It was a social gathering place for the community. People would come and sit around the black stove in the store and tell stories, some true, some that might not be completely true. People came from all over the surrounding country-side to buy overalls. Many older people in the community remember going with their parents and getting a five cent candy bar in the country store.
The Langford Store was a landmark in the Plainview area of Jackson County for years. Last week, it was moved from its original location next to the historic Holly Springs Methodist Church to the Heritage Village at Hurricane Shoals Park where the Tumbling Waters Society plans to restore it.
Carol Anglin, whose father, Hoyt, and uncle, Dick, operated the country store for years, has many wonderful memories of the time when the Langford Store was a vital part of the community.
Her father and uncle bought the store as a foreclosure from Carter Grocery Company in Gainesville in 1936. They lived as bachelors in the house that she lives in now. They both married and started having kids while living in the house.
“When Dick had four children upstairs and Daddy had three kids downstairs, they decided it was time to split so Daddy took the store and this house and Dick took the farm across the road,” Anglin recalls. “That was when it became H. A. Langford General MDSE. All of that was before my time. I do sleep now in the bedroom I was born in. Dr. Stovall delivered all of us at home. He charged $25 for the first two and $35 for the last two.”
She shares that she has so many memories of the store but the best ones are that it was such a “social place” for the community.
“I remember lunchtime at the store, and people working in the area like EMC men, would come in for lunch, of hoop cheese, Vienna sausages, and Jack's cookies kept in a huge jar on the counter,” she said. “On Saturday afternoon and night, the men would gather at the store and get a haircut, from Daddy's brother, and occasionally a man they called Banjo, came and played. Of course, no girls allowed. People also came from all over to use the phone. At that time, not everyone had phones. The men also had a ball team centered around the store, and practiced in the field across the road and met there to go to the games. They played teams like Brockton in the surrounding area.”
She also recalls that her Daddy always gave each child that came in (and at church) a piece of bubble gum. He always closed the store on Sunday, but sometimes people with emergencies would come and blow their horn, and he would open up for them.
She also remembers that there was a huge bell in the yard next to the store, and it's only purpose was to alert the community in case of an emergency and the men were working in the fields or the Gin would come running to put out a fire.
“I could go on and on, but I think the highlight of my memories, again, is that it was the center of the community, and where people met, and communicated as friends and neighbors,” she says.
The store was in operation until 1991. It will now be restored and visitors to Heritage Village can see how a general store operated. Heritage Village features a church, school house and other historic buildings from the area.