A downtown Sherman staple is closing his doors and turning off his striped barber’s pole for the last time after more than six decades in the city. Barber Dale Hill announced he would be closing shop, ending a 65 year legacy in the city of Sherman.
Hill said a period of illness that led him to close shop temporarily, but he now plans to close his long-time Travis Street location permanently.
Friends, family and long-time customers crowded Grayson Hall Tuesday afternoon to wish Hill well in his retirement and to recount his decades of service to the community. The reception was capped off by a proclamation by Mayor David Plyler who declared Jan. 21 as Dale Hill day.
Throughout Tuesday’s reception, Hill recalled first haircuts for many of the people in attendance. In some cases, he recalled trims given to the fathers and grandfathers of some men now old enough to have grandchildren of their own.
Friends said Hill served as an unofficial and impromptu therapist for generations of people who took a seat in his chair. He would often chat over everything from current events to local sports among other topics.
Hill started studying to be a barber in Dallas after military service during the Korean War. Hill opened his first shop at 102 W. Pecan in 1955. Early on, Hill maintained three barber’s chairs before downsizing to a single-chair barbershop that became his standard.
“I got to the point that I couldn’t get the barbers that I wanted, so I went off on my own with one chair,” he said.
Hill later moved into a second shop in the Texas Hotel and operated in the location when the hotel burned in 1967. Hill was able to save the single barber’s chair from being lost in the blaze.
Tuesday gave Plyler the opportunity to reminisce about the many stores that have come and gone in downtown Sherman over the years. Yet in all that time, Hill’s shop remained open.
“The great thing about downtown is it continues to change, it continues to be loved and is a real economic driver,” Plyler said. “We have new restaurants opening all the time, but it is a sad day when we lose one of our landmarks, really.”
Beyond his work as a barber, Plyler and others commended Hill for his continued support of children across the region working in his other passion: livestock and ranching. Hill is a lifetime member of the Texoma Exposition and Livestock Show.
Public Safety Assistant Laura Barajas said she became close friends with Hill while doing her rounds around downtown Sherman. Often she would stop by the shop for a visit and Hill would offer her orange juice.
“If he wasn’t cutting someone’s hair, he would ask, ‘What’s your hurry’,” she said.
Before Tuesday’s reception, Barajas stopped by the shop to turn on the barber’s pole one last time. As she stepped out of the shop, she was stopped by someone who thought that Hill had returned from his extended absence.
“I’d check in about twice a week because there isn’t a day that goes by that people aren’t asking about him,” she said.