Remembering the Battlefield Stuckey’s (1/20)

BY ELSIE MOREY, CTHS CHAIR / JANUARY 2020

Stuckey’s was a chain of stores stretching along southern highways. The stores were famous for their 30 varieties of pecans, candies and fruits, sugar and hickory smoked hams, sausage and bacon. Service station facilities were available at the stores.

Wishing to expand the chain north, they chose the Gettysburg location for a Stuckey’s Pecan Shoppe chain. It opened on a Saturday, Aug. 20, 1955, two miles south of Gettysburg on the Emmitsburg Road at the Peach Orchard corner. The new Stuckey’s store was built towards the front of the former site of the Peach Orchard Motel which Stuckey’s purchased. The former motel units were converted into apartments for the store personnel.

The owners of the store were Col. J. Fuller Groom and Alexander P. Marshall, both of Alexandria, Va. Col. Groom said he chose Gettysburg to build the store because the tourist business is a year-round affair. A distinctive feature about all the Stuckey’s stores are the numerous road signs advertising it. About 25 signs were placed in the Gettysburg area.

Col. Groom announced the manager of the Stuckey’s was Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Arendt. With time Ralph Arendt testified that he always told tourists that asked him about tours of the field that they should consult with battlefield guides. Arendt won a sales improvement contest, which was conducted among the 70 shoppes and the Gettysburg Shoppe showed the greatest improvement over the corresponding period of the year before. By 1965, Mr. and Mrs. C. Arthur Brame became the local store managers.

Once a fire was reported on a Sunday morning at 7:30 as an automobile broke off a gasoline pump at Stuckey’s Shoppe. On another occasion, Gettysburg fireman spent time putting out a grass fire at the rear of Stuckey’s when Fire Chief Charles Kerrigan said hot ashes from a nearby incinerator ignited the grass. Fire burned off about quarter of an acre of grass.

An advertisement once appeared seeking a saleslady between 25 and 30 years old, who was neat in appearance and able to meet the public. Other ads such as these appeared: Save Your Confederate Money! The South Invades 2/18/2020 Remembering the battlefield Stuckey’s Gettysburg Again. This Time It’s Not With Guns And Artillery, but With southern Products! You Can’t Miss Mister At Stuckey’s! Happy Pickin’s Here! They use it for a picnic basket but first they’ll have one whale of a good time diving into what’s inside! Yum! Yum!; They Bless Your Cotton Picking Heart When You Send Them Either One of these Bales of Fancy Pecan Halves 2 Lb. bale $3.95 or 5 lb. Bale 7.95.”

Pet Milk company made its first acquisition in the food manufacturing industry with the purchase of Stuckey’s. It became a separate operating division, and the acquisition was part of Pet Milk Company’s plan to diversify into fields compatible with but different from its own products. The Gettysburg Times published bitter attacks against the commercial interests on or near the battlefield.

By 1970, strips of land in the Sherfy Farm area were purchased by the federal government meaning it will purchase the area completely as money became available. Stuckey’s, the Battlefield Motel, and farmland were surrounded by public roads and government owned land. The government purchased the Stuckey’s establishment about 1973.

Elsie Morey is chair of the board of directors of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.