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Charles Curry - Williamsville

Charles Curry, the long-time owner of 'Curry's Market' in Williamsville, Illinois, reminisces about growing up in the Williamsville community during the Great Depression and World War II years. He began working in the town's downtown markets when he was eleven years old, and later owned Curry's Market from 1963 to 1979. His grocery store was the last of an era of small 'mom-and-pop' stores to inhabit downtown Williamsville. It closed up shop in 1979 with the advent of 24-hour, big-box, super-stores in larger cities nearby.

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Feature Excerpt

Life In Williamsville During the Depression

Abstract

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Photos

Caption

In the 1930s Patrick and Florence Laffey stand outside Laffey’s Café, located on the south side of Main Street. Laffey’s Café was their first establishment before they closed it down and opened Laffey’s Market across the street.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

Late 1930s

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Shirley Curry holds son Charles while her children Florence, Frances, and Albert stand next to her. The photo was taken circa 1937 at the family home in Lincoln, where they lived for a very short time.

Where:

Lincoln

When:

1937

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

The Curry family gathered for this photo, taken on Main Street west of Dr. Shearl’s home, which is in the background; Earl, Shirley, Charles, Albert, Florence, Frances and Carl. Shirley was pregnant with Gene at the time, who was born in October 1939.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1939

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles’s parents, Earl and Shirley (Fink) Curry, were married in 1926. This photo was taken in 1941 in front of Sutton’s Garage, off Route 66 at the north end of Williamsville. Charlie and Ruby (Crawford) Sutton owned and operated Sutton’s Garage.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1941

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Laffey’s Market in 1945, where Charles began working on Saturday mornings at around the age of 11 or 12. Owners Patrick and Florence Laffey are behind the counter. The store was located on the north side of Main Street, second building from the tracks.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1945

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Alfred Curry in the late 1940s during his junior high years. He began working in a Williamsville grocery store while in junior high.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

Late 1940s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A Curry family photo taken circa 1950 at their Jones Street home, which was located on the north side of Jones Street, between Walnut and Pine Streets; Frances, Albert, Shirley, Earl, Florence, and Charles with Carl and Gene sitting on the floor.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1950

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Alfred Curry’s senior picture. He graduated from Williamsville High School in 1954.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1954

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

The Williamsville High School’s graduating class of 1954 included nineteen students, including Charles and his brother Carl.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1954

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Charles Curry with wife Doris Eilene (Weidhuner) with their three year old daughter, Brenda in March, 1960. The photo was taken at the home of Fred and Lena Weidhuner, Doris’s parents, in tiny Fancy Prairie, four miles northwest of Williamsville.

Where:

Fancy Prairie

When:

1960

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles and Doris Curry with their three year old daughter, Brenda in 1960. The photo was taken at the home of Fred and Lena Weidhuner, Doris’ parents, in Fancy Prairie.

Where:

Fancy Prairie

When:

1960

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Doris, Brenda and Charles Curry had this photo taken with their new baby Allison while they visited the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in 1967.

Where:

Springfield

When:

1967

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles is enjoying taking a Sunday practice drives in a tiny Tin Lizzy with daughters Brenda and Allison in 1968. Charles belonged to the Logan County Shriners, and received his 50-year pin for being a Mason in the Riverton Lavely Lodge in 2015.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1968

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Curry’s Market in Williamsville, Illinois, which Charles owned and operated from 1960 to 1979. This photo was taken in the early 1970s.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

Early 1970s

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Doris and Charles Curry with children Brenda, Allison and Michael in 1975.

Where:

Springfield

When:

1975

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Charles Curry mans the check-out counter at Curry’s Market in 1977.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1977

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Curry is working at the meat counter at Curry’s Market in 1977.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1977

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Brenda with her father at Curry’s Market in 1977. Brenda grew up working alongside her dad until the business closed in 1979. Brenda went to the store with her dad at 6:30 AM, working until it was time for school. After graduating, she worked full time.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1977

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Curry butchers a section of beef for chuck roast and stew meat in his Williamsville store in 1978. Charles learned butchering while working for Hale and Wagner grocery businesses. Daughter Brenda still owns the butcher block shown in the photo.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1978

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

The Springfield State Journal Register announced the end of an era when Curry’s Market closed its doors in 1979.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

1979

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

This photo of Charles Curry was taken during the time he worked as a custodian at Williamsville Community School District from 1994 to 2002.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

c.1994-2002

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Curry married Peggy Haenig Alexander of Pleasant Plains, Illinois on September 20, 2000.

Where:

Pleasant Plains

When:

2000

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

The Curry siblings gathered for this 2008 photo in Springfield. From left to right are Gene, Frances Groth, Albert, Florence Yeadon and Charles. Brother Carl passed away at the age of 19, in 1956, of leukemia.

Where:

Springfield

When:

2008

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at his 75th birthday party, held at the Williamsville Community Center in November, 2009.

Where:

Williamsville

When:

2009

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Charles Curry with his children, Brenda, Allison and Michael. The photo was taken in daughter Allison’s back yard in Omaha, Nebraska in 2016.

Where:

Omaha, Nebraska

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo



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