West: Resolving some childhood memories

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Do you have any childhood mysterys?

I do, of course, and one of the most memorable was the regular arrival of the big milk truck. It would roll down my grandparent's lane, if I remember correctly, in the mid-afternoon. A rooster tail of dust would follow.

It was nothing fancy, but had Armour Cheese lettered on the square sides of the tall "refrigeration" unit behind, what I remember as a dark blue cab.

A big, smiling man would climb out and load the milk can(s) into the back of the truck and they would continue on to their next stop.

Naturally, there was a lot more involved in the process. The milk cans were big (10 gallons) and heavy when full (80 pounds).

Once it's rounds were complete, the milk truck headed to Woodbury's Armour Cheese plant. For the life of me, I can't remember where that plant was located, but I knew it was a key local business along with the Colonial shirt factory and the little box factory.

I also learned the importance of Doctor Adams to Woodbury. After all, I was born at Good Samaritan Hospital, which was (for the lack of a better word) created by Dr. Jesse F. Adams. It seemed like Doc Adams and later his son, Dr. Carl Adams, were involved in everything important in Cannon County from medical emergencies on up.

For example, Dr. Adams managed to safely reattach my grandmother, Angie Van Hooser's fingers which got caught in a device made to shell corn from the cob. His work was almost perfect and barely left a scar. Most families had a similar story of medical heroism to share about Doc Adams.

As years past, I learned how Dr. Adams and other important Cannon County leaders used a mix of common sense and imagination to help their community grow into a unique spot.

The "best" development was completion of the new Memphis-to-Bristol Highway in the late 1920s. That new roadway literally put Woodbury on the map and fostered local develop-ment on the square.

The link to other communities like Murfreesboro was vitally important. Murfreesboro had something Woodbury was lacking - a railroad connection.

State Route 1 (now U.S. Highway 70S) led to development of Good Samartian Hospital in the early 1930s and Woodbury's first modern factory, the Armour Cheese Plant, in 1935. Of course, there is much more to tell about the cheese plant. To participate, local farmers needed the proper equipment and the right type of cattle, in this case Jersey cows. Dr. Adams helped and encouraged that as well.

Perhaps, the most significant development came in the post World War II days when Doc Adams and the Woodbury Lions Club worked to convince the Colonial Shirt Corporation to establish a Woodbury factory; a branch factory was later opened in Auburntown. For many years, the shirt factory was the largest employer in Cannon County. Today, Cannon County Schools fills that role.

I can't confess much knowledge about Colonial, other than (just joking) "clear the roads, here comes the shirt factory crowd" every day at quitting time. Guided by Sol Berger and Leonard Friedman, the top executives of Colonial Corporation of America, the Woodbury operation was headquarters of the Colonial Shirt Corporation.

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Mike West
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May 12, 2017 at 10:48pm
Great local history ... we need reminded of, particularly the younger folks.
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