By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Herman Cherry has been in Madison for the majority of his life; and since he is in his 80’s, that is no small task. Some may recognize him as the kindly older man sitting at Burger King; others may remember him as the former Chief of Police, and both of these would be right.
Cherry has many memories of Madison. He remembers when Hwy 90 became a four-lane road in the 60’s. He also remembers when the gas pipeline ran through Madison. The pipeline brought gas from Texas to Jacksonville and rumor reported that it could fill one ship every five hours. The pumping station for the pipeline was located on Tommy Greene’s dad’s land.
He recalls there being seven car dealerships in Madison, and that one of the Ford dealerships was located next to Swan’s Theater. The Swan Theater was located in what is now the Mail Room. He also remembers the Woodard Theater.
There were several coffee shops in Madison back in those days. He recalls Pep’s Café selling the best hamburger in town. The cost of a hotdog back then was a nickel, a coke was also a nickel and a hamburger was a dime. He also remembers a coffee shop owned by Frank Littleton.
He remembers when the building that now holds the Courthouse Annex sold shade tobacco. The City Hall and Fire Station were located next to where the Police Station sits now. They moved to their current building in the 70’s. And the building that City Hall is now in used to be a Well’s Furniture Store.
Cherry also can remember when Beggs Funeral Home used to be T.J. Begg’s Dry Goods Store. What was odd about this was that the building was also still the funeral home. The front of the building was the dry goods store, the back and upstairs were the funeral home.
Cherry’s home life was not simply farming and tilling soil. His dad owned a chicken farm. The fact that Cherry spent his entire childhood around chickens has led him to a not so surprising stance against the birds. Herman Cherry doesn’t eat chicken anymore.
Many people will also recognize Herman Cherry as a former Chief of Police in Madison. Cherry began working for the city police in the 1950’s. He served as Chief of Police until 1975. In 1975, he moved to Jacksonville for five years before returning to Madison.
Anyone interested in being interviewed for this article can call 973-4141 and make an appointment with Kristin Finney, or may drop by Greene Publishing, Inc. any day before noon. Those interviewed must have lived in Madison for a large portion of their life, and be able to recall a few things that have changed since that time.