.  I believe this is almost certainly the case in this little saga as in one instance, the June 22, 1944 article actually refers to the recreation hall and the dining hall / kitchen / stone fireplace as being the same building: “The rustic recreation building served as a dining hall and kitchen and the stone fireplace was used for campfire when rain prevented the use of outdoor campfire”.  Interestingly, this section of the article doesn’t even mention a lodge.

As a teasing additional tidbit, a June 21, 1941 article describes a dedication ceremony that took place in the “main lodge”, suggesting that there may have actually been two buildings that served as lodges at one point in time.

Now, while the information presented in Case #3 doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibilities of either Case #1 or Case #2 being correct, it does seem to confirm that the same building is being described in two separate parts of the same article and is apparently known by two names.  This is the most likely answer and (for the moment) the best conclusion I can offer to my lingering constructional conundrum at Camp Lucy Mac.

Fast Backward: The Coast Guard Station and Boathouse at Assateague Island, VA

Hello again, happy readers!  Today, I take you to the barrier islands of Virginia: specifically, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Preserve on Assateague Island.

Whilst walking down the beach on an idyllic vacation in this mosquito-ridden paradise, I glimpsed from a distance a couple of abandoned buildings one fine summer’s eve.  Repelled by mosquitoes who feared neither the threat of slapping hands nor the stench of Deep Woods Off!, I vowed to return one day, armed with a map that showed me the objects of a future photographic mission: the Assateague Coast Guard Station.  It wasn’t until a year or so later when I returned during the winter–and not coincidentally, mosquito-free months–to photograph the lost and lonely of this stunning island.

These photos were taken in the early winter months of of 2012, so keep in mind that these photos are not current.

PLEASE NOTE that these photos are of the Assateague Island CG Station and Boathouse only.  Unfortunately, the Lifesaving Station, which was located near the head of the Woodland Trail, is no longer in existence.

Maps

CWRP Map 2

Behold, the object of my inquiry!  Looking at the above map toward the southern border of the island, you’ll note the Old Coast Guard Station, denoted on the southern-most edge of Tom’s Hook.  While the fish factory ruins are also present along that shoreline, we did not identify those ruins and were only successful in finding the old CG station.

Le Photos

And now, for the meat and potatoes of why you probably read this blog.  The photos!

Building 1, from a distance.  Presumed to be the fish factory ruins, but quickly proven to be something quite different.
Building 1, from a distance. The CG station’s boathouse.
Building 2, from a distance.  This building was correctly presumed to be the old Coast Guard Station House.
Building 2, from a distance. This building was correctly presumed to be the old Coast Guard Station House.
Closer view of Building 1, which, as I get closer, is clearly on the water.
Closer view of Building 1, which, as I get closer, is clearly on the water.
Wooden remnants of the boardwalk as we get closer to building 1.
Wooden remnants of the boardwalk as we get closer to building 1.
Building 1 from the front.
Building 1 from the front.
A handy little sign that reminds would-be and actual trespassers that they're in fact trespassing.
A handy little sign that reminds would-be and actual trespassers that they’re in fact trespassing.
What appears to be a shovel sticking out of the sand.
What appears to be a shovel sticking out of the sand in front of the first building.
Far right side of building 1.
Far right side of building 1.
Far right side of building 1 from shore.
Far right side of building 1 from shore.
Building 1 from the shore.
Building 1 from the shore.
Front of building 1 from the left side.
Front of building 1 from the left side.
Left side of building 1 from the front.
Left side of building 1 from the front.
Left side of building 1 from the water.
Left side of building 1 from the water.
Left side and back boardwalk of building 1 from shore.
Left side and back boardwalk of building 1 from shore.
Back to center of building 1 from shore, front door.
Back to center of building 1 from shore, front door.
Looking back at building 2 (Coast Guard Station) from shore in front of building 1.
Looking back at building 2 (Coast Guard Station) from shore in front of building 1.

