I received a telephone call Wednesday, August 31. The caller urged me to go take a last photo of a Jellico establishment that had stood for decades. The old Jellico Ford building was being demolished.
I drove my old Ford F-150 to the lot where it was purchased years ago, now the home of a brand new, recently completed, state-of-the-art Jellico Housing Authority office complex. The actual old dealership building was just adjacent to the new sturcture where several pieces of machinery were taking it down at a fast pace. A trackhoe made short work of the main structure while skid steer loaders and dump trucks did their due.
Being a lifelong Jellico resident I recalled in my mind the auto dealers that had filled the building over the years, most of them long since departed. I recalled pining over many shiny new Fords as a teenager on the surrounding lots. Many driving dreams were fulfilled at the facility down through the years. The dealership had been vacant for a few years, something not uncommon after the country entered the so called "Great Recession." Many small towns across America saw their local dealerships meet a similar fate. I'd reckon it's just a sign of the times we live in.
The demolition brought a flurry of comments from passers by. Some were sad. Some were glad. Some were melancholy. Some saw great progress. I saw the vision of a town's past when folks came from all over to buy a new vehicle at Jellico Ford. I actually thought, although I don't believe in spirits and such, that if I looked close enough in the dust venting into the atmosphere from the demoliton, that I might see the ghosts of some of those old-time auto dealers leave the building for the very last time.