Great Depression & World War II Country Stores

Country Stores

— in 1880 and 1900, Stafford had less than 1 percent of its population in villages of fewer than 2,500 people.

— in 1900, only 2.6 percent of Stafford families had a member engaged in manufacturing.

Industries generally were attracted to urban environments. The closest approximation to that in the Rappahannock Region was Fredericksburg. Several factories emerged there and Staffordians found a way to acquire a small piece of the local economic pie.

Beyond that, Stafford would continue to do what it had always done: farming, lumber and fishing until the era of small business passed the country store-level.

Mrs. Ellis’ store in Falmouth

H. G. Lightner store (formerly Duff Green Warehouse) c. 1920
Lightner store (1934)
Harry Lightner 1942
Nelson Berry store
C.D. Green’s Store and Log Yard and Mill in Brooke.

With these realities, Stafford remained a rural place well into the twentieth century. Improved railroad facilities helped.

Roads remained the major drag on Stafford’s economic ship. Once a decent hard-surfaced road arrived in 1927, rest stops (food, lodging and gasoline) appeared. Similar impact was made later in the 1960s with the arrival of Interstate-95. With adequate roads, Stafford could attract outside businesses (and intended or unintended growth).