Jot 'em Down Store

L.C. and Ed Terrell opened Terrell’s General Store at the intersection of Iron Works Pike and Russell Cave Pike in 1933, during the golden age of radio. The founders of this small grocery often gathered around the radio to tune into their favorite program - Lum ‘n’ Abner. While the name of this radio comedy may be unknown today, Lum ‘n’ Abner remained popular for almost twenty years. The series featured two Arkansas store owners much like L.C. and Ed Terrell. Chester Lauck played Lum, characterized as tall and savvy, while Norris Goff played Abner, the short, dim-witted, and funny companion. The fictional characters ran a grocery store called the Jot ’em Down Store, which refers to the practice of extending credit to customers. Eventually, the Terrells began calling one another Lum ‘n’ Abner and some locals adopted various character names, like Mousie, Grandpappy Spears, and more: the Bluegrass had acquired a Jot ’em Down Store of its own.

On December 5, 1936, the famous duo arrived in Lexington, greeted by scores of fans. During their visit, Norris Goff and Chester Lauck carried out six theatrical and two radio engagements in less than twelve hours. Yet more than performance drew these radio stars to the Bluegrass. Goff and Lauck, reportedly looking for a horse as a possible Kentucky Derby entry, toured various farms on Iron Works Pike and visited the legendary Man o’ War. In an interview with the editor of The Herald, Goff heaped praise on Spindletop Farm’s Chief of Spindletop, an American Saddlebred, saying, “I’ve never seen any horse to compare with him.” Lauck had good things to say about his time in the Bluegrass, claiming, “I like Lexington. People here talk, live and breathe horses.”

While viewing horses on Iron Works Pike, the real Lum ‘n’ Abner heard of the tradition at Terrell’s General Store and dropped by for a visit. After visiting L.C. and Ed Terrell, the two men returned to Lexington, bought a sign, and painted it with the words, “Jot ‘em Down Store.” The sign hung on L.C. and Ed Terrell’s grocery, renaming the small store after the famous setting of Lum ‘n’ Abner’s popular show. Today, the Lum ‘n’ Abner show is mostly forgotten, but the real Jot ’em Down Store still stands. L.C. Terrell’s son, Bob, took over as proprietor of the store after his father’s death. In 1998, Bob passed away and his son Robey continues to run the Jot ’em Down Store. The radio stars would no doubt be happy to hear that Bob, and now Robey continues to occasionally play a few tapes of the Lum ‘n’ Abner show to curious tourists.