The Book - Bart Beck

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MAIN STREET

FloodMain Street extended South from the North City Limits to the Post Office. It was then St.Joe Street to the bridge, by the Sillman House. Then it became Flint Avenue to the Railroad tracks; then Sixth Street to the south city limits. The north and south city limits are pretty much the same today, as they were in 1920.

Some of the business places that I remember being on the main street (St Joe Street) were an A&P Store, on the east side, near the south end, that was managed by Jess. Hoover. Joe Heidamos and Henry Cramer each had a barber shop, also on the east side of the street. There were three other grocery stores, besides the A&P, in the main business block. Erv Bingaman and Ed Ash each had one on the west side, Marietti & Titta had their's on the east side, up near the north end, and Avery's was around the corner, on Portage Avenue. Marrietti and Titta later moved to the Avery location. Maretti and Titta was the only Grocery that bought, or traded for, the farmer's cream. There were two Five & Ten Cent Stores, Robin's and Miller's. There were two Bakeries, the Quality and the Modern. The Quality was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Bell and was located on the west side, pretty well to the south end. It must have been about 1930 that the Bells sold the business and later operated a neighborhood store on West Street, in the First Ward.

There were at least two Meat Markets. One was Frank Easterbrook's and the other was owned, I think, by either Bill Barnhardt or a Mr. Burns. They both worked there and I guess that I never did know who actually owned the market. Easterbrook's was on the west side, very near the south end of the block, and the other one was about mid way, on the east side. There was also another Meat Market at the Packing House. The Packing House was one of the important businesses in town, located on the North side of the St.Joe River, just below the Wood Street Dam. This was a Slaughter House and a retail meat market. It was owned and operated by Elgin Dougherty. The area is now the site of the Brigewater Apartments.

Down the street from the Packing House, where Middle Street, at that time, ended was a suspension foot bridge, across the St.Joe River. At the South end of this bridge was Merrit's Photographic Studio. A restaurant now occupies that building.

Some of the other businesses around town were, Bonfoey and Worline Dairy. They delivered milk, house to house, every morning, in glass bottles. Milk, at that time was not homogenized, so after it sat for a time, the cream would rise to the top and could be seen through the glass. If allowed to set outside for very long. on a cold morning, the milk would freeze and push the cream, an inch or more, out of the top of the bottle. We did not have paper milk cartons until about 1941.

There were two banks in the main business block, the First State and the First National. The First State was located in the Flat Iron Building at the intersection of Portage and St.Joe Streets, and had a branch in the group of stores in Lockport. The First National was located where the steps are now that lead to the West Side Parking Lot.

Campbell's Drug Store was on the east side, of the street, pretty well toward the north end, very close to where the news paper (Commercial) was printed. Jay Bullock had a Drug Store in Lockport and Seekle's had a Feed Store across the street, beside the railroad. Withers and Neighbors had an Ice Cream Plant at the North end of Constantine Street.

E.J.Buys and J.M.Pauli each had men's clothing stores on the west side of the street, and the Rex Theater was where the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store is now.

There were, also two hotels on the Main Street. The Three Rivers House was where the First National Bank now stands, and the Central House was on the southeast corner of the main intersection, where the Soldiers Monument stood. Enos Rank, at one time or another, had a barber shop in each of those hotels.

I can remember "Jess" Everhart, who was the Deputy City Policeman, under Charley Salsbury, trying to direct traffic around the monument, on a Saturday night, when traffic conditions were at their worst. There was, at that time, only one regular city policeman, and he was the Chief.

F.W.Balch and Son (Willard) had a furniture store and funeral parlor on the west side of the street, and Malbone's Hardware was at the southeast corner of the intersection of Portage and St.Joe Streets. Malbone sold hardware and furniture, but no funerals. In fact, shortly after Louise and I were married we bought an over-stuffed chair from Malbones that is still in every day use. It has been re-upholstered, no telling how many times, but the original frame is still there. We paid eight dollars for it in 1933.

