Scenic USA - Tennessee

R.M. Brooks General Store

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R.M. Brooks General Store - Rugby, Tennessee

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   A new agricultural community, free from class distinctions, was envisioned Interior - R.M. Brooks General Store and promoted by social reformer Thomas Hughes. During the 1880s, the utopian town of Rugby was established in the Tennessee hills, northwest of Knoxville. At its peak, over 300 residents enjoyed this lovely corner of Godís earth.
   This local Rugby landmark, at the fork of Route 52 and Brooks Circle, was the latest Morgan County addition to the National Register of Historic Places. The Brooks General Store was built in the early 1930s, a second generation store of the Moses Brooks family who moved into the area well before the arrival of Thomas Hughes.
   The combination residence and store was centered around a pot-bellied stove and a small collection of country rockers. Aisles were lined with candy and produce. Shelves were stocked with canned goods, tobacco products, PO Sign - R.M. Brooks General Store cans of lard, coffee mills, bolts of cloth and a broad assortment of hardware. Metal signs advertised the latest products from Clabber Girl baking powder to 7-up. Robert Brooks was a pioneer in merchandising, first to offer baking powder and bleach. Electricity and telephone first arrived in the 50s, and the hand pump on the front porch was replaced with a sink and faucet. Often thought of as a community center, the store was also used as a post office with a small cube tucked into a corner. For the few dozen Rugby residents that remain, the R.M. Brooks General Store is still seen as the hub of the community.

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