Dimes, from Alan Millhone

May 29, 2008 |

Alan Millhone"Mister can you spare a dime" was a song during the Great Depression. I was chatting with my Mother this afternoon and we got to talking about the long ago torn down City Building in Parkersburg, W.Va. It was a stately structure and the restrooms were down a steep set of concrete steps in the basement. In the 50's we could catch the bus from Belpre to Parkersburg, but that trip cost a dime each and we would simply walk the bridge instead (map).

In the basement of the City Building were the toilet stalls, and on the doors were coin boxes and you had to pay a dime to use the toilet. Well in the 50's I was much younger and much smaller and I used to crawl under one of the doors and unlock the toilet for Mother and myself to use. It would be nice to have one of those coin operated doors in our museum now, but all are long gone to some landfill.

Next door to the city building was a S.S. Kresge and I remember their nice lunch counter and they also had two coin operated toilets in the back of the store. Kresges is long gone too, as are most of the downtown businesses. The Mall ended the downtown shopping.

At that time most dimes in ordinary use were Mercury Dimes and contained 90% Silver. Those days are long gone as well.





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2 Comments so far

  1. steve leslie on May 29, 2008 10:49 pm

    Speaking of dimes: Who was the wealthiest man in the U.S. ever? That depends on who you speak to and what parameters you use. Some will say Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Ferdinand Marcos, Saddam Hussein, The Shah of Iran, Sam Walton, the Royal Saudi family, Andrew Carnegie, Mellon, Henry Ford, Vanderbilt. Based on GDP, many will say John D. Rockefeller. I recall that there was a time when John D. Rockefeller was worth 8.5% of the GDP of the United States of America. Think about it, that is a lot of money. He was a billionaire when a billion  was an unthinkable sum and he probably paid very little in taxes. John Rockefeller was known for handing out dimes to children who followed him around. Now Bill Gates has a foundation of 24 Billion Dollars and growing , Warren Buffett is going to give most of his money to a Foundation upon his death. Ted Turner is giving 100 million a year for ten years to the U.N. Yes, times have certainly changed.

  2. acetrader on May 30, 2008 1:30 pm

    I remember going to Kresge's in Joplin, Missouri as a child in the early 70s. I still remember that lunch counter. I always wanted to eat there but alas we were there to shop. Long before Super Target and Walmart came to town… or the Mall.


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