Community Spotlight – Drexel

Picking at the Barber Shop every Thursday-Saturday mornings.

While much has come and gone in Drexel over the years, the Drexel Barber Shop has remained a constant. Lawrence Anthony started it across the railroad tracks in 1949. Most of us older folks can remember sitting in that tiny smoke-filled shop listening to our dads as we patiently—or not—waited for a buzz. If I’m not mistaken, there was a shower back in a backroom somewhere for guys needing to clean up after a day in the factory. Anyway, it seems like the wait for a haircut was hours, as the room was usually packed with men and boys (and maybe women) and one or two barbers who all had a lot to say.

In my memory, Lawrence Anthony was the mainstay. He owned the shop. Other barbers joined him periodically, as I remember, but eventually David Shirley joined him as “the new kid.” David’s arrival may or may not have been before Lawrence moved to his current location.

I remember when long hair was “in” in the mid-60s, and men just didn’t get haircuts as often. Somewhere in time, Police Chief Bill Lippard and Lawrence started playing their musical instruments together in the evenings. The tradition of music-making continues to this day through the efforts of that kid David Shirley, Lawrence’s son Carroll, and a multitude of musicians who have come through the doors over the years.

Those stopping in the shop are welcomed by David, offered a cup of coffee and whatever breakfast goodies people like Geraldine have cooked up. You will get a tour of the place, you will hear at least one or ten corny jokes, and you will see and hear the guys (and ladies!) playing some of the best music you can imagine. Visitors are encouraged to join the pickers and singers, and if you check out the guestbook you will see musicians from all over the globe.

Article by Dan Hoyle, a Drexel Native and Retired School Principal. Dan is also a founding member of Grow with Drexel. The community group is working to breathe new life into the small town and is a great partner to Burke River Trail.

Not only is the Barber Shop a stop on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC and is on the route of Burke River Trail!