Yesterday: Thompson Brothers in Salisbury had one of state’s first auto dealerships

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2013

This is a copy of a photograph from a 1911 book titled, ‘Industrial and Commercial Salisbury and Spencer.’ Emmette G. Thompson and his brother, Gene, started the garage in 1907, and they were among the pioneer car dealers in North Carolina, second only to Osmond L. Barringer of Charlotte. The garage became an early Ford dealer, but the brothers also came to specialize in other makes, including Stoddard-Dayton, Buick, Overland, Moon, National, American Underslung and the Cole 8. They also constructed a number of automobiles on their own. Gene was the mechanic; Emmette, the salesman. The building on the northeast corner of South Lee and East Fisher streets became known simply as Thompson’s Garage. A major fire enveloped the building Oct. 29, 1996, and the remains of building came down Feb. 25, 1997. Today, the Salty Caper restaurant, offices and loft condominiums occupy the site.