Now, before you go assuming the worst of your gracious host, it was at this point that I began to wonder if this building was in fact a fish factory as the map would’ve had me believe.  Given the fact that a boardwalk ran from the confirmed Coast Guard Station out to the mysterious building and the fact that the fish factory seemingly had no business on the water, I had already started to suspect that this building was part of the Coast Guard station and not in fact a former fish factory.

Hopping aboard the boardwalk for a closer look.
Hopping aboard the boardwalk for a closer look.
Looking toward the land at the Coast Guard Station.
Looking toward the land at the Coast Guard Station.

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The boardwalk, extending to the right of building 1, into the ocean.
The boardwalk, extending to the right of building 1, into the ocean.
Looking down at the ocean into a mission section of boardwalk.  Exciting!
Looking down at the ocean into a mission section of boardwalk. Exciting!
Building 1 from the right side, boardwalk.
Building 1 from the right side, boardwalk.
A look inside the front right window of the building.  This was additional confirmation that this building was definitely not a fish factory...at least, not recently.
A look inside the front right window of the building confirms that this was in fact a boathouse.
Looking across the front porch.
Looking across the front porch.
Looking inside the window immediately to one side of the front door.
Looking inside the window immediately to one side of the front door.
Inside the front left window.  At this point, I had figured out that this was minimally a boathouse that was part of the CG operation.  At most, it was, perhaps, a lifesaving station.
Inside the front left window.

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Making our way around the left side of the building toward the back via the boardwalk.
Making our way around the left side of the building toward the back via the boardwalk.
A look inside from the windows on the left side of the building.
A look inside from the windows on the left side of the building.
And this was perhaps the most interesting discovery of all...rails leading from the back of the building and into the bay.  Clearly not a fish factory!
And this was perhaps the most interesting discovery of all…rails leading from the back of the building and into the bay.
Looking at the back of the building: doors that lead toward the ocean on rails.
Looking at the back of the building: doors that lead toward the ocean on rails.

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Rails disappearing into the encroaching water.
Rails disappearing into the encroaching water.
A few more looks inside from the vantage point of the windows on the left side of the building.
A few more looks inside from the vantage point of the windows on the left side of the building.

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Immediately following the section of the adventure, we followed the boardwalk back to land and found ourselves staring at this remarkable piece of history that stands very nearly alone on an all but abandoned spit of land: the Assateague Island Coast Guard Station.

The Coast Guard house on the island just to the south of the boathouse.  This is the northwest side of the house.  The porch in this photo (the larger of two) faces the west.
The Coast Guard house on the island just to the south of the boathouse. This is the northwest side of the house. The porch in this photo (the larger of two) faces the west.
Looking north, back at the boathouse, boardwalk to the right.
Looking north, back at the boathouse, boardwalk to the right.
A look inside the front window from the west porch.
A look inside the front window from the west porch.

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View inside the right west porch window.
View inside the right west porch window.
Looking more and more like quarters to me.
Looking more and more like quarters to me.
West porch, sans screen.
West porch, sans screen.
Looking west.
Looking west.
Down the west porch steps.
Down the west porch steps.
West porch, looking north toward the boardwalk/boathouse.
West porch, looking north toward the boardwalk/boathouse.
The west porch.
The west porch.
The south porch.
The south porch.
South and west porches, looking roughly northeast.
South and west porches, looking roughly northeast.
Looking inside the windows at the south porch.
Looking inside the windows at the south porch.
Second view inside the south porch window.
Second view inside the south porch window.
Looking south from the south porch, one outbuilding surviving to the right.
Looking south from the south porch, one outbuilding surviving to the right.
Looking in the window on the door at the back (north) side of the house at a very 1940's-esque kitchen.
Looking in the window on the door at the back (north) side of the house at a very 1940’s-esque kitchen.

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Looking north at the boathouse/boardwalk.
Looking north at the boathouse/boardwalk.
Looking north at the south porch.
Looking north at the south porch.
Lookout tower, located just southwest of the house.
Lookout tower, located just southwest of the house.
Outbuilding, slightly south of the house.
Outbuilding, slightly south of the house.
Viewing the house from the southeast.
Viewing the house from the southeast.

