Tag Archives: Wilkes County Hardware

Mr. EE Eller, Chickens and Turkeys… Nothing but Clucking, Gobbling, and Plucking out the Truth

Who is Mr. Eller you may ask???

He is the gentleman who built the current building that houses our hardware store in 2022. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.

Wilkes County Hardware in November 2022

To our best known facts, the building dates back to 1905. Mr. EE Eller was a premier poultry & produce dealer in North Wilkesboro. EE Eller Produce Co. was one of the largest turkey, and chicken wholesalers. EE Eller was a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was probably one of the first poultry processing plants in our town.

An artist rendering of Wilkes Hardware from several years ago

Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, and Alleghany Counties in order to collect the cash proceeds from their labor filled task.

Eller’s staff would process/sell their flock. Could you imagine the sight that it must have been??? All of the sudden the flock of turkeys appeared on the roads in Wilkes!!!! Men guiding them with corn along the way, flocks of turkeys gobbling, wobbling with wings flying everywhere!!!! I would imagine that the sight of this was pretty common in the early 1900’s in rural Wilkes County. I bet the turkeys never suspected any “fowl play” on their journey. The old newspaper article did say that one of the largest turkey drives that ever was processed by Mr. Eller was 1,500 turkeys in one drive!!!

Signage like this one marked the path for local farmers to EE Eller’s Produce House. Thanks to Jerry Dameron for sharing this photo collection with me.

Once a flock of turkeys arrived at EE Eller Produce, they were processed/ dressed for shipped via train. Our local train station was just down the street from our current store location. The train destinations were mostly in Northern states after leaving the North Wilkesboro station. According to local oral history, it is estimated that Mr. Eller processed at his height of business, 1 million chickens and turkeys!!!! Guess that was all “gravy” for him after that!!!!

I have written about the history of our store before but, new facts have come to light! Let’s “de-feather” this poultry truth!

To those loyal readers of my blog, this will be new information for you. All the “plucky” truth, as we know it… A few months back, we were lucky to have a few family members of Mr. Eller to drop in for a quick visit. Up high on the wall held 4 pictures of what we had thought were the past 4 owners of the building, but it was ultimately revealed that the charcoal drawing on the far left was not Mr. EE Eller.

Many of y’all know this was the Wall of Fame inside our hardware store… check the wall the next time you shop with us, it maybe a “feather” shorter than before
Who really knows who this guy could be??? The truth is that we did not find any visible clues inside the frame or even on the back of this old charcoal drawing

Further reading and research has revealed that Mr. Eller moved from the corner of 10th and D Street building to Forester Avenue in 1941 to a larger location. Wilkes Hardware moved into the 10th Street location sometime later on, I haven’t been able to determine a definite date yet but we know it was sometime in the 1940’s.

It was fascinating to “pluck out” the facts about the origins of this historic building we currently reside in each day. As time allows, I’ll continue to research more about the history of Wilkes Hardware and even Mr. Eller. For now, I think we have “gobbled up” a few new fascinating facts about our historic past.

Hope I “beaked” your interest a bit in our history but just “winging it” and wishing y’all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall is… A Mosaic of Everyday Beauty

The colors of Fall is distinctively different from any other season of the year. The Fall season is truly a mosaic of colors of the rainbow… green, gold, red, orange, & brown set against the bright blue sky.

Fall is… the joy of watching the trees turn colors over time

Our natural world which we have grown accustomed to during the summer, suddenly changes into a magical world of autumnal colors, happening almost overnight it seems. I’m sharing my favorite, everyday hardware life Fall photos with y’all today to celebrate the season of Fall using the caption of Fall is…

