Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From grocery to church to an unknown future

by Mary Lou Mitchell

On February 12th a prospective developer of the former church building at 1014 South Washington Street invited Bryan Park neighbors to a meeting that the developer convened at Templeton. The developer’s courtesy was greatly appreciated and there was much discussion on the use of the building. Although it is zoned for commercial use, it could also be developed as residential property, which most of the surrounding neighbors would prefer. They also said they wouldn’t object to child or adult day care, a gallery, or some similar low-traffic use. We all hope there will be an agreeable solution for this property.

This property has been zoned commercial since 1929-1930, when the R C McKinley grocery was built on the lot. Sometime between 1930 and 1938 it became the A V Kirk Grocery. August V Kirk had previously been an accountant at the Matthews Brothers Stone Mill on South Walnut Street. He owned the store until 1950 when he sold it to John Zark. Mr. Zark vacated it in 1952. It stayed vacant until 1956 when the Church of Christ fellowship, the current owners, bought it.

A V Kirk and his wife, Anna, lived in the neighborhood themselves until Anna died in 1981 and A V died in 1992 at the age of 96. As a small boy, my husband Dick Mitchell and some buddies did odd jobs at the grocery. A V always threw the crates his vegetables came in down the basement steps, then every so often, he would hire the boys to bust them up. Dick says there was always water (from the creek) and rats (also from the creek) in the basement. A V also took the boys on deliveries. Their pay? 10 or 15 cents – enough to buy a candy bar and a bottle of pop.

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