Monday, July 21, 2008

Baldwyn Businesses – Palmer’s Pool Room

-click to enlarge-

By Robert Palmer

The photo above is from the early 50s. Daddy (Mr. Haddon Palmer) is the one that is second from the right holding a cue with his left hand on the table. I don't have any idea who the others are but it would be fun to find out. One person that worked for him was Rob Bolton. I have no idea if he's in this picture or not.

Daddy always ran a "clean" place, made sure that no rough stuff went on. People would drop kids off as they went to shop and come back and pick them up later knowing that they would be safe and looked after. I can well remember walking up the sidewalk between Mr. Claude's theater and the pool room when the street was so crowded that you'd have to weave around people and occasionally get in the street. Automobile traffic was at a crawl because of so many people.

The pool tables in this picture are either Brunswick or A.E. Schmidt tables. I think that they are the latter, but 2 or 3 manufacturers made similar tables. They are definitely not the ones we made. Daddy started making tables in about 54' or 55' so this picture pre-dates that.

Notice in the picture that the scoring beads ran the full length of the building. Usually the snooker tables were at the front. I don't know if this is the front table or not. Best I can tell from the picture it is a pool table, not a snooker table. It cost more to play snooker because it was a much slower game.

The way you determined how many tables you could get in a room was the cue length (57") from the nose of the cushion on one table to the edge of the next table or possibly a little less. Even if your cue had to go over the edge of the next table (a straight across shot) usually you would not be in the way of the players on the next table. Every inch counted. The more tables you could get in a room, the more games you could have at a time, hence, more revenue! It was a bargain at a dime a game.


Related reading: Click on "Pool Hall Baby" in the box below, then scroll down and read Jo Carolyn's story.


  1. Is that Joe Murray behind Haddon's shoulder and Larry Johnson in the leftmost photo? Grover wrote an essay that Ms Martin read to us called "Our Recreation Parlor" or some such. Wonder if he still has?

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  3. Thanks again for the photo and story, Robert. I recall that Mr. Haddon bought a 1949 Studebaker, probably the first in Baldwyn, and did he get a lot of comments about it. Some said that it looked the same "coming and going" referring to the new body style that was aerodynamic. Those Studebakers at that time were very good, economical cars.
    Once, on my evening paper route, he let me drive it down to Henry Earl's house and back. I had never been in or driven a car that low to the ground, and it was sorta weird.
    The pool room was the greatest place. On those cold, biting-chill mornings walking to school it was a warm-up place to stop. They were always open very early. Sometimes you could get in a game before proceeding to BHS.
    Can't look at the photo without thinking of Brooks Prather asleep on the bench snoring away, or Rob Mullins there also.
    One employee I remember was Lloyd Melson, I believe the last name is correct.

  4. Hadden Palmer and Joe Murray(wearing the hat)are at the first table. Directly behind Hadden's shoulder is Taylor Lindley. At the third table I think it is either David Greenhill or Larry Johnson and I'm leaning toward David at this point. At the back table that is definitely Curtis Wayne Bishop in the white shirt. I'll run this photo through my enhancing program a few more times and see who pops up.

  5. I think that is Harold "Wooley" Williams behind Mr Haddon shooting,,and I don't think that is Joe Murray but could be wrong..


  6. I think that is Joe Murray behind Haddon's right shoulder.

  7. And I think the person behind Haddon is John Garrett.

  8. You're right about Brooks always being around, Carl. He could sing all the words to the "John's Brown's lies molded in the clay" version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

  9. The pool room was the first place i went to when coming to town from Pratts.
    It was the social point of any Saturday visitors to town, and more gossip was thrown around there than in a barbershop.
    When it closed, a part of Baldwyn history went to the happy hunting ground.
    Thanks for the photo!

  10. What made the pool run so much fun was the talk and kibitzing. People like R.W. Scott had a country saying for anything that happened.

  11. I just have to say this in response to the man from Pratt's comment. I worked in my own shop and then with Dayton Cagle at his barber shop cutting men's and boy's hair for a total of 15 years or more and I am here to testify to the fact that men do gossip in the barbershop. Sometimes more than women in beautyshops. Now I don't know about pool hall gossip and stories, but working with Mr.Hadden as his bookkeeper at Palmer's Billiards for over 5 years I can tell you, I never once heard him say anything out of the way or off color. Sometimes I think the guys at the barber shop just forgot I was a woman working in their space until they were reminded by Mr. Cagle and then they always apologized. It was nice to be labeled as, "that lady barber," but I sure learned a lot working there and I wouldn't trade that knowledge for anything!