Allgood memorial to be unveiled Saturday

Published 9:31 am Friday, September 3, 2010

BOYKINS—Town officials will unveil a stone memorial to Dr. Willie Allgood at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Main Street parking lot next to the post office.

The lot will also officially be dedicated as the Willie Allgood Parking Area.

“He was a real fine gentleman,” said Boykins Mayor Spier Edwards, who plans to give opening remarks. “He was always smiling. He would talk to you and try to help you any way that he could, and with the shoe repairs that you needed. People came from far away to bring shoes to him.”

Kenneth Whitfield of Durham, N.C., Allgood’s grandson, also will speak.

“He thought that everyone should be treated equally,” Whitfield said Thursday. “When you came into his shoe shop, it was a place where he greeted everyone with a smile and a handshake. It didn’t matter about your social status or much money you had.”

The parking lot was created after a building on the site — one of the oldest structures in town, believed built in the 1920s — was demolished in June 2009.

The one-story, one-room building had many uses during its lifetime, including ice cream shop, town library, confectionary store, town hall, mayor’s office, pool hall and — beginning in 1964 — Allgood’s Shoe Repair.

Allgood was a native of Boykins and a master cobbler, repairing shoes in town for more than 73 years. He was honored in 2006 as the oldest businessman in Boykins, and the town celebrated Willie Allgood Appreciation Day on July 15 of that year.

Edwards said Allgood was given the key to the town at the appreciation celebration. He is the only person to have ever received the award.

After Allgood’s death on Dec. 17, 2007, at age 88, the building was bequeathed to the town with the stipulation that if it were ever demolished or moved, that the property would be used as a parking lot for disabled patrons of the neighboring post office.

“He would want to be remembered as a church-going man, a religious man who tried to follow God,” Whitfield said. “He enjoyed helping people.”