Fall is … Gorgeous sunrise and sunsets with beautiful golden hues showering the skies
Fall is… Picturesque views
Fall is… Enjoying the view from your own front window
Fall is…Trees showering with colors… red, yellow, and orange
Fall is… Leaves crunching at your feet as you walk
Did someone say leaves??? 🍁🍁🍁🍁Time to rake! 🍁🍁🍁🍁
My nephew used to say when the leaves fell in the fall, they were just making friends on the ground 🍁🍁🍁
Fall is… Finding pumpkins of all shapes & sizes
Fall is… Making all of your favorite apple recipes
Fall is… Brushy Mountain Apple Festival! Always the first Saturday in October
Fall is.. the beginning of festival & holiday season! We are so excited to be a small part of the new family friendly festival which will be hosted on Saturday October 29 4-8 pm
Fall is… Thanksgiving! Do I need to say more?? Yum!
Fall is… Getting ready for cooler nights by the fire pit
Wilkes County Hardware has got y’all covered for Fall logo gear. Stay warm with these sweatshirts or find a new long sleeve logo t-shirt to layer with for those cooler weather days of Fall🍁🍁🍁
Fall is … S’mores time
Fall is… Making your favorite soups, stews and comfort foods
Fall is… The perfect time to make a pan of cornbread
Fall is…Bringing the smells of fall inside as the weather cools down
Wilkes County Hardware has in stock Acorn Spice, Mum, and Apple Cider hand soaps to keep your favorite Fall scents inside your home.
Fall is… A great time to add some warm wood tones into your home decor
Fall is…A busy time for animals preparing for the upcoming winter season
Deer spray, & granular repellents are available at Wilkes County Hardware. For our bird lovers, we have new suet feeders & suet nuggets!
And of course, we have excellent choices for keeping the birds coming back to your feeders for the entire Fall season! No additives or fillers.
Fall is… Spotting the busy & maybe a bit of mischievous activity of critters along the Greenway
Fall is.. Stopping to just enjoy the scenery
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… Finding those spooky, foggy morning memories
Fall is… Preparing for the first frost
Fall is.. Predicting the first fire of the season in the old wood stove inside our hardware store
Fall is… A Mosaic to be enjoyed by us all. Fall is… simply enjoying your surroundings everyday.
🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Beginners Guide to Fall Lawn Care and The Art of “Mowology” 101

Living through a Southern Summer means consistently mowing the lawn is a necessity. I spent many summers on a riding mower going round and round until the yard was completely finished. Dad was usually busy completing the trimming around trees working the humming weed eater. Dad’s lawn always looked spectacular with the blades of grass all trimmed up, gleaming brightly in the warm summer sunshine.

Pool fun versus mowing the grass.. well there’s no debate on that one y’all 😂

The “art” mowing, or the phrase I’ll use today, “Mowology”, is not only your ability to keep up with mowing of the growing green grass AND the overall maintenance of the lawn. Let that sink in for a minute… that is a HUGE definition! Mowing & lawn maintenance requires a hunk of time on the homeowner part, just like that hunk of grass in your yard that has you currently stumped. You’re probably thinking to yourself… what on earth should I do next??? Weed control or pest control or should I just “kiss it up to heaven” and just let it go???

And we all know that keeping your lawn looking fabulous doesn’t come easily. It is hard work!!! Even as I write this, my dad still does ALL of his lawn maintenance. He just simply enjoys doing it. Dad would be in my book, “A Mowologist, at heart”. Why??? He is motivated to keep his lawn/yard looking great year round, he has the “heart” for an amazing lawn. Ultimately, don’t we all want that???

Cookie enjoys just sitting in the grass watching over her domain

Whether you are an active participant in your lawn care or not, it is good to know some basic details about what should be done and when, so your hard earned money is being utilized to the ultimate extent!

Put your hard earned money to use! Knowledge is powerful!

Now is an excellent time to walk your lawn to survey it to see how you wish to proceed for a beautiful lawn next spring… yes, y’all are reading that correctly.

Check the verbiage in the Almanac… it’s time to put emphasis on the lawn!

August and September are actually THE most important months for lawn care! For all of y’all who are excellent “mowologists” out there, be proactive and think ahead towards next spring. What should you be focusing on FIRST?? Continue to read below in order to find the BEST option available for your lawn this Fall.

