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JIM: Chelf Motor Co. became Columbia Motor Co - Aug 1928

While this story is primarily about the change of ownership of the local Chevrolet Dealership from The Chelf Motor Company to The Columbia Motor Company, it also relates the the lineage of Columbia's funeral homes and to Coomer's Store, as well.
Related photo of the building where The Chelf Motor Company, The Columbia Motor Company, Coomer's Store, now a part of Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home is located: Coomer's Store - How many years ago?

By JIM

In late May 1928, the Adair County News reported that Mrs. J.F. Patteson (nee Bess Coffey) was having a garage building erected "on her lot between the County Jail and Grissom & Patteson's Undertaking Establishment." The article referred to the edifice, already well under construction, as "a modern concrete structure with a fancy brick front" that would be "complete in every detail."


No additional mention found its way into the paper until the latter part of August, when the News revealed the Greensburg Street project was nearing completion. The article gave a few more particulars, saying the structure was "a concrete building with a handsome brick face having spacious show rooms in front and large storage and work rooms in the rear and basement" and concluded by naming the first occupant as Chelf Motor Company, the local Chevrolet dealership.

However, just two or three days after the above announcement appeared and before the move occurred, Mr. L.R. Chelf sold his interest in the operation to Paul Johnson of Coburg. Mr. Johnson and co-owners D.O. Eubank and M.B. Bunnell immediately changed the company name to Columbia Motor Company. In reporting this in the September 4, 1928 edition, the News stated that Mr. Martin Johnson, "an excellent mechanic with years of experience," would work there and represent his brother Paul. Additionally, two other experienced mechanics, Mont Darnell and Robert Riall, would remain with the company through the changeover in ownership and location.

Moving day was designated as Thursday, September 5th and the doors of the newly-named Columbia Motor Company opened on Friday for inspection by the public. (An image of the opening day announcement appears elsewhere.)

Columbia Motor remained in the Patteson building on Greensburg Street for almost twenty-nine years before moving to new digs on Campbellsville Street sometime between early March 1957 and the end of June that year. The last ad with the Greensburg Street address appeared in March 6 edition of the paper; the June 26th edition carried the first ad with the Campbellsville Street location.


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When Chelf Motor Co. became Columbia Motor Co. - Aug 1928



2018-02-08 - South one third of 210 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of JIM.
There's a lot of information in the accompanying story, when L.R. Chelf sold his Columbia Chevrolet dealership and The Columbia Motor Company became the local Chevrolet dealer, which remained in the location until the dealership was moved to the former Overstreet & Rice in the 300 block of Greensburg Street. The building closer to town was occupied for most of the next two decades by Coomer's Store, now a part of Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home. And interesting note, in 1928, the funeral home was Grissom & Patteson. The Grissom part of the partnership is now located at 200 Campbellsville Street and is Grissom-Martin Funeral Home. The Patteson lineage continues today at Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home in the 210 Greensburg Street building.

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Chelf Motor Company direct mail in 1927



2018-02-08 - Columbia, KY - Photo from family collection .
This card from Mitzi McKinley Bault's family collection would have come down the line from her Grandmother Audrey Chelf Waggener. It reads, "Merry Christmas -- Two hundred years of usage have not out-worn our greetings, for our hearts are back of it when we say we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. CHELF MOTOR CO." The postmark looks to be December 23, 1927 and it required a 2-cent stamp to mail.

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David Heskamp/Columbia Motor Co. Business Card - 1928



2018-02-09 - Columbia Motor Co., 210 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of Ann Heskamp Curtis.
After reading Jim's history of the Columbia Motor Company, I was reminded of a few items that my father kept from his days at Columbia Motor Co. He would have been around 21 years old when he started working there with his Coburg cousins, Paul and Martin Johnson. - Ann Heskamp Curtis

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Columbia Motor Co. Christmas Card - 1931



2018-02-09 - Columbia Motor Co., 210 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of Ann Heskamp Curtis.
Ann Heskamp Curtis writes, "This Christmas card was dated 1931...mailed to Mr. Ben Heskamp, Coburg, Ky." She sent the card after reading Jim's History of the Columbia Motor Company.

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Columbia Motor Co. David Heskamp insert, 1928



2018-02-09 - 210 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of Ann Heskamp Curtis.
This insert was mailed December, 1928...by David Heskamp, from Columbia Motor Co., successor to Chelf Motor Company.

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Columbia Motor Co. David Heskamp Christmas Card, 1928



2018-02-09 - Columbia Motor Co., 210 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of Ann Heskamp Curtis.
This Christmas Card was mailed December, 1928...by David Heskamp, from Columbia Motor Co., successor to Chelf Motor Company.

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