By Bob Warren, Former Mayor of Frisco
THIS IS THE STORY of 6947 Main Street, Frisco, Texas, a grand old building celebrating its one-hundredth birthday this year. Looking at it today, you will see that owner David McCreary has done an excellent job of restoring the structure, keeping it very true to its original state. Since buildings cannot tell us their history, we searched the records and called upon memories of some who have spent most of their years in Frisco. Thanks to friends like Wendell and David Hale, Dorothy Keeran, Sonny McSpedden, Bill Pearson and Jack Sprouse, we found that 6947 Main has quite a storied past. The “old girl” has not only seen a lot of Frisco history, but she has been a major contributor to our city’s life. Built in 1906 as a two story, mostly wooden structure, she got her start when Frisco was only four years old. About 300 people called this little farming community home in 1906. Our building probably watched proudly when, in 1908, the town’s people voted to incorporate and elected Dr. I. S. Rogers its first mayor.
Little is known of the building’s earliest occupants, but history tells us that, in 1922, it housed Charlie Triplett’s Café, and was the origin of a fire, which destroyed most of downtown Frisco. The book, Frisco: The First One Hundred Years, tells us the city’s landmark fire struck on Wednesday night, September 6, 1922. It started about 7:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Café and wiped out 13 buildings before fire fighters from Frisco, Denton, Celina and McKinney contained the blaze. Pictures after the fire showed only rubble and remnants of a brick chimney left on the site where the building stands today. But, like most downtown businesses that rose rapidly from the ashes, Triplett’s Café was rebuilt, this time as the strong, single story brick structure we have today.
For some time 6947 Main continued to house eating places. It hosted Triplett’s, Ann Stroud’s and Molly Hayes’ cafes. Each of those places created memories of tasty meals and a pleasant gathering place for the town’s people. Triplett’s was famous for its 15-cent bowl of chili with all the catsup and crackers you wanted. Molly Hayes was remembered for her generous 25-cent plate lunches and luscious hamburgers. Before Frisco’s school had a lunchroom, Molly packed a pressure cooker full of hot hamburgers and took them to school to sell each day at noon. Then, for some reason, our building decided to diversify, becoming home to a string of grocery stores. First was John Carter’s City Cash Grocery. In the 1930s and early 1940s Frisco was still in the throes of the “Great Depression” and many businesses were suffering. Most groceries were sold on credit, some farmers able to pay only after their harvest. Mr. Carter inserted the word “Cash” in his store’s name, probably hoping to avert credit losses, but Bill Pearson who worked there as a teenager said, “It didn’t work. People still charged their groceries and some were never able to pay.” Those were the days when Saturday was the big shopping day in country towns like Frisco. Our little building, like others up and down Main street, welcomed the Saturday crowd as farm families came to town to do their weekly shopping. Cars, mostly Model “T’s” and “A’s,” parked head in along Main street’s curbs, and friends visited on the sidewalk as they made their way from store to store. At nightfall, kids and some adults headed for the town’s only picture show, plunked down their ten-cent admission and enjoyed a black and white movie. Many of the farmers made their way to one of the two barber shops for their weekly shave, shampoo and even a 25-cent bath, getting cleaned up for church the next day. Mr. Carter eventually added appliance sales to his business, and finally, with the advent of television, moved a few doors east to put in a full appliance store. Two other groceries, J. C. Grant and Hansel Douglas followed Mr. Carter at 6947 Main. Then, in the 1950s, it was time for our building to change its complexion again. Groceries were replaced with printing presses as the town’s newspaper, the Frisco Enterprise moved in. Sometime later, when the newspaper moved down the street, the building hosted Reagan’s Drug store for a while, and then became Harold Dunafan’s Appliance store. Multiple uses followed prior to the recent remodeling, and 6947 Main, now beautifully attired, is the home of a law firm. If bricks and mortar could express feelings, 6947 Main might tell us she has enjoyed having the variety of businesses that have been housed there. She could tell us many tales we were not able to dig out of our memories, and I’ll bet the “old girl” is busting her buttons with pride for the way she looks since her makeover. The next time you’re downtown, glance up at the “1906” sign atop the building and wish her a “Happy 100th Birthday.” She deserves it after having been “tried by fire” only to rise and live again!
Frisco native Bob Warren is a humorist, historian and former Frisco mayor.
Reprinted from the October 2006 Best of Business Issue of Frisco STYLE Magazine with permission from Style Publishing Group, LLC.