The following information is a portion of my research based findings. Several of our customers have asked for help/questions in regards to lawn care for the Fall season. This is only a few helpful tips!

Option one:The Ultimate Mowologist”…. I’ve got this lawn under control & I’m looking ahead to Fall Y’all:

1. Apply Fertilizer. A little fertilization towards end of the brutal summer heat will give your lawn a boost going into Fall. Your lawn is tired and possibly even a little stressed. As a result, your lawn could use more nitrogen. Lawns that lack nitrogen may also be missing other two vital nutrients, such as phosphorus and potassium. Yes… y’all guessed it, these are the essential elements found in fertilizer.

This is a nitrogen rich product that would be an amazing additive to your lawn this Fall, sprinkle onto your lawn after aeration.
We also have basic fertilizer options

2. If you are just simply unsure to fertilize or not??? Stop by and pick up a soil test. Your lawn will go dormant with or without fertilizer as temperatures begin to cool down. By adding a boost of fertilizer, you can have a much more lush, vibrant yard come springtime.

Soil test can take the guess work out of your lawn care

3. Aerate – It is time to aerate lawns that are subject to heavy traffic or grown on clay soils. Yes, that is definitely us!!! Clay soil in the NC Foothills are a definite standard. Soil plugs should be broken up and scatter these plugs back into the lawn for best results.

4. Do you wish to Overseed OR do you need to Seed small bare patches that have emerged in your lawn? Overseeding can reduce weeds in your lawn by simply pushing them out with the thick layer of green, lush grass. Why should you overseed or seed bare patches now??? There are a few distinct reasons that make fall the best time to plant grass seed. The Fall months of September & Early October are ideally the best seeding times when the soil is still warm. With the combination of warm soil, warm daytime temperatures, and cool evenings encourages seed germination and establishment of newly sown cool-season grass. In general terms, you should plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the “estimated date” of your first fall frost. Meaning, before soil and air temperatures drop to less favorable levels. Fall will typically brings more rain, which lessens the chance that these newly planted grass seeds may dry out, and reducing the need for extra watering on your part.

Small bags of grass seed are also available!

Option Two:The Tired Mowologist “…Summer has gotten the best of me y’all, but I’ve got this handled…

1. Weed control – As the summer wanes, weeds may have emerged in your lawn! Post-emergent herbicides are one way of removing weeds that have already sprouted if you can visibly see them in your lawn. Weed and Feed options are also available… stop by to see which one works best for you.

2. Insect control– did you notice Japanese beetles in your yard this season??? Mole issues ??? Believe it or not, these are all connected!!! Japanese beetles lay eggs in your lawn that turn into lawn grubs in late summer . The grubs eat and dig up your lawn roots in late summer, hibernate all winter long and then come back with a vengeance in spring…ready to destroy your lawn again. Moles eat grubs. Now is the time to get moving on grub control for your yard before the cooler weather sets in and the grubs move deeper into the ground, making it ineffective for any type of grub control to be impactful. Other signs of insects??? Stop by to see what would work best for your lawn and gardening needs this Fall.

If you purchased this product this summer, you might need to consider getting prepared for grub control 😳
Pet friendly grub control
Granular & concentrate available

Y’all might be wondering why did I give you two different choices ?? Here’s the answer. You should never fertilize, aerate, and seed the lawn at the same time as you are in the weed control cycle. It’s kinda like you are defeating your original purpose… Pick one area of focus and go with it! Option 2 with lawn weed control should be completed by Mid September. After three weeks of completion, you can come back to aerate & overseed/seed bare patches in your lawn if you deem it necessary this Fall.

Looking Ahead into Fall Y’all… “The Proactive Mowologists”

1. Water lawn as needed.

Need a new water hose???

2. Maintain your Mulch– a thick layer of mulch helps to prevent weeds.

3. Pull & spray weeds as needed

5. Fall is a great time to plant trees or shrubs.

6. Get ready to rake leaves!!! 🍂🍁🍁🍁

7. Check out your fall lawn & garden tools… are they in need of maintenance,cleaning, repair???? We can help with new handles, and sharpening.

