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This October 1963 photo taken by the staff of EPB shows a stretch of Market Street that holds Newton Chevrolet, Buehler's Food Market, Jack's Army Store and Smith-Owens Rambler in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Three decades before the Tennessee Aquarium helped transform this stretch of Market Street into a tourist mecca, the downtown artery was filled with auto dealerships and retail stores.

This photo, dated October 1963, is part of a collection of images at ChattanoogaHistory.com taken by the staff of EPB, perhaps for the power company's newsletter, says the website's curator, Sam Hall.

Notable establishments pictured in the photo include Newton Chevrolet, Buehler's Food Market, Jack's Army Store and Smith-Owens Rambler.

"Over the years, several car dealerships were on that strip of Market Street, including a BMW dealer in the 1970s," Hall said.

Hall said the cement strip in the center of the street covers former street-car tracks from a trolley system that had been abandoned 16 years before this photo was taken.

The old Buehler's Food Market property at 429 Market St. was recently in the news. Although the market closed in 2017, the building has been purchased by Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club owner Bob Martino, who has pledged to convert the property to a multimillion-dollar, sports-themed restaurant.

The 400 block of Market Street is now dominated by restaurants including Panera Bread and Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe.

ChattanoogaHistory.com

Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.

If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non-digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.

A search of 1960s newspaper archives turned up some interesting ads for some of the pictured Market Street businesses.

> Buehler's Market ads featured the slogan: "Where your money and your food stamps go further."

Items on sale in the 1960s included Ivory soap, 5 cents per bar; bananas, 10 cents a pound; and hamburger, 43 cents a pound.

News reports indicate that the market had been operating in different downtown locations for 105 years when it closed in 2017.

> The Market Street location of Jack's Army Store was one of two such stores in Chattanooga in the 1960s. The other was on East Main Street.

The store, which specialized in surplus military supplies, offered bunk beds for $7 and buckets of paint for 99 cents. Customers could also stock up on machetes for 99 cents each.

> Smith-Owens Rambler, at 414 Market St., was one of two Rambler dealerships in the Chattanooga area in the 1960s. The other was Patton Rambler on Ringgold Road.

In the 1960s the now-defunct car brand offered three sedans: the American, the Classic and the top-of-the-line Ambassador. New Ramblers were touted as "rattle-free."

"Rambler learns because Rambler listens" was the brand's motto in the 1960s.

> The Furniture Auction store at 428 Market St. was a true liquidation center with merchandise discounted up to 90 percent off retail prices. Many items were department store close-outs or pieces salvaged from bankrupt businesses.

At the time, sofas were selling there for $99 each, Magnavox TVs were $75 and GE washer-dryer combos were also $75.

Follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" public group on Facebook.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.

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