Apr 13, 2009

Flash From Past


Occasionally, some of the older boys in Lehigh Parkway would get saddled with taking me along to a Saturday matinee in downtown Allentown. We would get the trolley, in later years a bus, from in front of the basement church on Jefferson Street. It would take that congregation many years to afford completing the church building there today. The trolley or bus would go across the 8th Street Bridge, which was built to accommodate the trolleys operated by Lehigh Valley Transit Company. Downtown then sported no less than five movie theaters at any one time. Particularly matinee friendly was the Midway, in the 600 Block of Hamilton. Three cartoons and episode or two of Flash Gordon entertained our entourage, which ranged in age from five to eleven years old. We younger kids, although delighted by the likes of Bugs Bunny, were confused how the Clay People would emerge from the walls in the caves on Mars to capture Captain Gordon, but our chaperones couldn't wait till the next week to learn Flash's fate. Next on the itinerary was usually a banana split at Woolworth's. Hamilton Street had three 5 and 10's, with a million things for boys to marvel at. The price of the sundae was a game of chance, with the customer picking a balloon. Inside the balloon was your price, anywhere from a penny to the full price of fifty cents. The store had a full selection of Allentown souvenirs. Pictures of West Park on a plate, the Center Square Monument on a glass, pennants to hang on your wall, and picture postcards of all the attractions. Hamilton Street was mobbed, and even the side streets were crowded with busy stores. Taking younger kids along was a responsibility for the older brothers, the streets and stores were crowded, but predators were limited to the Clay People on the silver screen.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

now everyone can fake it at the Promenade shops!

Chris Casey said...

Hey Mike, did you ever see the public bathrooms that are supposedly underground at 7th and Hamilton? I'm just curious.

michael molovinsky said...

i believe i recall the entrances, but i was never in them. i did go to the ymca which was offset on the southwest corner, guys would train to box there. the five and dime, Woolworth's, also had shopping in the basement level. stores stretched from 4th to 12th, also along walnut and linden street and the numbered blocks between. 7th st. out to washington. Sears was on 7th at the current rite-aid, just pass tilghman.

LVCI said...

The Rialto was packed "EVERY" for it's strictly kid's matinees @ 1:00 pm. While most kids didn't realize it at the time. It was the cheapest babysitter in town!

Sears- 7th & Allen Streets + Farm Store