The year 2014 has not been kind to downtown Murray, Kentucky. It started off very promising with Murray being named the number one place to live in the entire state by real estate blog Movoto. Movoto stated that Murray “sounds like something straight out of a storybook,” and listed historic downtown as one of its finest attractions. However, less than one month later, a disaster occurred that would set off a chain of events wreaking havoc on the economy and business community of our beautiful town.
After two collapses and a devastating fire, the downtown is trying to pick up the pieces. The businesses who call downtown home are working hard to keep their doors open amidst the uncertainty of what the future brings for downtown. These businesses are locally owned businesses. The owners are your friends, your business colleagues, parents of your children’s friends, your church family. We want you to know who they are!
So begins the ‘I am downtown’ campaign! It’s time to put a face with the name. It’s time to meet your downtown merchants and business owners.
We kick off the campaign with Mayor Bill Wells, a long time supporter and friend to Murray Main Street.
Remember, shop local. It keeps your dollars in Murray.
Win cash prizes for first, second and third place at Murray Main Street’s Trivia Night. Call MMS at 270-759-9474 to sign up for a table or email email@example.com. Teams consist of 8 people, which is just $20 per person. In addition to cash prizes for the winners, there’s a chance to win money during the bonus rounds, and door prizes are given away after each round. A cash bar and heavy appetizers will be on hand. Join us!
Murray Main Street’s annual historic publication is now available. It includes many fascinating stories from the past 100 years. An excerpt of the publication is below. For the full text, pick up a copy at Murray Main Street, 201 S. 4th St. or call 270.759.9474.
Dr. Dan Miller’s memories of the court square as a child
The mummified body A few summer oddities (shows) that came to town are fondly remembered. Families use to come to town, park on the square and pay ten to twenty-five cents to see the shows.
One of these shows is the visit of Marie O’Day. This lady was brutally murdered by having her throat cut and thrown into the Great Salt Lake. When her body was found, she had been preserved or mummified. A traveling RV brought her to town and people would pay to view her mummified body.
World’s Fattest Man One summer, you could visit the court square and pay ten cents to see the World’s Fattest Man. The man had a baby-face, a few whiskers, flesh everywhere and he was sitting in a chair eating an ice cream cone and reading a comic book. He weighed 610 pounds. When an attendant was asked if all he did was sit there, the attendant replied, “What do you expect for ten cents?”
Creative sentencing As far as judicial proceedings go, Robert O. Miller was the county judge for many years. He prided himself on being fair and making sure the penalty matched the crime. Since judges had more leeway than they do now, it was easier to be creative with the penalty.
In the 1960s, a college boy and his friends were driving up and down Main Street and ‘mooning’ people at the DQ. The friends got pulled over and a police officer arrested them. The young men called the officer a “pig.” The next week they went before Judge Miller, where the boys admitted to calling the officer a pig. Judge Miller sentenced them to spend a July or August day, the hottest day the jailer could pick, to sit out at a pig pen all day so they could learn the difference between a police officer and a pig.
For more stories like these, pick up Celebrating 100 Years: Calloway County Courthouse at 201 S. 4th St.
We are slowly moving to the European standard – we are eating dinner later and later and we are shopping later and later. This is why retailers and malls in the 70s closed at 6:00 pm and were only open 12 – 5 on Sundays, but now are open until at least 9:00 pm seven days a week.
Every successful retail mall, every lifestyle retail center (now replacing many downtowns) is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 or 10:00 pm seven days a week.
This is why downtowns are dying at an alarming rate.
Downtowns are transforming into evening hour destinations. Dining, entertainment, cultural arts, special events. The days of buying socks and underwear downtown are, for the most part, over.
Why is it that EVERY SINGLE national retailer stays open late into the evening hours? Walmart, Sears, BassPro Shops, Scheels, FredMeyer (out west), Lowe’s, Home Depot, Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, Safeway, Raley’s, Ace Hardware stores, etc., etc., etc. They do it for ONE big reason: During the day people are at work or are at school. When they are OFF work, downtown is closed. So they head to WalMart or to places that are open.
Visitors, during the day, are in Disney World, or are out fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, playing golf, etc. They spend their money at the end of the day – are you open? So this applies to both visitors and local residents as well.
Murray Main Street’s Annual Dinner will look a little different for 2013. Rather than the usual sit down dinner with a speaker and silent auction, the meeting will take place outdoors at the Higgins House. Join us for a casual cook-out atmosphere with spooky stories, beer and delicious food.