Garten Motors Ford
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1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#1 Dec 3, 2010
Hello, I grew up just outside of Hinton (Hilldale) but my grandfather, C.B. Garten, owned and operated Garten Motors Ford in Avis from 1946 until the early 1960s when he retired to Florida. I have many fond memories of the dealership, sitting in the new cars as a kid, and also some spooky memories as I would love to go behind the dealership where the wreaker would pull cars that had been in horrible accidents.
Anyone on this forum who remembers the Ford/Mercury dealership and might share memories or observations? I have a great many photos of the dealership taken during the early to mid 1950s. Grandfather Garten was a great civil leader and sponsored many community events, played Santa during the annual Christmas Parade for many years, and served as Summers County Sheriff for one term.
I am also interested in learning whether anyone on this forum can share memories about the various other car dealerships in Hinton during this period. I recall Grimmett's of course, and there was a Chevy dealer right downtown plus a Pontiac dealer in town as well. Abe Abshire sold Jeep products over near Jumping Branch as I recall and also in Avis was a small AMC dealer for a short time.
As an automotive historian I am currently writing a book on small town car dealerships in the 1950s and would appreciate any Hinton memories folks on this board may have to share.
Thanks.
Lea

Princeton, WV

#2 Dec 3, 2010
You'll get a few 'takers' on this one--Holstein Chevrolet was interesting because it was on Ballengee Street, close to the Ritz Theater, so if you lived in Hinton and didn't have a ride to buy a ride, you just walked to the showroom. Also a dealer on Summers Street, but can't remember what they sold. These guys will know.
memories

Brentwood, TN

#3 Dec 3, 2010
My mother bought a brand new 1973 hornet for ed hagy at the amc dealer in hinton.Its a hornet levi for the seats were made of denim and she paid 3,666.54 for it and i loved it blue 2 door hatchback and we took several trips to norfolk,va in it and i was so smal i could stretch out behind the back seat and sleep all the way down and back what time we werent playing punch bug..lol mr hagy was such a nice guy that he even paid the last payment for mom which was 97.00.Damn those were the days
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JWM

Elizabethtown, KY

#5 Dec 4, 2010
I recall some others--Gum Motors at the corner of 3rd & Summers (sold Buicks), Harmon Motors between 2nd & 3rd on Summers Street (sold Pontiac) and Halloran's on Pleasant St (sold Oldsmobile). Garten retired and the dealership was bought by Joe Harper and Walter Nye, they changed the name to H & N. I remember buying s new Malibu station wagon at Holstein's in 1973 for $3900.
1 post removed
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#7 Dec 4, 2010
Harmon was the Pontiac dealer down on Summers Street, I just remembered.For a short time he also sold the Vauxhall vehicle that was imported from England. Pontiac stores sold Vauxhalls while Buick shops sold the German Opal. To get any other imported vehicle one had to go to Beckley or to Princeton. The only VW dealer (and the first in southern West Virginia) was beteen Princeton and Bluefield and later there was a dealer in Beckley that started selling the very first Hondas and Datsuns (now Nisson) imported to this country.

I really do appreciate the other comments on this subject left thus far and hold for others as I'm attempting to piece together the entire Hinton area car dealership environment from the 50s through the 60s.

When my grandfather Garten got out of the car business he sold the franchise to another company that ran it for a few more years but then a few years back the dealership closed and actually burned to the ground.

A memory of Holstein Chevrolet (thanks to the poster here for helping me recall the name of that dealership) brought back a memory of seeing a Corvette sitting on the small showroom floor there (perhaps this would have been around 1962 or 1963) and being amazed that the speedometer went to 140 mph.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#8 Dec 4, 2010
And I had forgotten, too, Hallorans Olds and Gum Buick. The reality is that at one time, auto dealerships thrived in Hinton. The economics of automobile sales however dictated that dealerships move to larger communities and to, now, auto malls
For those of you who are real car guys and car gals I would refer you to my automotive friend's latest book: John Heitmann, The Automobile and American Life (McFarland, 2009). In that book there are photographs of Garten Motors as well as a brief narrative about life at that particular dealership.
Does anyone remember the place down on Summers Street that specialized in "recapping" tires? No one today recaps their tires (except a few truckers) but back then many people had their tires recapped.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#9 Dec 4, 2010
Thank you for recalling the H & N name that replaced Garten Motors. You are correct, after a few years H & N was bought by Garten Motors of Covington, Virginia. That clan of Gartens is totally unrelated to my clan but in my automotive collection I do have a license plate that says: "Garten Motors -- Covington, VA" on it.
PIPESTEM BOY 1942

AOL

#10 Dec 4, 2010
You may recall the little yellow house on Main Street directly across from Carlos Garten's dealership.That was my grandmother Ada Thompson Garten's home for a long time.I loved sitting on her front porch and watching them unload new Fords and Mercurys at Garten Motors. I would walk across the street too and look at the new car lineup there at the front side of the dealership and walk around to the back side where they kept the used vehicles. I spen many happy hours at that house with my grandparents.........
PIPESTEM BOY 1942

AOL

#11 Dec 4, 2010
Wasn't the tire recapping business on Summers Street Lilly Tire Shop? It was at the corner of Summers and Third Avenue as I recall......
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#12 Dec 4, 2010
Yes, Pipestem Boy, I do recall the house you mention very well. Also either beside that house or one or two down was the Black photographer in town who took wonderful portraits of families and individuals. My mother had him take my photo and my sister each year on our birthdays.
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1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#14 Dec 4, 2010
Ah, my memory is going at the age of almost 63 but the African-American professional photographer who lived right across the street from Garten Motors was Mr. Conway and his first name was "St. Elmo" He was St. Elmo Conway -- a lovable and very big fellow he was who took outstanding photographs. He lived with his elderly mother and I learned a few years back that prior to his own death he had moved to Texas to live with a sister.
PIPESTEM BOY 1942

