The city has really done a wonderful job transforming several blocks of South Main into the South Main Arts District. New galleries and shops blend in nicely with landmarks like Earnestine & Hazel’s and the Arcade. And in those few places where buildings have been demolished — or just tumbled down from age — somebody has filled in the gaps with painted plywood panels, such as the one you see here.
Now, a few years ago one of those panels, on the west side of the street about a block north of G.E. Calhoun, began to decay a bit, and it reached a point where you could look below it and see a deep hole completely overgrown with weeds — all that remained of the cellar of a once-thriving establishment. And look! Just inside the former doorway, spelled out in old mosaic tiles, is the name of the company: MID SOUTH ... and that’s all you can read.
So naturally, somebody who had noticed these letters eventually decided to “Ask Vance” what the company called “Mid-South” used to be.
And I have to admit, I just don't know. I thought it would be a simple task to look through old city directories, focusing of course on this particular block of South Main over the years, until I turned up the full name for the company. But this I couldn’t do. Year by year, I scrutinized the listings, and year by year, no company named “Mid-South” turned up on South Main.
So, I’m stumped. And I don’t like feeling this way. It makes me cranky, jittery, and headachy. So if somebody wants to go to the time and trouble to research this better than I have, then I give you permission to do so.
The opening you see above, and the doorway close to it, have been sealed up, by the way, to keep curious people from stepping through and tumbling down into that old cellar.