Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 18
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A part of The Grove's colorful past was the
annual Doolittle Championship Rodeo held each
July 4 since 1928. Pictured here is Austin
Doolittle, the town character who brought
hundreds of people to The Grove for this event.
the bank lost money when an employee
embezzled a large amount of cash by
keeping two sets of books. These events,
together with the economic depression of
the time, led to the bank's voluntary
liquidation in 1932.
A brighter part of The Grove's colorful
past was the annual Doolittle Championship
Rodeo, held each July 4 since
1928. Austin Doolittle, the town character
and Hondo Crouch of his place and
time, brought hundreds of people to The
Grove for this event. Another annual
episode, dear to the hearts of The Grove
young people, was the New Year's Eve disassembling
of Doolittle's buggy and its reassembly
on top of Dube's store.
During the 1940s and 1950s, townspeople
would gather at the school to
watch movies projected on the side of the
building. However, after World War II,
while the store continued to serve the
town, many people moved away or didn't
come back from their wartime activities.
When Dube decided to sell the store,
he sold it to Jim Gilbert, who ran it for
a short while before selling it to John
Graham. Graham and his wife Ruby, the
postmistress, ran it in the best tradition of
country storekeepers for thirteen years.
Graham continued to wind Dube's
clock, sold red soda pop to the children
in town, closed the store for a funeral
when a neighbor died, and tried to keep
the fancy brass grille work and footrail in
front of the bank teller's cage free of the
dust that drifted in from the dirt road in
During these years, Ruby ran the post
office from the bank enclosure because
from there she could also watch the store.
She used the room built for the post office
as a kitchen, where she prepared lunch
for John and anyone else who happened
to be around at noontime.
In 1972, Moody Anderson, history
buff and antique dealer from Austin,
bought the store and post office building
from Graham. Anderson also owns the
little wooden building next door, itself
once another store, and the old blacksmith
shop next to that. He opens the
store on weekends for special occasions or
for groups and allows Eula Mae Graham
Kindler, Graham's daughter, to show it to
visitors with a special interest in his treasures,
which also fill the blacksmith shop.
It doesn't matter that everything in the
store now wasn't actually part of its early
merchandise. Probably it is no exaggeration
to say that Anderson has collected at
least one of every item ever sold in a general
store during the first quarter of this
century and has placed it on display in
The Grove store. Nothing is for sale, but
unless you look closely and see a little
rust, a yellowed label, a bit of dust here
and there, you can easily imagine yourself
as a customer of fifty or more years ago.
Here are the glass-fronted counter bins
where beans, rice, dried peas, and other
staples were stored. On one counter sit
flour sacks that once held the popular
brands of their day: Quality Mills, Pioneer
Flour Mills, Washburn Crossing,
Angel Food, Purasnow. Cornmeal sacks
from Martha White and Victor Mills.
Among the soda pop bottles one recognizes
Uncle Jo and Nehi. Coffees: MJB,
Red & White, 1869, Mi Boy, Bright &
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987, periodical, Summer 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45437/m1/18/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.