Jun 272012

The A.Z. Palmer and Sons Store

By Naomi Hatch —

The Taylor Museum was a store for many years, providing residents with merchandise necessary for everyday life, as well as ranching and farming supplies. It was also a place where people met and visited.

Alma Zemira Palmer moved from Snowflake to Taylor in 1895, and opened the doors of the A.Z. Palmer and Sons Store in 1914. He sold just about anything a person needed. The store closed in 1925 when Palmer’s son Arthur was called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Palmer store installed a gas pump later to provide gasoline for those few automobiles in the area during that time. It served as the Taylor Post Office from 1915 to 1926, after being moved from Myrtle Wakefield’s home.

Ice was stored in the winter and would often be used in the summer to make ice cream. Old timers met on the south side of the store to toss horseshoes.

Because of Palmer’s personality, the store became somewhat of a bank for the community. The late Roy Palmer, grandson of A.Z., told how a man came to the store with $1,000 in gold and asked Palmer to keep it until he needed the money. He got no receipt and did not state when he would be back for the money.

Reed and Bert Hatch opened it as Hatch Brothers General Store in 1945, which closed its doors in the early 1980s.

Little was known of the 20 years between those two eras. Dixie Amberson, daughter of George Phineous and Dora Palmer Hatch, shared her memories of her parents and the G&D Hatch mercantile.

During that period of time the store was truly a Palmer/Hatch store, because George was the son of John and Mary Jane Standifird Hatch, while Dora was the daughter of A.Z. Palmer.

George started operating an ice cream parlor in the corner of his dad’s store. A.Z. Palmer died in 1925, and each of his nine children inherited one-ninth of the store. By 1925 George and Dora began buying the store from the other children. George’s Uncle John Palmer was postmaster and George was his assistant until 1928 when he was appointed postmaster.

George and Dora sold the store in 1932 to Reed and Bert Hatch, brothers and businessmen, and owners of the J.T. Cooper store in 1937. They added a service station, motel and cafe, and in the 1950s they expanded their business, operating a garage and cafe in Snowflake.

In 1956, Lloyd and Mildred Hatch Willis took over the store. Mildred is Reed’s daughter.

The Hatch Store was the primary mercantile until it closed in 1980.

Both the Palmer and Hatch stores took an egg or a nickel from kids for a handful of candy. Many residents still remember congregating at the store to catch up on the local news.

In 2001, the Town of Taylor purchased the store and the Taylor/Shumway Heritage Foundation restored it, making it a memorial to the early pioneers who settled Taylor and a historic site in which all can take pride.

On the south wall is a mural painted by Peggy Rogers that depicts the history of Taylor. There is an old shopping cart and an antique gas pump that was donated by the Roy Palmer family, and the Veterans Memorial which lists the names of all those who left for active duty from Taylor.

The store is now the Taylor Museum and Visitor Center, located at the intersection of Main and Center streets. It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. The museum is regularly open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily except Sunday.

Photo by Naomi Hatch -- The A.Z. Palmer and Sons Store opened in 1914 in Taylor. The structure now serves the community as the Taylor Museum and Visitor Center.