There were company stores at Dundon, Swandale and Widen, the biggest being at Widen. The Dundon company store sat at the junction of the BC&G and the B&O (See map). This building is also sometimes erroneously referred to as the ERC&L headquarters, but there were no offices in this building. The offices of the ERC&L were all in the one-story office building near Bradley's residence. Patsy Baughman, whose late father-in-law, N.N. Baughman, managed the store for 11 years up until its closing, has provided a great deal of the information presented here.
John Killoran photo - April 1958
Here's a perfect portrait of the Company store, full of information for the modeler. It's an unobscured view of the entire building including the storage building beyond that was known as the "feed house". A similar building existed at Swandale. According to Patsy Baughman, former employee of the store, here you could by 25 pound to 100 pound bags of feed for chickens and live stock. Notice that Esso gas was sold at the store. From this perspective the lower level is visible to the right as the land slopes sharply to the Buffalo Creek here.
The company stores were about the only buildings on the ERC&L property that had any sort of adornment. Notice the nice lattice work under the overhanging roof. This building was red with white trim in the 1950's. It was not very long after this photo that this store was closed by it's new owners, the Clinchfield coal company
According to Patsy, the stock for the store was brought in by truck from Charleston. The store was not serviced by the railroad.
Photographer and date unknown
Patsy recalls that the first floor of the store contained the post office (right hand door), a woman's dry goods section and main grocery in the middle and a storeroom, restroom and staircase to the basement on the left. The second floor of the store was configured as living space, apparently for the use of the store manager if he desired. The door on the left led to the second floor. The living room was at the front, the kitchen and dining space on the right, and the bedrooms were at the back.
This photo was obviously taken later than the one above. In fact, it's likely that the store is closed at this point, based on it's condition. It's hard to say from this view whether the gas pumps are still in place. The sign on the front of the building is also different than the Killoran photo. The picture does provide some additional information about the shed and it's overhanging roof.
The truss bridge in the background is the highway bridge over the Elk River. The location of the B&O station is just out of sight to the right.
The company store is in the back of this photo. It is curious that here it looks to have light colored paint on the front, but a darker value on the end closest to the camera. It's not clear whether it was in the process of being painted or simply had a two-toned paint job for a while. The B&O bridge is just to the right of the store.
B&O Truss Bridge over the Buffalo Creek
Two photos by Brooks Stover - 2007
This is all that remains of the store. This photo was taken from the B&O bridge. Enlarging the photo reveals that there were four windows in the rear of the foundation. Herald Baughman recalls that basement did not go under the full length of the building. There were three stairways to the basement...one inside the store, one outside the store on the post office end, and one between the building and the feed house.
This bridge carried the B&O main over the Buffalo Creek and on to Charleston. It would look just great on a layout.
John Armstrong photo - circa 1954
Patsy's husband, Herald, recalls that there was access in front of the Dundon store where coal was put for the boiler furnance in the basement. Herald located it in the photo above. It is in the ground in front of the store just behind the truck. It was a steel door that opened and a chute emptied the coal in the store basement. This would be a very unique feature to include in a model of the store! Like most photos on the site this photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.
Patsy Baughman provided this wonderful snapshot taken along the Buffalo Creek but on the opposite side from most photos on this site. Visible through the trees is the BACK of the Dundon store. This is the only image of the back of the store I've ever seen. Also visible is the B&O truss bridge (see below). What a beautiful image of how the huge trees engulfed everything man-made. The date and photographer are unknown.
The rowboat belonged to Herald Baughman when he was a young boy. He traded the boat to a friend, Roscoe Friend (in the photo) for a 22 rifle which he still had in 2008!
Sketch of Company Store by Phil Bonzon
To assist in building a model of the Dundon company store for his HO gauge model railroad, Phil Bonzon did this delightful sketch of the store. It is slightly compressed in size in order to fit the space available for the structure on his layout but it certainly captures the feel of the store and adjacent feed storage building.
Patsy Baughman has provided another interesting detail about the store and feed building. There was a passageway between the two structures (yellow arrow above). The roof of the feed building connected to the store and covered the passageway which led to a stairway that went down the embankment behind.
Patsy Baughman photo - 2007
To the right is an enlargement of the Armstrong photo above. Two things about the photo have surfaced. First, Roscoe Friend recalls the small shack (yellow arrow) in front of the pickup contained a fire hose. Roscoe further confirms in conversation with Patsy and Herald Baughman that the photograph must have been taken in the 1954 period, not 1951 as earlier believed. The Baughmans do not remember the light colored front on the store and they left in 1952.
In case some day some inspired modeler wants to model the interior of the Dundon store, Patsy Baughman has provided the following additional information.
According to Patsy, "the main part of the store with the display windows had the grocery side on the left, a long meat case across the back and the magazine rack and men's dry goods on the right. There were high shelves all around. Entering from the front door, on the left was the ice cream cooler and candy showcase. The soft drink cooler was behind the ice cream. The counter started here with some fresh fruits and vegetables, crank adding machine, empty counter space, scales, meat cutter, roll and cutter for wrapping paper for meat and chees, and the meat case. Behind this counter were the canned goods, cereals, cash register and behind the meat case were the medicinal products, lunch buckets, wash boards, soaps, etc. And on beyond the meat case was more counter space with showcases and men's clothing piled up. There were shoes and other clothing on the shelves. In the middle of the store was a bread rack with loaves of bread and small pies and cakes. I don't remember any specific advertising or signs. In the back room, accessed through the door on the left of the left display window, were a few hardware items, a large schale for weighing heavy feed, etc. and people would weigh themselves. It had weights and you could stand on it. You could access this room from behind the ice cream and soft drink cooler. There was a wall telephone in this area. On the other end of this room was also a butcher's block and small desk for the manager to make his reports, orders, etc."
"You might note the store windows. They never had much in them but crepe paper window treatment draped to look like curtains. I know because my Dad would do these windows. He learned how to do displays of windows and canned good at a convention. There was a portion of the counter (by the scales and meat cutter) that lifted up so the cleark would have access to the middle part of the store without having to go around on the other side of the store for an opening. The shelves were high and in order to get a box of cereral we had a long pole with 'pinchers'."
Photos from the collection of Herald and Patsy Baughman
In the late 1950s there was a young man who made deliveries from the company store. His name was Charles Stidom and this Ford coupe was his car. Also visible in the background is John Lanham's house and a shed that housed a pump house for drinking water (yellow arrow). The B&O station is visible on the far right. The highway bridge across the Elk River is clearly visible...part through girder and part truss.
Roscoe Friend recalls the covered pickup truck visible in this photo belonging to the Company Store. It was stored in one of the sheds behind the B&O station.
This 0ne-of-a-kind photo of the inside of the Dundon store was provided by Patsy Baughman. It was taken on the Post Office side where there were also woman's dry goods. The man is Herald Baughman's father, Mr. Newman Baughman and the woman is Lyda Wilson, the postmistress.
COLOR CONFIRMATION - This is the only color still photo I have seen of the Dundon Company Store. It is dated May 1960 and based on the fact that the engine is showing white extra flags, the picture was no doubt taken during the railfan weekend. The sanitary appearance of the engine also supports that fact. What a great shot of the store this would have been if the engine wasn't in the way! Clicking on the photo to enlarge it confirms that the feed storage building, just visible in front of the engine, is also painted read with white trim.
Photographer unknown - May 1960
In this photo, Charles is holding a Cressmont dairy quart bottle. He had just delivered a full bottle to the Baughman's house and picked up the empty.
This delightful impressionist-style painting of the Dundon store was done in 2009 by David Wimmer of Elk Park, NC, as a gift to the Baughmans.