Historic barbershop a DPA attraction
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 9:29 pm
Special Features Editor
For some years, the former Dickey’s Tip Top Barbershop in Rives stood shuttered and closed, sinking into doom and gloom despite a long and colorful history.
The shop, built in 1894 by the late Sam Dickey across from the railroad stop in Rives, served customers until 1967. When the business’ owner died in 1932, after 38 years of providing 40 cent haircuts, shaves and hot baths, his son, Melvin, took over.
The octagonal-shaped building attracted attention first from railroad passengers and local residents because of its unique shape, but it later became known as the site to catch up on community gossip, the must-go place for gentlemen looking to make a good impression and an entertaining venue for customers who would be treated to the unique services of a youthful teenage barber making his way through the oddly-shaped room on a pair of roller skates.
That mobile young barber, who began his own career at the tender age of 16, kept his father’s dream alive until 1967, when he died.
In time, the barbershop passed to the ownership of Pearl Westmoreland of Rives, who donated the building. The interior, while having fallen into serious disrepair, offered a fascinating view of small-town Americana. The original plan was to move the building and its contents and rich architectural detailing and fixtures to the Discovery Park of America 50-acre site in Union City.
Unfortunately, the building proved not to be salvageable, but it has been exactingly recreated and will be featured in the DPA Freedom Square sector when the facility opens in the fall of this year.
The shop is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and many of its furnishings will be featured in the replica.
Exhibits planned for DPA are currently being put in place and the exciting project on the northwest side of the city will be featured in The Messenger for the next several months. The goal is to provide local residents a first-hand look at the unforgettable stories that will be told, history that will be recited in fascinating formats and mysteries that will be revealed at DPA so that they cannot only look forward to exploring for themselves but can spread the news to friends and family from far and near. Published in The Messenger 2.12.13