Tag Archives: Hinch Gilliam

Diamond Cabs


In the 1959 City Directory, the address of “Gillam (sic) and Diamond Cabs” (it’s Hinch Gilliam again…he was also managing Friendly Cabs up on Brooks Circle) was shown as 328 East Sullivan Street.  It was behind the old Trailways (Union) Bus Terminal on Cherokee Street, where the Greyhound Bus Station is now, sort of.

Anyway, there were seven cab companies listed for Kingsport in 1959: Friendly Cabs at 1725 Ft. Henry Drive, Gilliam and Diamond Cabs at 328 East Sullivan, City Cabs in Highland Park, Lynn Garden Cabs, 1212 Lynn Garden Drive, Nick’s Cabs in Highland Park, West View Cabs at 140 Fairview and Yellow Cab Company at 124 West Market (I think it was behind where the Nutty Java shop is now).

The “Roberts” was my stepfather.  He drove a cab off-and-on, until his ship came in.  After he was escorted off the ship later, broke again, he never went back to driving cabs.  He told me once that, back then, he never went into Long Island after dark.  It was a rough place, he thought, awash with bootleggers and blackguards.

The Downtowner Motor Inn


Architect’s rendering of the not-yet-quite-built Downtowner Motor Inn, corner of Center and Shelby Streets in downtown Kingsport.  It was announced in the Kingsport Times-News in 1960 and was probably open for business in 1961. Having a Downtowner was a big deal at the time.  The only other one in Tennessee was in Memphis.  This one lasted until the early 1990s.  At some time in the 70s, I took my mother to the restaurant there to have breakfast.  I found a cockroach in my biscuit.
The Downtowner corporation began in 1958 in Memphis.  At one time, it was owned by Perkins
Pancake House and then changed hands several times until it mostly went belly up in 1993.
When I first came to Kingsport in 1956, this lot was empty.  You could look out the back door of the Kress building and see the old City Hall on the west corner of Shelby and Center.  Hinch Gilliam had a cab stand up on the Market-Shelby corner on this lot.
There must be hundreds of copies of this card.  They’re all over the web for sale at prices ranging from $10 to $24 each.  I probably paid a buck when I bought this one a decade or so ago.