Hello - I am the owner of the old T dealership in North Central TN listed in the post from January 3. Having read the thread, I thought you might be interested in some additional info.
The building was built in 1911 and still remains in perfect shape along with a 2-story house from 1909, 3-story house from 1922, and a general store building next door from 1922. The general store was operated simultaneously to the dealership by my grandfather. The group is on the national register of historic places knows as the "Youngs Historic District". Unfortunately, my Dad passed late last year and we now have the entire property for sale - hence, the ongoing sale of our inventory and tools.
My great-grandfather (for whom I'm a namesake) and my grandfather officially opened the dealership in late 1918. Although it's an extremely rural part of TN, I have records detailing 83 units sold in 1923 alone - a lot of TT's, a mix of cars, and Fordson tractors. The dealership handled a lot of repair work and the acetylene furnace and a good bit of the original machinery and tools remain - as well as a huge amount of old turn-of-century agricultural tools that were stored there. A blacksmith's pit including a Champion blower has been dismantled and sold, but most all of the blacksmith tools remain. I have records of every repair job performed by the shop.
In 1925, two milestones caused the Ford dealership to close. My grandfather died suddenly from appendicitis two days after my Dad was born - and in the same hospital. As well, Ford was forcing us to commit to more units than could be sold. In this rough, rural area - cars could only be driven in late Spring and Summer. Ford was insisting the dealership take on 35 additional units in the Fall and sell by Spring - and actually shipped the inventory via rail. I have every piece of correspondence between my great granddad debating this situation, with the final letter constituting our resignation as a Ford dealer.
To continue the operation of the garage, and I'm sure a little to spite Ford, we signed on as a Chevrolet dealership for a few years running from late '25-'28 or maybe early '29. Interesting, the shop manager for my great granddad eventually opened a Chevrolet dealership in the nearest "real" town after ours closed and his family kept it open until the early 1980's.
I have documentation of all the activities of our Ford dealership including all correspondence/freight bills/etc, quite a few parts - including some newly found in the last 2 weeks - that are Ford, Chevy, and Fordson tractor, a quantity of teens and '20s parts lists & service manuals from Ford, Chevrolet, Standard, Buick, Overland, and a few others. We also have a quantity of tools including grinders, floor jacks (including a 1922 Weaver "New Way" steerable floor jack with original order papers), Walden and other wrenches, etc... If any interest, my Dad also ran a Ford dealership in the '60s and we have a lot of service manuals and parts from that era as well.
I thought I'd share this information and the pictures that are attached. Please feel free to contact me and I'll share whatever information I can or if you have interest in any of the items I've mentioned.
Thanks for reading.
Hi Joe - Thank you very much for posting this great information on your familys' Ford Garage and related buildings. Reading the story just makes me wonder what it looked like when it was in operation as a Model T Ford dealership.... Do you have any period pictures, and could you post them or some of them? I can almost visualize it...gas pumps outside, Ford sign up above, several T's parked around. Maybe even your grandfather and great grandfather standing out in front.
Thanks again, Keith
Hey Keith - thanks for the message. My mom has a picture, ironically, of exactly what you mention. My great-granddad and grandfather posed out front with the gas pump, a couple of T's and a tractor. It will take a while, but I will scan the picture and post after I see her next. Joe
Joe - That's great!!! I'll watch for it.
Thanks very much, Keith
I am a fellow Tennesseean and would love to come see the place and talk more details with you. Probably bring along a few others as well. Please send me a PM if you will or you can use email address tastanzioneXtds.net, of course replace the x with an @
Great story Joe! All our best to you and yours. Hang on to that paperwork!
What a great piece of Americana!