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Saturday, March 27, 2010

"It's Just Over the Hill to Gilsville"

"It's Just Over the Hill to Gilsville"

The first time I saw this sign, I figured it was for some kind of family fun zone, a place parents could take their young children to climb the bubble-tubes and sink in the ball crawl. Of course those are modern establishments, and this sign is over 30 years old.

It's located at a key intersection in Smyrna, the intersection of Sam Ridley Pkwy, Jefferson Pike (TN266), and Nissan Dr. (TN 102), back in the 70s, the major road was Sam Davis Rd. and a billboard advertised the complex run by Sewart Air Force Base officer Gilbert Olerud, Jr.

The complex started in the 50s as Gil's Supermarket, and then they added a full service garage / gas station and a Drive-in. Those became a mini market and a sit-down restaurant.

When the Air Force Base closed, Gil helped to keep the area afloat with expansion and Gilsville was born. He added Gil's Hardware, a Radio Shack, a drug store and an appliance store.

Gil died in 1980, but the Hardware Store is still there. The rest of today's occupants include a barber, a church, a dance studio, a hispanic bakery and the Rocking Chair Cafe.

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