Creasey

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Creasey Building 1903

This is the front of the Creasey bldg.  Probably the most defining building in NP until it was taken down in 1960 because of fire hazard. The front portion was one of first buildings in NP about 1903-1904.  In a few years a feed store was added to the back end making it extend back to the alley.

Note two bldgs down is the front of the Palace Hotel.

Note the telephone pole, and what looks like a power pole.  The same power pole was still there many years later in the 50s. I don’t know if it is still there now.

See the dirt road and the board walk, and hitching posts.  Merchants kept a stack of planks piled along the boardwalk to use to cross the street when it was too muddy.  This photo is c 1904 and the main street would not be paved until 1920.

The Creasey “Boys” (as the locals called them to the end of their days) ran this feed store for many years.  In the photo you can see a man carrying a sack of feed out to his buggy. In the 30s we used to drive our team and wagon to town (no car), and tie up back of Creaseys in a big yard there for that purpose.  Behind the feed store, and across this alley that ran behind the  stores on main street, was a coal yard equally well equipped to deal with teams and wagons that would come to pick up needed  coal. The  coal was usually sold in gunny sacks (burlap bags).

The coal yard eventually went away before WWII when most people switched to oil furnaces and away from coal. Coal was routinely used until this point by most residents.  We would pick it up at the feed store or coal yard where mostly it was put into burlap sacks weighing about 60-80 lbs and carted on home.  Burlap sacks were the shopping bags of early NP, ubiquitous and re-usable–that is until WWII (but that is another story).  One could get the coal delivered to your residence, by the drayman of the time.  Most townsfolk of that time had a coal bin under their house conveniently next to their furnace– also in the cellar or basement–and convenient to a drive way where the delivery could be made by truck or wagon backed up to the house.

The feed store eventually competed with Frank Robertson Feed out by the city business office, and by the feed mill on the RR after WWII.  Eventually the feed store succumbed to competition more able, more modern, much more convenient, and with much fresher management and practices than Emma Hatfield (Creasey’s daughter) who operated both the feed store and a cafe of the time in front. Emma had two boys, Bobby who was in my class for most of our schooling, and Jimmy older by a year.  Jimmy was killed in a car accident west of town at junction of Hwy 30 and 95.

The front of the Creasey bldg was  continually changing tenants. It went thru dry goods, groceries, cafes after cafes. In 1946, the Conger Cafe was in the old Creasey bldg — It used to be Emma Hatfield’s domain.

The Creasey buiilding upstairs over the front was a hall used by Odd Fellows, Elks or other meetings thru the years.

After about 60-70 years the bldg was torn down as a fire hazard. The land sold to the Co-op across the street, and turned into a farm equipment yard.  This simply gutted the town, and the outdoor display of equipment added insult to injury.  For all that time, the Creasey bldg had been the most identifiable feature of the town.

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Creasey Brothers about 1818

This photo is Jim Creasey and his brother in their truck.  Note the truck was of the type where one buys a chassis and then builds whatever is wanted on top of that,  Note the board seat and floor boards.  Guessing, I’d say 1818.  These trucks were all open to the weather until after WWI.

To us today, these men look like hillbillies.  But, they were far from it.  Many photos of early Plymouth-ites show them in suits, as cleaned up as anyone.  They were very civic minded folk, and you can find their names with many civic organizations down thru the year.

Their hats while looking the part of Beverly Hill Billies were standard of the day, and instead of looking delapidated were the way they were because that is how lots of rain makes leather hats look.  Wet leather stretches all out of shape.  Put by a stove to dry quickly, it shrinks–enough of these iterations and the shaped hat becomes a completely unshaped hat!  And a rain-shaped-hat means that the headband area is much wider than normal–and this causes sweat to stain it.

NP,  being generally distant to populated areas, would see normal venders like the Rexal and Fuller Brush buggies, so common in 30s and 40s, who all carried good lines of straw hats.  This photo was in the teens.  Had the same individuals photo had been taken in 30s or 40s then these hats would have been most likely straw hats and much more presentable.

The Creaseys were not the only adult males called “Boys.”  The Kennedys, out by the river, were called the Kennedy Boys by the locals–even in their late 70s.  People today don’t seem to understand that to locals a “nickname” brings a certain measure of respect.  If one remembers the movie films about pilots earning their “call sign” you will better understand.  Sometimes the name comes as a jest or “ribbing,” but make no mistake.  In male lingo, nicknames are always “earned” in a way, and even if assigned because of some faux pas always bring more respect.  To earn a brand, handle, tag, or label among men, means that you have “arrived.”  If you have not received such a name means that you have not arrived!

Remember famous generals always had such–like “Ike.”  This goes back to the beginning of mankind.  The Brits always give their leaders such a tag (Winnie, Maggie Thatcher (and even some very unflattering–like “Iron Pants” or “Iron Lady”–which I am certain that she secretly relished!)).

 

Don Chandler

Don Chandler 1951

 

 

 

1951 Don Chandler with the back end of the Creasey Bldg in background.  This is back end of the front portion.  There is an added back portion that housed the feed store.  Separating them you can just make out the entrance stairs to the upstairs used for many years by Odd Fellows, and other community events.

Note:  The corner opposite the Creasey bldg, NE Elm and Main, became known as Grocery Corner because a succession of Groceries came and went. Several burned down, leaving a big hole with a wooden fence around it. This was after the Stevens building (the original on that corner) also burned.  In the 40s, I sold all my eggs to the grocer running this store at the time (Carl Borup). Carl had worked for the original Albertson store on State Street in Boise — and where we first met him. Then he bought the grocery in New Plymouth.  In the late 40s Carl opened the wall between his store and Sullivans Drygoods next door. The Mercantile, I think it was called. That happened around 1948.  Carl’s son, Jerry, married my sister, Margie in 1953.

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