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638 Building

Walking Tour Prepared By Kevin & Lisa Ragland
With History By: Yolanda Reid & Linda Dean

Sometime between 1888 and 1893 a building was placed on the south west corner of this lot and housed the city fire equipment consisting of a hand propelled pump attached to a small wagon frame, ladders and hose. The fire bell tower and building were removed about 1915. The north side of the building you see today was built between 1898 and 1903 according to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, as a hardware, feed & seed store. Taylor and Powell organized a farmer's supply company in 1900 and purchased this lot in August 1900, thus it is believed Taylor & Powell built the building in that year.

Jack & Louis Draughon bought the building from Taylor in 1920 and added a two-story addition to the rear in which they operated the 638 Service Station of gas, oil and tire vulcanizing. The name 638 came from their telephone number. In December 1926 the Draughon Brothers of 638 Tire with other investors began plans for a radio broadcasting business announcing that the station would operate for the benefit of the people of this community and would broadcast livestock market, weather forecasts and tobacco reports.

In addition programs would be given by local talent consisting of music, speeches, sermons and talks of general interest. They swapped a barrel of oil for their first A M transmitter. On January 7, 1927, WSIX radio began broadcasting. The call letters were derived from the motto "Where Service Is Excellent". WSIX operated at this location until May 21, 1935 when the station was reopened from the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville. In 1948 the WSIX A M station was joined by an F M sister station and in 1953 Louis Draughon started WSIX TV, channel 8 in Nashville. Mr. Draughon sold the stations, both radio and television in 1966.

Forrest Durrett began a trucking business in 1941 operating from the back of the 638 building which he called "Durrett Transfer" and in 1935 purchased the 638 Service Station business, not the building, from Louis Draughon. When World War I began it was soon difficult to obtain tires but Mr. Durrett was able to vulcanize old tires which made them like new again and was very successful. Business waned with the building of Memorial Boulevard and Mr. Durrett sold out to Tom Cobb. Draughon Bros. Oil Company maintained an office in this building for many years. The building and property continue under the ownership of Draughon Brothers descendants still today. 

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