Edgefield Entrepreneurs of the 1950’s

<strong>Edgefield Entrepreneurs of the 1950’s</strong>

Edward Mims Mobley, Sr

By Johnny Feltham grandson by marriage of the late  Mims Mobley,

with  some additions by Dr. Mims Mobley, his son

Edward Mims Mobley Sr. retired at age 72, in 1979. Perhaps many of the readers will remember him and miss his many talents seen in his small town movie theater activities and his construction company he established. He was born in Johnston, a great-grandson of its founder, Dr. Edward Jones Mims, for whom he was named. Although he was a native of Johnston, his contributions were known over the County and beyond.

“Mims,” as he was called, was married to Saline Clark, also of Johnston. Early in their marriage they lived in Bishopville, S.C, where Saline operated a beauty Salon. Young Mobley saw the success of her shop and decided to attend cosmetology school and he joined Saline by helping in the shop. He obviously won over many customers, for a comment was heard in the shop that the ladies liked Mims putting their hair in curlers with his “strong hands.”

Mims had a friend in Bishopville in the theatre business and from that friendship he developed an interest in a change of careers, from working in the hairdressing shop to being a theatre operator, and later a contractor. His Bishopville friend warned him not to settle in Edgefield and open a long closed theatre, but Mims’ perseverance and faith in God pulled him through.

Mims bought the theatre business located where the public library is now and where Belk’s used to be; however, the theatre building was owned by Miss Lilly Belle Adams. In 1945, a new theatre building was created on Buncombe Street as pictured on this page. The theatre design was completed by Mims’ and Saline’s son Mims Jr. when he was in the 7th grade. The theatre construction was Mims’ first in the area, which led to many projects and much local exposure.

Mobley Construction Company grew beyond the County into Augusta and Greenwood, where he built his son’s house.

Mims’ building projects include, but are not limited to, the following: Remodeled The Security Bank, remodeled the Edgefield Grade School; built homes for Jamisons, Frank Berry, Dave Brown, the Supervisor of Pine Tree Nursery, cottages at Clarks Hill Lake for the Yarboroughs and Holmeses, Dr. Mobley, the Russos, the. Pettigrews, Nita Tompkins, Vilma and Joe Timmerman, his own house on Brooks St., original EUMC parsonage, the Episcopal parsonage in Trenton, and others. 

He  built the Greenwood Clinic for his son, Dr. Mims Mobley. He repaired many a home as he did Sweetbriar, the country home place of his step-daughter Helen Feltham.

There are many stories associated with the theatre as it was a very popular destination. Many worked there under Mims or attended the theatre’s popular shows over the years.

One story that I will share involved a young man who “snuck” into the theatre. The grandmother found out and called Mims. Mr. Mobley walked down the aisles of the theatre with a special lit arrow, looking for an underaged lad. The young man was asked to leave!!

Mims featured some special movies including Gone With the Wind for an admission of $.75. 

The theatre was extremely popular and after it ceased to be a theatre it was bought by Virginia Kemp. Under the Kemp ownership it housed many a shop — a beauty shop as well as retail shops such as Magnolia’s and Petal Pushers. The building was most recently sold to the owners of Finders Keepers which today sells antiques and collectibles.