upload image

Big Red Store

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 15 Jul 1902 to 1955
Location: Appleton, Lawrence, Tennessee, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: appleton_tennessee lawrence_county_tennessee
Profile manager: Marie Wallner private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 43 times.


The Big Red Store

The Big Red Store, also known as the Appleton Department Store and the Hall-Kelton Store, was the most famous store in the entire North Alabama and Middle Tennessee area. Spanning a huge 100 by 60 feet, this fabulous, three story store opened on July 15, 1902, built by the Hall-Kelton Company. The feature on opening day was a free soda pop from what was said to be the fanciest soda fountain in the entire south. A crowd estimated at between 500 and 600 people gathered on opening day to partake of the free soda pop and to browse among the many bargains available.

Two hotels were operated near the store for out-of-town visitors who wanted to spend the night and shop at the store. The Big Red Store store featured a wide array of merchandise that included everything from coffee to coffins that was available to customers from the Middle Tennessee and North Alabama regions. In 1911, all the furniture needed to set up housekeeping could be purchased for $40.00.

In addition to general goods, the Big Red Store also had a complete milliner shop and a tailor. Soon after the opening of the store, John Kelton - who was also the Postmaster for Appleton - moved the Post Office into the store. It remained there until 1948 when the post office was closed and mail service moved to Five Points.

Several people owned and operated the store over the years. After the death of John Kelton, it was sold by his business partner, Hugh Hall, to Henry Warring & Clarence "Spoon" Butler.

They owned the store until February 12, 1919, when they auctioned the store off to Jim Warren. During his time he owned the store, Jim - also known as 'Doc' - lived in the store's second floor and provided medicine in the night to the sick. Not long before Jim's death in 1931, he sold the store to his brother, Hobert "Hobe" Warren.

Hobert rented out space in the Big Red Store to a local doctor, dentist, and undertaker; and additionally brought in a tailor, a milliner, and a dressmaker to serve his customers. He operated a small pharmacy on the second floor as well. Many residents of Appleton had nothing but praise for Hobert's kind and jovial nature. Hobert ensured no child in Appleton went without a Christmas present and often extended credit to store patrons, ran three peddler routes that went out every workday calling on customers in Lawrence and Giles Counties and North Alabama, bought produce from walk-ins and peddler route customers, and took things in on barter at the store.

After his death on February 13, 1955, his wife Opal operated the Big Red Store until the fall of that year, when she closed the Big Red Store for good.

Abandonment & Renovation

The Big Red Store was abandoned for the latter half of the century until 2006 when Bob and Linda Boyd bought the store, renovating it to its former glory and turned it into a museum filled with mementos of the store's prime.

Hooper Inman is the current owner of the Big Red Store and continues running the store in Bob and Linda Boyd's footsteps. Hooper made small improvements, such as replacing the two front doors with two solid wood paneled doors similar to what would have been there when the store was first built. He repaired some of the windows, added and repaired overhead lights, and restocked some of the shelves with items that would have been familiar back in the ’40s and ’50s.

The Big Red Store is open to the public every July 4th and on the first weekend of December.

Big Red Store Associates

A category of every person who worked at or owned the Big Red Store can be found here: Big Red Store Employees & Owners. [Work in Progress].


  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

Categories: Appleton, Tennessee