8. Keep lawnmower blades sharpened. Dull blades mean uneven cutting in your lawn.

Fall is an amazing time of the year for the novice mowologist or even the pro who has been doing it well for years. The weather begins to cool down and the summer sweats subsides. What Mowologists isn’t looking forward to parking the mower in the garage for a few months of leisure as winter weather sets in and you get to trade it out for a snow shovel??? Right??? 😂

A Story in Pictures

The Smithey Building has long been an anchor store on 10th Street. Our across the street neighbors for the last 7 years. Showcasing this 33,000 square foot building here in this early morning photo of Apple Festival from a few years ago
A storm unloaded a lot of water onto our front sidewalks & back parking lot in a matter of 8 minutes! Some of our 10th Street neighbors experienced water inside their buildings after the rain. One marked component of the storm was intense lightning.
The first capture of the flames from the fire on August 30, 2022 … Tuesday evening around 5:30pm as Richard & I saw the North Wilkesboro fire department pulling into 10th Street.
Firefighters are quickly getting the hoses out and getting ready to work
Wilkesboro firefighters also quickly responded to the fire and placed ladder truck into position
The smoke was getting more intense. Businesses on the same side as Smithey’s began to move valuable goods to safer areas. Other business owners from 10th & Main Street were there to help.
Cars were moved from 10th Street. It proved to be a challenge because of the firehoses, emergency vehicles, narrow openings, and difficulty finding a few of the car owners.
Around 6:45pm NW police asked all businesses/residents of 10th Street to vacate buildings due to safety concerns. We stayed across the street at Dom’s Bakery. We felt we should stay as our livelihood was in danger.
Firefighters were pushing a ton of water on the fire. Firefighters had to take the tanker trucks to nearby water towers to get more water. I think it was estimated that the fire consumed over 4 million gallons of water.
It was at times, difficult to watch. The smoke billowing from the building.
11-12 different fire departments responded to the fire.
The top floors have begun to fall through to the main floor of the Smithey building
A fork-like piece of heavy equipment was used. It was interesting to watch it maneuver onto 10th Street in between the hoses and the buildings.
Piercing through the old windows.. yes! The original facade was covered up with the existing Smithey exterior.
Some of these firefighters have worked all day long and will continue to work into the late night
Just no words.. 😢 Around 10:00-10:30 Wilkes Oil brought a truck to refuel the existing fire trucks. They have now been on scene for 5 hours.
Richard & I spoke to the fire scene chief before we left for the night around 11pm. The fire was definitely under control and being well managed. The street would remain closed and we could open with back door access on Wednesday morning
Firefighters worked all night long. Here’s a early morning photo from Wednesday morning. The extent of fire is quite visible.
These hoses are HUGE!!
At the height of the fire on Tuesday evening, firefighters had 4 different ladder trucks going at once!!! Wednesday morning, two remaining ladders are busy putting the flames down
The buildings next door were very lucky that no substantial fire damage occurred.
Water pouring through the roof
Some of these firefighters had been on shift for over 24 hours.. working at fire department or other jobs. Exhausted but dedicated! Thank you!
All ages of firefighters were on deck.. thanks for keeping our community safe.
📸credit: Monty 😊
Bringing in the heavy equipment for demolition

Demolition started with the little corner building… the old gas station side

Building Demolition took only a few hours. We could feel a few vibrations during the demolition inside our building
10th Street was opened for full traffic by 5pm.
All within 24 hours!!!
The demo/ grading team has done an amazing job! The bricks seem to be a popular item for onlookers to stop by to take a piece of the building with them.
We have heard many stories that so many people have shared with us over the last few days of experiences at Smithey’s Goodwill. A dear couple actually meet there and eventually married. 💕
We will miss our historic neighbors but looking forward to the next chapter that the new building will bring to our town, in whatever form. 📸 credit: Sonny