Home News Vision Historically Speaking: Roswell’s early businesses, part 2

Historically Speaking: Roswell’s early businesses, part 2

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Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives The caption reads, "Main Street scene, Roswell, New Mexico" — date unknown.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily Record

Having been a collector of old Roswell memorabilia for about 25 years now, there is something about the nostalgia of the hometown where one grew up. It’s fun to look back on what came before. The times, the businesses that were here before, and the glimpse it gives into what life was like then. The simpler times can be seen through the business ads.

In the second part, I highlight some of those early businesses, including the script of the promoters of those businesses, approximately 90 to 100 years ago.

These came from a 1930 Pecos Valley promotional flyer:

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ROSWELL BOTTLING WORKS

314 North Virginia

“The wide-awake little city of Roswell owes it’s strong vitality and great popularity to the enterprising active spirit of its business men and citizens, who are putting forth practical effort to aid its growth in every line of industry. Prominent among the number thus employed is G.G. Gilmore, proprietor of the Roswell Bottling Works. This is the pioneer bottling works of the Pecos Valley, having been established by Mr. Gilmore about 39 years ago when Roswell was a small village. The plant is provided with first class machinery and devoted to the manufacture of high-grade soda water of all flavors, also Gilmore’s grape and orange, and has the agency in this city for the famous Hagerman Mineral Water.

WARDROBE CLEANERS

211 West Second 

“Wardrobe cleaners has the reputation of turning out as fine quality of work as may be produced anywhere. Garments are called for and delivered to any part of the city, and they solicit your patronage with the assurance of ability to render satisfactory service at all times. The plant is in charge of master cleaners of wide experience and much of the success of the firm has been due to the quality of its work and service.

“This business is managed by Herbert C. Gray.

COURT HOUSE GARAGE

124 East Fourth Street

“With the widespread use of the automobile as a means of transportation, comes the simultaneous need for establishments for the upkeep and repair of these machines. One of the leaders in this line in Roswell is the Court House Garage, situated at 124 E. 4th St., opposite the Courthouse.

“One of the most prominent features of this firm’s business is the sale of the justly famous REO motor cars and REO Speedwagons. The REO is considered one of the best cars on the market and is noted for its long life, low cost of upkeep, riding and driving comfort and downright good looks. REO Speedwagons have also been on the market for many years and have always given the most positive satisfaction.

“The Court House Garage carries a general line of parts, tires, tubes, accessories, gasoline, motor oils, greases, etc., and maintains efficient repair and storage service. A specialty is made of intricate and difficult repair work on cars of all makes. They employee only mechanics of the highest ability and are affording a class of service which is equal to the best to be had anywhere. This business is housed in a stone building which is about 85 x 100 feet in size. Both day and night service is afforded, and their prices are always as low as consistent with the value of the service rendered.

THE CHOCOLATE SHOP

Main and Fourth Street

“The Chocolate Shop is located in attractive quarters at the corner of North Main and Fourth Street. It is provided with specially designed fixtures and completely stocked with fine candies, cigars, cigarettes, etc., and they also serve all kinds of refreshing fountain drinks, ice cream and frozen dainties, light lunches, sandwiches and coffee. The fountain in use is one of the largest and most up-to-date in the Southwest, and is presided over by a courteous and capable dispenser. The Chocolate Shop is a credit to its owners as well as to the city. They make a specialty of homemade candies of the highest possible class, and their products have few equals and no superiors on the market.

“It is owned by Nicholas Carles and George GeDanos, both of whom are expert candy makers and men of wide experience in this important line.

ROSWELL SEED COMPANY

115-119 South Main Street

“With a view to faithfully portraying the present development of the business interests of Roswell, we may be permitted to call attention to the character and magnitude of a few very representative concerns. In this connection it is fitting that we make mention of the Roswell Seed Company, the oldest and largest seed house in southeastern New Mexico.

“The Roswell Seed Company are dealers in reliable field and garden seeds of every description, also poultry, garden and orchard supplies, fertilizer, insecticide, spraying materials, garden tools, and vegetable plants in season.

“The quality of the seeds handled by the above has always been the best that money and experience could procure. This has been a big factor in their success and growth. Special attention is paid to mail orders, and they afford their patrons a service that is unusual in the smaller cities of the country. They also have a grocery department where they carry a general line of groceries, fruits, produce, etc. The company is one of the best known and most substantial enterprises in the Pecos Valley. The concern is composed of Walter Gill and E.F. Butler.”

The last business is still in operation today. What a blessing they have been to this city.

Janice Dunnahoo of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives can be reached at 575-622-1176 or at jdunna@hotmail.com.

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