Around the corner from Melbone's was Charley Detwiler's Bicycle Shop. There was another bicycle shop (Miller's) that was located in a very narrow building, at the south end of the Flint Avenue bridge. That building has since been made part of the larger building. That shop is where my first bicycle came from.

Just to the East of Miller's Bicycle Shop, on Portage Ave., was Buzzer Knapp's News Agency, Avery's Grocery and John Hackenberg's Auto Sales. You talk about a three time looser, John was a four time looser. He was the Dealer for the Willys Knight, the Overland, the Maxwell and the Chalmers. Dukette, Wright and Hall were the Ford Dealers and were located on the Southwest corner of the intersection where St.Joe Street, Third Avenue, Flint Avenue, North Street and the Civil War Monument came together.

The Yorton Chevrolet & Studebaker Sales was on the east side of Main Street, opposite the present Commercial News Building. Yortons had the first gasoline pump, that I can remember. It sat, all alone, out in front of the garage, near the street. I don't remember where people bought gasoline before Yorton's gas pump, but I do know that kerosene, for lamps, was purchased at the grocery store. It was pumped out of a barrel, with a hand pump, and for some reason there never was a cap for the small spout, on the can that the "coal oil" was pumped into. They always stuck a potato on it. I am not sure which was the first true filling station, in Three Rivers, but it was either Billy Barton's on Flint Avenue (Broker's) or Paul Hagenbaugh's, on the northeast corner of Main and Prutzman. They were both Standard Oil and were built at about the same time.

Fire DepartmentI can remember when we would come from Marcellus, to visit my Grandparents, the Fire House was located where Yortons, later built their Garage. That was before 1920, however. Some time later the Fire Department was moved to a brick building, on Flint Avenue, just north of the Shell Filling Station. That was also right across the street from the American House Hotel.

There was, at that time, still evidence of the old Mill Race that brought the water from the Wood Street Dam, to the Water Wheels, somewhere within the Fairbanks Morse Plant, on Fourth Street.

Willard and Lloyd Kauszler bought Cook's Hardware in about 1922 and it operated under the name of Kauszler Brothers Hardware until 1987, when the younger generation of Kauszlers moved the business out on the By-Pass, and affiliated it with the DO-IT chain of Hardwares. There was another Hardware Store that I almost forgot about. The Dimmick Brothers had one that was located in back of the Post Office, where the Drive-in Bank, parking lot is now. Theirs was a Hardware and Feed Store.

Wirt Hazen's Lumber Yard was on the south side of North Street (West Michigan) between the Ford Garage and the Railroad. The other lumber yard was Corlett and Stone, and they were located on Flint Avenue, where Huddleston's is now.

Around the corner, on West Street, was a Blacksmith Shop. Next to the Blacksmith Shop was one of the City Tie Sheds. The other Sheds were in the alley east of St.Joe Street, where the parking area is now. These Tie Sheds were provided by the City as a place for the farmers to, safely, leave their horses and wagons, or sleighs, while they were in town doing their "trading". The term, trading is still used, by some of us older people, as a reference to the buying of groceries. However, at that time, farmers actually did do their trading, when they came to town, usually on Saturdays.

Cigar StoreAlso, on St.Joe Street was Charley Boyer's News Stand and three Cigar Stores, Charley Mallo's, Fred Roher's, and Carl Klocke's. They were really cigar stores, because cigars were actually made there, by hand.

Most of the medical doctors , although not right on the main street of the town, were very close to the city center. Dr. O'Dell (Bill's Dad), Dr.Fenestermacher and Dr. Scidmore were on Portage Avenue, Dr. Dean was where the main office of the American (Old Kent) Bank is now. Dr. Blood was on Sixth Street, in Lockport and Dr. Kingsley was just North of the old Library Building.

Download a high resolution picture of the Fire Department for printing.

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