Links

http://www.uprootedphotographer.com/post/30034314463/abandoned-assateague-island-coast-guard-station
More photos of the boathouse and coast guard station.

http://www.chincoteague.com/AssateagueTrailMap.pdf
Trail map for Chincoteague National Wildlife Preserve.

http://www.piping-plover.org/images/4-97-g_Settlement_on_Assateague_Island.pdf
Source for location of original lifesaving station and reference on Tom’s Hook Fish Factory location.

http://www.stripersonline.com/t/826533/chincoteague-fears-proposal-to-move-beach-would-hurt-tourism-economy
Forum with local lore regarding location/visibility of fish factory.

http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft.dll/detailfs?userid=655C590AEC814724816140FDC236FC40&ndx=102&albumid=3935E68AAEB749549B136804B766592B&pictureid=B219475E389C4BE3BF7DC13ACBB019A6
Photos of the actual fish factory.

fish factory ruins
Flickr photo of the fish factory ruins.

Fast Backward: Sleettown, KY

For today’s adventure, I’ve chosen to post and write about a past trip out to Perryville Battlefield, upon which I discovered the abandoned remains of Sleettown, KY, which were purchased by the state and are now protected property.  Please note that these photos were taken in February 2013 and are not current photos.

Aside from preserving an impressive and expansive battlefield that was the site of the very conflict that kept Kentucky under Union control and sent the Confederates retreating toward Tennessee never to return, this state historic site also preserves a rarity for the Civil War era: a town borne out of the freedom granted to slaves after the Civil War and populated entirely by free blacks.  Step back with me to 1865 America in the post-Civil War south, won’t you?

The only remaining home in Sleettown, KY.
The only remaining home in Sleettown, KY.
A close-up of this crumbling building.
A close-up of this crumbling building.
View from the right side.
View from the right side.
The back of the building, foundation view.  This building has no basement but is built on the rock pilings that are soon going to give out.
The back of the building, foundation view. This building has no basement but is built on the rock pilings that are soon going to give out.
Back of the structure, right side.
Back of the structure, right side.
View from the right side.
View from the right side.
Up the hill behind the house, an abandoned barn silo and the skeleton of an old barn beg a look-see.
Up the hill behind the house, an abandoned barn silo and the skeleton of an old barn beg a look-see.

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Behind the silo is a covered area with a lot of debris and garbage that looks to be nearly 100 years old.
Behind the silo is a covered area with a lot of debris and garbage that looks to be nearly 100 years old.
Old refrigerator.
Old refrigerator.
Sear's.  Some things last a loooooong time!
Sear’s. Some things last a loooooong time!
View of the silo.
View of the silo.
The remnants of the barn.
The remnants of the barn.

Ready for the background story yet?

Sleettown was originally settled by the descendants of Warner and Olivia Sleet, who were slaves in Boyle County (KY) during the Civil War.  In 1865, their sons, Henry, Preston, and George Sleet, bought the battlefield property from land owner Henry Bottom, who had endured the destruction of the Battle of Perryville and desperately needed the money (this purchase was not recorded until 1880).  The Sleets began to purchase other parcels of land around their original purchase, and soon, along with the Pattersons, Swanns, and other families, Sleettown was born.

Sleettown reportedly had a general store, a restaurant, a cemetery, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, a taxi service, and several homes at its peak, but this is not what made Sleettown notable. Keep in mind that in post-Civil War America, racial segregation was the law of the land–and one that many people saw as too lenient at that.  Yet according to the signs in the state park, the newly-freed black residents of Sleettown lived, worked, and spent their evenings with their neighbors, the white residents of nearby Perryville.  The spirit of community and equality was so unique, I will quote directly from an interpretive sign that stands near the remains pictured above:

In the early 20th century, when most of Kentucky was racially segregated, the relationship with neighboring whites was open and friendly.  A sincere spirit of fellowship existed, where neighbors worked side by side on the farm and in their homes.  Often, blacks and whites would come together in the evenings to visit or play a game of cards, and their children played together.

