The Barber Shop
Now almost a thing of the past is that bastion of masculinity – the barber shop. In 1899, there were six barber shops listed in the City Directory. That figure increased to nine in 1907, but was reduced to eight in 1921. In the following years the number of listed barber shops rose to 17 in 1940 and dropped down to seven in 1961. The current yellow pages have no less than 68 listings under “barber shops”, most of which are out of Salisburyand listed as “salons” or “stylists”, certainly not barber shops.
The barber shop of bygone times offered shaves as well as haircuts. Many had a rack on the wall that kept individual mugs of shaving cream for the various customers. A shave from a barber cannot be had today, due to the current health laws. They have had to add certain amenities to their product line that may include a hair washing or “facial” just to make ends meet.
Every man has memories of his first trip to the barber shop. Mine were of Johnnie’s down on Church Street near what is now Route 13. I think he had another shop farther east on Church Street on the corner of Railroad Avenue. My mother told me this, but I don’t remember it being there. He then moved west on Church Street in a long narrow shop. There were chairs on either side leading up to the single barber chair manned by Johnnie Adkins. He also had a fake parrot in a cage that always fascinated me. He then moved to a house just a couple of addresses west. The one farther west on Church Street is still visible and the stone addition on the front of a white frame house is all that remains of Johnnie Adkins barber shop. Somewhere during this period, my mother entrusted me alone in the barber shop. She would walk down Church Street to Kelly’s Drug Store and wait for me there, which I always looked forward to because it meant a “soda fountain” soda.
I grew up in the “crew-cut” era and always had a stick of the red goop that made your hair stand up in front. I think they called it butch wax. The barber shop of choice was Krause & Taylor’s on N. Division Street. The price of a good butch cut went from 25 to 50 cents during this era. Of course, there was always the barber school located on S. Division Street. They charged 35 cents for a so-so haircut.
When longer hair became the style men, the local barber shops offered “hair-styling” for about seven dollars. I worked on the Plaza for Ralph & Gaskill at the time and all the young people on Main Street knew each other. It seemed that what barbers liked to refer to as styling, the beauty parlor at Benjamin’s considered a short cut. Since it was only three dollars, I never felt any embarrassment going there.
Another thing that has disappeared through the years is the Daisy & Bozman Barber Supply Store. They used to make their own after shave and my favorite was something called Bonita Bouquet. It only cost two dollars for a 16 ounce bottle. It also worked in your cigarette lighter and gave off a wonderful aroma. Ah, memories!