The Elephant in Iron Bank

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Walking into Chancellors Men’s Store in Uptown Columbus, you get a strong sense of history: from the wood floors to the old newspaper clippings, to the authentic vintage shoe shine chairs present since the beginning of the shop.

A lot of history and stories hidden away in minds, or settled under dusty papers.

Roger Stinson, owner of the shop, is full to the brim of stories from the original owners. And can you believe it, one story hardly known is one about Patton, owner A.C. Chancellor, Iron Bank and an elephant!

“There some other interesting WWII history” begins Roger, “his son, Chancellor Sr., he liked to drink. And he met this flamboyant personality guy at Ft. Benning and rose quickly though the ranks. He was a no nonsense guy in the military but outside he liked to party. And he’d come in there two three afternoons a week and go to a vault room.”

He brings us back to what is now a storage closest near the back of the store.

“And come back here and take shots of whiskey and play practical jokes on business men. You can see this is an old vault. Mr. Chancellor kept his whiskey on this shelf right here, this same shelf. And get just smashed. His name was George Smith Patton! In the late 30’s, early 40’s they would come in here. And they became great friends. You know the old iron bank. It was actually a bank at one time and the circus was in town. And they thought it would be funny to bring in a baby elephant and walk it into the lobby as a joke. So they walked it up in the street and up the steps into the bank lobby and they had their laugh. But the joke was on them, because he wouldn’t go back down the steps and spent the night in the lobby! Made a horrible mess! General Patton and Chancellor had to pay to have the mess cleaned up and the circus came in the next morning and got the baby elephant out.”

Read more on the history of Chancellors Men’s Store, here.

*Hearts of the South is a new photojournalism project by photographer, Christina Paz Photography. Click for more of her pictures, here.*

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