It is incredible and inspiring to this writer that in an era that was defined by race and separation, these communities managed to overcome their cultural and racial differences and lived an example of equality. As the Sleettown families raised their children and those children left home to make their ways in the world, the population of Sleettown steadily declined until in 1931, the last resident of this remarkable community abandoned the settlement as the Great Depression settled in.  Many of the descendants of Sleettown’s founders and residents now reside in nearby Perryville.

Links to more information:
http://articles.centralkynews.com/2007-09-16/news/24860875_1_descendants-town-site-civil-war-preservation-trust
http://nkaa.uky.edu/record.php?note_id=151
http://www.perryvillebattlefield.org/Noe-battlefield.pdf  (search document for “Sleettown”)

Photos of the interpretive signs referenced above:

Information on Sleettown itself.
Information on Sleettown itself.
More information on Henry and Preston Sleet and their service with the Union Army in the Civil War.
More information on Henry and Preston Sleet and their service with the Union Army in the Civil War.
Information about the Sleet family.
Information about the Sleet family.

21502 Dixie Highway: A-1 Montgomery Auto Mart / Construction, West Point, KY

Off 31W just outside of the understated yet impressively historic town of West Point, KY, is an old building that is falling quietly into ruin.  It’s clearly a survivor from another era, a run-down little structure that has the look of an old business.  Angled to face the Dixie Highway, it’d be a natural office for an auto salesman.  It was on another cloudy winter day that I found a bit of time for a look around.

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From the front, the roof–peeling shingles and all–just out over the first story entrance.  A sign resting against the front window betrays the identity of this former store.

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The sign gives “21502 Dixie Highway, West Point, KY” as the address, listing phone and fax numbers for a car dealership.

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A peek inside the front window (to the right as you face the building) betrays a disheveled office and some mysterious murals that are being stored inside the structure.

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Looking inside the window to the left betrays the remnants of a staircase, now with a ladder to serve as the steps, and more murals.

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Moving to the left, the building starts to show its worst areas of decay.  A hole in the side of the building and a badly deteriorated ad along with falling shingles betray nature’s wear and tear with time and human neglect.

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The back of the building shows a base of cinder blocks and brick.  Covered with plywood and open in other spots, I begin to wonder if the upstairs served as a personal residence while the downstairs was the store/shop.

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A small, unlocked cinder block room enters the base of the structure at the back.  Not much to see here.

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Looking straight up, this shot shows the various materials used in construction.  The obvious cinder block division to the right of the photo begs the question: was this building built in pieces or added on to at a later time?  It would certainly seem that way based on the pattern in the blocks.

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Debris scattered at the base of the back wall.  The remnants of a full set of china and what might be a table further begs the question: what was the building’s upstairs used for?

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Looking across the back of the building from the building’s right (as you’re facing the front).  A steep embankment guards the access from the left side of the building.

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Facing the building and looking to the right.  Heavy overgrowth stands guard on this side of the structure.

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One final view from the front.

This is yet another structure whose history is largely unknown.  A google search brought up the following links to businesses at this address:

http://www.largepro.com/a-1-montgomery-construction-house-and-room-addition-contractors-in-west-point-40177-area
This site gives a description of an A-1 Montgomery Construction business at this address.

http://411dir.biz/6573667_kentucky_west_point.html
A-1 Montgomery Construction, owned and operated by John Montgomery.  Annual sales: 243,080.  Builders and general contractors, single-family housing construction.  No dates given.

None of the searches brought up any information on the auto mart other than the fact that it was operated from the same address.  None of the searches turned up dates for either businesses, either.  Is it possible that the auto mart was the first business here, and when it went out, the owner (John Montgomery) turned to construction and ran a contractor business out of his old auto shop?  That would seem the most likely answer, especially as the building had no information/visible signage about the construction business.

That’s all for this time!  Thanks for reading.