AOL

#15 Dec 4, 2010
Yes I believe the photographer you speak of was a fellow by the name of Conway perhaps.My grsndmother rented the yellow house from Mrs Conway,his mother and they lived together a couple of doors away going toward O R Grimmett Motors,etc..........
Crockett

Thurmond, WV

#16 Dec 4, 2010
1948eddiegarten, If you get in touch with the Lady that runs the quilting shop in Hinton on 4th Ave. and Temple St. her dad is the one that ran Lilly's Tire shop. There was also another tire shop called Bluestone Tires. Also on Temple Street there was a Hudson Dealership. Don't know which Garten you are but I knew Johnny Garten really well back in the 50's and he was a policeman in Lewisburg for a long time. I went to Garten Ford many times as a kid and looked at the new cars. I remember Jr. Fleshman, the blue 56 Ford Crown Vicky he had. Later on I bought the 64 Ranchero that Damymon Williams had.
PIPESTEM BOY 1942

AOL

#17 Dec 4, 2010
LOL LOL you beat me to it but I see now that you remember his name and they were indeed wonderful,loving,caring people who were so good to my grandparents........
PIPESTEM BOY 1942

AOL

#18 Dec 4, 2010
And let us not forget Allen's Garage directly in back of O R Grimmett Motors. Allen's was on Pleasant Street and they sold Chryslers and Plymouths..........and I believe somewhere in the late 1970's or early 1980's there was Bluestone Motors on Stokes Drive not far from the Pizza Hut. As I recall they did not last too awfully long and sold GM cars as I recall.Am I correct? Help me out here guys LOL LOL
Tom

Beckley, WV

#19 Dec 4, 2010
Please post some photos. I would love to see them!
1948eddiegarten wrote:
Hello, I grew up just outside of Hinton (Hilldale) but my grandfather, C.B. Garten, owned and operated Garten Motors Ford in Avis from 1946 until the early 1960s when he retired to Florida. I have many fond memories of the dealership, sitting in the new cars as a kid, and also some spooky memories as I would love to go behind the dealership where the wreaker would pull cars that had been in horrible accidents.
Anyone on this forum who remembers the Ford/Mercury dealership and might share memories or observations? I have a great many photos of the dealership taken during the early to mid 1950s. Grandfather Garten was a great civil leader and sponsored many community events, played Santa during the annual Christmas Parade for many years, and served as Summers County Sheriff for one term.
I am also interested in learning whether anyone on this forum can share memories about the various other car dealerships in Hinton during this period. I recall Grimmett's of course, and there was a Chevy dealer right downtown plus a Pontiac dealer in town as well. Abe Abshire sold Jeep products over near Jumping Branch as I recall and also in Avis was a small AMC dealer for a short time.
As an automotive historian I am currently writing a book on small town car dealerships in the 1950s and would appreciate any Hinton memories folks on this board may have to share.
Thanks.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#20 Dec 4, 2010
Hello Crockett, yes Johnny Garten was my father. He passed away about eight years ago now. He and my mother divorced when I was around nine years old and he later moved to Lewisburg, remarried, and was a city cop there until he retired. Only a few weeks before my father "abandoned" me and my mother and sister he brought home a 1956 Ford Vicky in white and pink and I remember sitting behind the wheel of that beautiful car. But I never saw my father Johnny again for 30 years. My mother always clained he ran off with some whore (and he probably did). Johnny reappeared in my life when my wife and I were living in Tennessee where I was a university professor back in the early 1980s. He called up one night and said "this is your father, I understand I have a grandson." My only child had recently been born. We invited Johnny to travel from Lewisburg to where we lived in Tennessee and he did. We reunited and that was a wonderful thing but he rarely had much to say even though we visited him a couple of times a year in Lewisburg until he passed away.

I didn't know there was a Hudson dealership in town and that is good to know. I really wish I could find more information on that one since my first car was a Hudson and I often do collector car show judging where Hudsons are on display. I suspect the dealership had a short life span however. Thanks for the great information.

I also knew Junior Fleshman as a kid.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#21 Dec 4, 2010
Crockett, just a follow-up but Damon Williams was my uncle. Damon was married to Dorothy Garten (Carlos' daughter). Damon was "chief" car salesperson at Garten Motors and he is mentioned in the book that I refered folks to on this blog.
Damon's son was R. D. Williams and he's my first cousin. R. D. is retired and lives in Florida and my wife and I visited him a few years back. R. D. actually gave me some artifacts and memoriabilia from Garten Motors Ford. Magee Garten was my uncle and was C. B.'s other son (besides my father Johnny). Magee was Vice-President of Garten Motors but eventually left the dealership and moved his family to Florida where he had a long career as a high school science teacher. Magee, prior to his death, gave me some things from Garten Motors Ford including the first "badge" that was attached to the first Ford that the dealership sold in 1946.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#22 Dec 4, 2010
Ah, thanks again, I had forgotten about Allen Motors that sold Chrysler/Plymouth. But Grimmett only sold Dodge then? Didn't Allen Motors eventually quit selling Chrysler products and then sold AMC vehicles?

Truly Hinton was blessed with a huge number of dealerships of all makes but this was not unusual for the 1950s and early 60s when one saw this all over the United States. Car dealers were often the "glue" of the community and contributed funds to support worthy civic causes, little league softball teams, projects for the needy, etc.
1948eddiegarten

West Chester, OH

#23 Dec 4, 2010
Tom, can one post photos on this forum? If so, how?
I am totally new to this forum having discovered it only last evening.

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