Artifact of the Month

Western Electric Telephone
Donated by Karen Cordell


Western Electric Hanging Handset TelephoneThis Western Electric Hanging Handset Model 201 telephone comes from Penrod's Café in downtown Springdale. Model 201 was first introduced in 1928.

In the 1920s, Jack Penrod and his wife, Henry, opened Penrod's Café on Emma Avenue. A. C. "Doogie" DeWese owned the café in the 1930s, and Hal and Lofton Brogdon bought Penrod's from DeWese in the early 1940s. Hal Brogdon was responsible for saving this old telephone.

Penrod’s telephone number was 310 in the 1930s and 3421 in the 1940s. By 1949, Penrod's had gone back to a three digit number, 507.

Springdale businessman Sandy Boone bought Penrod's Café in the 1950s, remodeled it, and renamed it the Hitchin’ Post.

In his book, Emma, We Love You, local historian Bruce Vaughan wrote this about Penrod's:

"Penrod's Cafe, without question, was one of Springdale's most loved institutions. . . .

"The restaurant opened before 7:00 a.m. and remained open until well after 9:00 p.m. The breakfast rush was over by 9:00. Then tables and booths filled quickly with businessmen and workers from the downtown area. The Wurlizter jukebox and pinball machines became quiet for awhile, as conversation, and sometimes heated arguments, dominated the dining room. Sports and politics were favored topics, but often a group surrounding a table mioght be found discussing automobiles, aviation, religion, or even the latest movie with Betty Grable or Lana Turner, then playing at the Concord. . . .

"The plate lunch crowd started arriving as soon as the coffee drinkers left. In 1946, a plate lunch cost from forty to sixty cents. A steak and French fries would set you back seventy-five cents. Coffee and Cokes went from five to ten cents very soon after the war. Sandwiches cost from fifteen cents to a quarter.

"Afternoons, there was a short lull in business from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. From 2:30 till 3:15, downtown business personnel came in for an afternoon break; tehy knew it was then or never. As soon as school turned out at 3:15, there was standing room only.

Penrod's Cafe, 1930sPenrod's Cafe, circa 1935. Springdale businessman Joe Steele is seated at the front table, left; A. C. "Doogie" DeWese rests his arm on the counter. The arched doorway in the rear is the entrance to the pool room. Ralph Crumpacker Collection (S-88-16-9)

"The noise level increased when the high school crowd arrived. Bubbles arose in a never-ending stream through the colored plastic tubing of the Wurlitzer jukebox. . . .

"The school crowd started drifting out, heading for home, about 5:00. Their vacated tables and booths were occupied immediately by the dinner crowd. Salesmen, couples on a date, families having a meal out, businessmen entertaining prospects—everyone ate at Penrod's.

"Two pool tables in the back room were always in use, it seemed. Sometimes you had to wait more than an hour to get one of the tables. . . ."

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