History mystery

By: 
Jim Gaines
Staff Writer

Do any of these faces look familiar? Can anyone identify the contraption, or where it is (or was)?
If so, let us know at editor@starkvilledailynews.com, and we'll put the answers in next week's feature.
Last week's picture of a corner business got several answers. Charles Jackson wrote that it showed a shoe shop owned by Mort Kleban and family, across from the “old Mullins Department Store.” Kleban's was famous for ladies' shoes, Jackson said.
“My grandmother and mother shopped there. Grandmother Mrs. Horace M. (Gertrude Lanier) Carpenter and mother - Gertrude Carpenter Jackson. They also had men's shoes. Mr. Kleban was one of the nicest men in Starkville.”
Everyone agreed on the store's name, and Joe Shurden Sr. said it sat at the corner of Main and South Washington Street.
“The year is harder, but probably, according to the cars and Kleban's Shoe Store sign, around 1936, or a year or so later,” Shurden said. “I remember that about that time, as a kid, we'd go to Starkville every Saturday night. Daddy would park on Washington Street just a little way down from the corner in the truck. There Dad would give the workers their weekly payday for work on the farm. My brother and I would get a quarter apiece. In 1936, a quarter would go a long way.
“This was about the same year Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in the world,came to Starkville. He was advertising for a shoe company in front of Kleban's. He, in the back of a pickup truck, sat on the cab while his feet were on the floor. He was 8' 11.1" tall.”
The most detailed answer, though, came from descendents of Mort Kleban himself. The store was founded by Morton J. Kleban in 1932, according to David, Michael and Debra Kleban.
“It eventually became Kleban’s Shoes Incorporated and remained in operation until 1994,” they said. “The store was the first family shoe store in the state of Mississippi. Eventually Michael A. Kleban became president and his brother, David served as vice president. Both sons of the founder still live in Starkville today.
“Many thanks for running this picture of Kleban’s Shoes as part of Starkville’s history!”

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