A person who repairs and makes shoes and boots is called a cobbler simply because they knew how to “cobble” pieces of leather together to fashion shoes. The profession was highly respected during times when owning leather footwear meant the highest quality and durability was of utmost importance.
Cobblers were a necessary part of any community.
Kilgore has had its share of boot/leather shops. One most noted was located near the old Texan Theatre and was owned by the Sechrist family from 1930 to 1942 and then was sold to Paul and Juanita Bizzell. The store became known as Paul’s Shoe Shop and with it came a sign in the fashion of a boot. This sign wasn’t an ordinary sign with a boot painted on it, instead it was a metal boot approximately 5 feet in height.
“I remember that sign as a kid, it had lights all around it and lit up like blazing glory,” said Lt. Tony Stone of the Kilgore Police Department. Tony’s father, Wesley Stone was a master cobbler in Kilgore for over 50 years.
After the Bizell’s purchase of the store, it was moved to 121 N. Kilgore Street.
“The shop was later moved to the corner of Martin and Rusk Street when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My dad worked for them, too. On Saturdays, he worked only until noon and my mother and I would go into town; walk in and out of the shops and down to the soda fountain at the Longhorn Drug Store waiting for him to get off work. We just always walked in the back door at Longhorn like we owned the place,” laughed Tony.
“Looking back, it is a wonder that place didn’t get robbed because people just coming and going in the back as much as the front. But, that lady in there always made sure I had me a scoop of ice cream before I left, claiming it was because I had the prettiest brown eyes she had ever seen. To this day, I do not know the name of that woman.”
“The boot store was then sold to George Faber and it was moved across the street into what is now T’s Motorcycle Shop,” continued Tony. “For a while, Cavender’s was in the building selling blue jeans, shirts and boots with my dad doing the repair work.
“They brought in boots from shops in Longview for my father to repair and he had an enormous work load,” said Tony.
The store was purchased by Jay Clements in late 2002 and renamed The Flying Hook. The store, along with the sign, was then moved back to N. Kilgore Street. It was during this time Wesley Stone retired.
In the middle of changes of the boot store the sign disappeared, to the dismay of the former families of owners and employees and all was thought lost until recently. That sign has now found a permanent home at the late Johnny and Sue Clements Ranch and is posted near the front gate welcoming visitors in. The lights around it are gone, but a yard light keeps it blazon in glory.
Kilgore has been without a boot store or a cobbler since 2004. How times have changed.
OKLAHOMA teachers return to work on Monday according to Kaylee Kuykendall.
“Unfortunately, not much has happened this last week,” she said. “The legislators are standing firm that they have done all they could do for us. The only thing that has happened in two weeks is a $20 million Amazon tax. We are needing at least $25 (million) more, but most of us are planning to return to the classroom Monday and fighting from there. We can’t make our kids suffer any more while politicians are sitting firm. They adjourned on Thursday and won’t be back until Monday.”
“It is very disheartening,” she said. “Lots of teachers and principals feeling defeated. But, we are not giving up. We are now just on to step two of the fight. That fight will have to continue from our classrooms.”
WOMEN IN THIS town had a day of it on Thursday. If they weren’t at the annual Woman’s Club luncheon, they were at the Kilgore Chamber’s Black Gold Texas Tea later in the evening; some may have even been at both.
IF YOU want to listen to some good and pleasant music check out the You Tube of “Hello Ocean” by Jeff Baker, son of Jim and Betty Baker. It is from his album “Good Times Come and Go.” It can be found under JB Kilgore.
MAY HIS LOVE AND LAUGHTER Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-984-2593.