Saturday, May 31, 1958, high noon in downtown Summerville. A parade begins as part of Rodeo Festival Days. It's a celebration of the big rodeo to be held later that afternoon and the next day at a new arena just north of the Penn Drive-In on Highway 27.
The parade marches past the Amoco station, Esserman's, the Tooga, and Jackson's. Hundreds line Commerce Street.
Several spectators enjoy the cooling shade of the courthouse trees, not to mention an ice-cold "Co-Cola" from the chuck wagon nearby.
A little black girl keeps her distance...
...but nobody enjoys parades more than children.
A few clever cowboys have climbed atop Loop Furniture for the best view in town. Everyone was encouraged to wear a cowboy hat. Did they buy theirs from Lowry's Department Store? A future baby boom mom strolls in front of Farmers & Merchants Bank.
The mayor and his posse ride in a Ford convertible.
Meanwhile, curiosity overcomes the little black girl. She walks closer to the crowd.
This young cowboy forgot his ten-gallon hat.
Loop Furniture's delivery truck makes a good vantage point.
The Jaycees ride ahead of Chattanooga's favorite TV cowpoke, Bob Brandy, astride the Plymouth, guitar in hand. Where's his horse, Rebel?
The Summerville High School Marching Band and Majorettes add to the festive atmosphere.
The little black girl stands unnoticed between two cars. Perhaps she'll attend the rodeo and, late one night, dream of riding a mighty horse along a small town boulevard, watching smiling faces on both sides, band music playing in the distance.
The first photograph, made in color, was taken by Steve Edwards.
All black and white photographs were scanned and cropped from four medium format negatives taken by photographer Sheeny White. A similar photograph appeared the following week in the Summerville News. One of the uncropped photographs was used as the cover for the book, Images of America: Chattooga County.
Color photograph courtesy of Steve Edwards.
Black and white photographs courtesy of Gene Espy.
Copyright 2011 Greg W. McCollum. All rights reserved.