Chapter 62

A Little About the "Shop-Perfect"

One damper on an otherwise perfect 1921 college year in Danville was the announcement of the closing of the Shop-Perfect on November 28, just after Thanksgiving.

Every college had a favorite student hangout. In Cambridge, it was the venerable Leavitt and Peirce Tobacco and Specialty Shop on Harvard Square, established in 1884 in Harvard Square. It's smoke-filled, second floor chess and game room was a preferred gathering place for students from Harvard, as the campus was just across Massachusetts Avenue.

In Danville, it was the Shop-Perfect at the corner of 3rd and Main downtown. 

Shop-Perfect on the corner of 3rd and Main, far right, since the late 1890's. Louis Mannini's billiard hall was next to the "Shop," making the area a popular hangout for Centre's students. 

The Centre College "Cento" published an article about the closing of the "Shop" which paints a vivid picture of life in those more simple and wonderful days in Danville.


Alas! The Shop-Perfect is no more. This week the students of Centre College and K.C.W. are sadly mourning the demise of that famous establishment which for years has so closely and vitally been connected to those two institutions.

The "Shop" has come to play an important part in the daily lives of the college boys and girls who have come from the four points of the compass to Danville, as their Mecca, where they might worship at the shrine of knowledge. The outsider can have little feeling when reading, "Shop-Perfect changes hands. Confectionery will be made into up-to-date drug store. No fountain installed for thirsty students.But these terse words have brought sorrow to many of us.

The "Shop" has always been more than an ordinary confectionery. Not only has it served food and drink to the thousands which have passed through its doors during its period of existence, but it has served many other purposes as well.

It has been a true assembling place for the gathering of the clans. Thither the fair of K.C.W. have come, and gazing demurely over their sodas and sundaes, have sought to attract the attention of proud youths of Centre shamelessly strutting in front of the building. ( For many a time, they have succeeded. )

There, has every football game in which Centre has participated been fought over a score of times; there, have been hundreds of freshmen, so soon to find their true station in life, been figuratively "wined and dined" in the mad rush for fraternity pledges.

Behind the fountain on the mirrors have been inscribed the stories of Centre's victories, Centre's defeats, eloquent inscriptions, all of them.

To the "Shop" we have gone for tickets for athletic events and dramatic productions. During Homecoming and the Carnival, the old grads sit around the "Shop" and tell how things were done when they were young and spry. When the banks closed, the "Shop" has cashed student checks galore. It has served as the depository of books until the faculty has given it the title of the "traveling library."

Whether to meet a buddy or a rushie, to fill a date or assemble for a feed, it has always been, "I'll see you at the 'Shop.' " A fond father who has sought an offspring in every classroom is told by authorities, "Go to the Shop-Perfect, corner of Third and Main. You will probably find him there." And nine cases out of ten, Willy has been there.

Wars, politics, religion, fraternities, dances, automobiles, girls, pranks, love, and a jillin other things, have all come in for their share of discussion at the "Shop."

To be sure, there are other establishments in Danville which will in great measure fill up the vacancy which the Shop Perfect has left, but it will be many years before any establishment will mean as much as the "Shop" has meant.

Alas! The Shop-Perfect is no more. This week the students of Centre College and K.C.W. are sadly mourning the demise of that famous establishment which has been so closely connected with these two institutions.

Those, indeed, were the days.