Milner Barbershop History
Frank Milner's Barbershop
Milner’s barbershop played an important part in the early Allensworth community. The men of the town met at Milner’s to argue over "all manner of agreements and disagreements." (Armilda Archer Smith noted that "Women didn’t go in barbershops in those days.") The community orchestra, organized by Joshua Singleton, practiced in the shop.
A neat barber shop is operated by Mr. Frank Milner, a young man of energy and tact, who came here to visit the colony about three years ago, and never left. He is one of the young men of the race that many about the cities might emulate success. Mr. Milner also owns several pieces of outlying land.Frank Milner arrived in Allensworth from the Bay Area in 1911 and set up his first barbershop in a small frame house. In 1914, he built a concrete block structure on this site. Josephine Hackett recalled its construction:
The California Eagle, October 3, 1914
The Milner barber shop is first class in its accomodations. Plans are already drawn for a large building, the sand and molds being on the ground for the creation of a cement block house, containing barber shop, pool room, bath, cigar business acumen and a valuable asset to Allensworth.
The Oakland Sunshine, December 27, 1913
Mr. Milner and helpers mixed sand and cement together, poured the mix into a press, and soon a rectangular block would be formed. As these became dry and firm enough to hold together, they were put into place to form the walls of the building. A large picture window was installed in the front wall, and a stationary barber’s pole was cemented into a hole just outside the front door and painted with the customary red and blue stripes.In the early 1920s, as Allensworth’s economic problems grew, some of the settlers moved on. By 1924, Frank Milner had established his barbershop in Tulare. He was in business there for many years, and among his customers were men who had once been his neighbors in Allensworth.
The concrete blocks used to build Milner's barbershop were created using a Wizard Automatic concrete block machine, seen below. A "standard plain face" face plate was inserted into the machine to obtain the desired look.
Pictured below is the only remaining concrete block from Frank Milner's barbershop. It was recovered during excavation.