The Big Red Store has many claims to fame. When opened, it was hailed as the largest country store in the world. It's been called the world's first mall, claimed to have the fanciest soda fountain in the south (still there), and is a mile away from where a Civil War skirmish involving Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest took place.
The store was renovated and reopened in 2006 and now houses a museum containing many original items; other items have been donated.
|The Big Red Store in Appleton, Tenn.|
|A quilt block mural on the side of the building designates The Big Red Store as a stop on the Applachian Quilt Trail.|
You won't find Appleton on most maps. Located between Pulaski, Tenn., and Florence, Ala., it is deep in the heart of a valley and almost completely hidden from civilization.
In its heyday, Appleton was known as Pinhook. It you're interested in learning more about the area and its rich history, the Hendrix family genealogy page has a very interesting article.
My grandmother and great-grandmother traveled to Pinhook to buy their "finery" back in the early 1900s (according to family legend). There, they chose their hats, fancy fabric to be sewn into Sunday dresses and shoes.
One of the ladies I spoke with there, a descendant of one of the early Appleton families and knowledgeable of the area's history, said that each spring a hat maker came to Pinhook from Nashville to custom make hats for lady customers.
|Looking down from the second level of the store.|
|Shelves are original to the store|
|There are many donated items from the past.|
|A miniature of a nearby house in the community.|
|An old photograph of the store.|
|Among the old papers is a Cotton Gin Record Book.|
|Caskets were made on the premises.|
|An old calendar.|
|A nearby sign indicated a pharmacist who worked on the premises napped on this beautiful antique bed.|
|This pooch is traveling in style in a baby stroller, outfitted with food and water bowls.|
|Watermelons for sale.|
|An old barn located nearby.|