A & W Root Beer
|Anyone who grew up in the Kanawha Valley in the 50s and 60s, grew up with A&W Root Beer. The
main locations were Vine St at Central Ave on the West Side (#1),
MacCorkle Ave in St Albans (#2) and Morris Street on the East
Side (#3), They also had a walk-in shop at the Arcade.
I spent many an evening at the Central Ave A&W with my mom.
Later, as a teenager, I lived within a block of the Morris St.
A&W. There I met Calvin Stover, one of the owners.
Calvin was a great guy who watched me grow up, and
along the way (at least as a teenager) I sometimes gave Cal a run for
his money as we all did. A&W was another one of those places
that we didnt miss much.. until it was gone. Now, we'd give
anything to have an original A&W.|
BEST HOT DOGS AND FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICHES.... EVER!
Vine Street & Central Ave A&W circa 1964
in the day" you didnt need a
Playland, or "Happy Meal" or old junk on the walls to have a
place to eat. All you needed was a little block building with a plywood
front, painted a gaudy orange. But from those humble surroundings
forth the best hot dogs, fried bologna sandwiches, and other
that money could buy. The star attraction of course was the root
served up in big mugs that had been frozen in advance. If
your root beer to go, you ordered a quart megaphone of the
stuff. That's right, your root beer would be sealed in a
that you could actually use by cutting the bottom out. Not only
that, but you didnt even have to get out of your car. The photo
above is interesting because it's obviously winter, and yet the kids
have the top down on the car. Why? Because this was an Ad for the
Stonewall Jackson High School yearbook. We think the tall Blond in the photo is Lynn Richardson Lorentz, along with Sandy Patton and Barbara Wood.
This photo shows the Stonewall Jackson High School Majorettes in front of the A&W in 1963. They are: Judy Greybill & Marty
Bostic; Back: Sue Holt, Barbara Cummings, Thelma Thompson, Kay Coffman, Sherrie
Christie, Janice Carpenter, Judy Thaxton, Betty
One Year Later...
By now they have remodeled the place, adding a brick front.
|A&W Root Beer was started in 1919 by Roy Allen. In 1922, Allen partnered
with Frank Wright. They combined their initials to create the brand "A&W"
and inspired a restaurant chain which was founded 1922. Shortly after Allen had
bought out Wright's portion of the business, he began franchising the product.
His profits came from a small franchise fee and sales of concentrate. There was
no standard food menu for franchises until 1978. By 1960 the number of A&W
restaurants had swelled to more than 2,000. In 1963, the A&W Root Beer
Company was sold to the J. Hungerford Smith Company, the firm which had
manufactured Allen’s concentrate since 1921. Later that year, the company was
sold to the United Fruit Company. |Meanwhile, here locally.... Calvin
Stover and Wink Litton started the local A&Ws. Since there
was no standard food menu requirements from A&W at the time,
the guys simply decided what people here would like to eat.
Naturally, back then hot dogs and fried bologna were the biggies,
so that's what they ran with. To this day, people rave about the
food served at the local A&Ws.
After A&W closed, the guys took-on a third partner and opened up a new hot dog place called
Bo(Beauford Jividen)Winc(Winc Litton)Cal (Calvin Stover). Spells
Bowincal. They served the same hot dogs as the old A&W,
but without the root beer. Many stores opened, and
years later closed for all the standard reasons that we're so
Photos from the Stonewall Jackson yearbook courtesy of Nancy Williams