Nov 18, 2011

Around the Corner


Yesterday's post about the zoning hearing for Rite-Aid, out on North 7th Street, showed a classic 1950 black and white photograph of Hamilton Street. Today, we go right around the corner, on South 7th Street. Being the oldest blogger in the valley, and being an aficionado of old photographs, you will be submitted to these excursions. Before we begin, a few notes about yesterday's image. Notice that there are many more shoppers on the north side of Hamilton, than the south. This phenomenon always existed. Were the better stores on the north side? Real estate prices and rents were always higher on the Hess's side. OK, lets go around the corner. The Suburban Line Bus is getting ready to head west, the county poor home being the last stop; Today it is known as Cedarbrook. The Lehigh Valley Transit Company had their main stop a block west, on S. 8th Street. The bus is parked in front of the YMCA, which housed a market at street level. If the photograph was extended on the right side, you would see the monument. Across Hamilton Street is Whelan Drug Store, that location currently occupied by a bank. The billboard above, then advertising local Neuweiler Beer, was a prime sign location. Behind the drug store stands the Dime Bank, which will remain as part of the new transformational Arena Complex. Glad you could join me, now get off the bus, and back into 2011.

14 comments:

Bill said...

I like the old photographs. He who has no appreciation of the past has no understanding of what has shaped their world.

LVCI said...

We called it "The Dorney Park Bus". As I recall there only two, in the end, and both were owner operated.

michael molovinsky said...

lvci, i do not recall the bus. i do remember that the Y gym had a running track around it, and a heavy punching bag. over on 8th st., i sat in the lehigh valley transit waiting room often, waiting for the bus over to jefferson street. the only thing that really remains from that era are the parking meters and two stores. (one to close after the holidays)

Anonymous said...

In addition to the Hess's attraction for shoppers on the north side of Hamilton Street, you also have the weather factor. The north side of the street has a "southern exposure" making it sunnier and warmer than the south side of the street. This factor was validated in several shopper surveys done during the mid 1970s when Allentown had three department stores - Hess's, Leh's and Zollinger's - and a considerable number of banks, retailers and offices all along Hamilton Street / Hamilton Mall. While rents and property values were slightly lower on the south side of the street than the north side, they were still competitive and many fine businesses existed there for a long time. Always appreciate your "nostalgia filled" bus and trolley rides.
Friend of Hamilton Street

LVCI said...

"Y gym had a running track around it, and a heavy punching bag"

Yes the YMCA was quite the building at 7th & Hamilton. It had several floors. The gym also had gymnastic rings suspended from the ceiling, pommel horses, etc.

Some of the upper floors also had pool tables and ping pong tables, etc. And of course the Y day camp. I'm not sure but I think the camp was at the top of South Mountain on East Rock Road just as you turn left off Pike Ave (Route 145 / 4th street hill).

The pool was on the lower level and beneath that a bowling alley. There were 'pin boys' who'd spotted the pins by hand. Don't ask me why they'd put it under the pool, but the pool was known to dribble down on occasion.

They also had weight lifting rooms. The lifting room and pool areas were the two my dad hung out in and volunteered. It is where dad ran into Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) who came to the Y on his tour for a swimsuit company somewhere around 1930. Dad and he became acquaintances (long before I was born) and he moved out to California. Dad Managed to attend events with Weissmuller and Charlie Chaplin while he hung out in California. Frankly he had a little too good a time out of there with the women.. AND

Somewhere just before or after the 40's dad returned to Allentown. It was at this point he met my mother, who along with other girls, would hoot and holler at him from the windows of the Charis Garment Manufacturing Co... later it became Cata Garment on at 730 Linden Street. During WWII the Charis made parachutes for the war. Cata Garment closed on June 29, 1990 putting 150 employees out of work.

Shortly after they married my mother quit the Charis and my parents opened a Bakery at Front & Tilghman. Later a health food store on 7th street and he did a radio program on WSAN when it used to be at 10th & Linden about eating healthy foods. Mom did cooking classes. We hosted Red Cross parties at the house I grew up in which my dad and mom built by hand. Only the two of them. Alas enough. Pardon me, I've deviated from the subject of the 'Y'

Anonymous said...

great stuff.
thanks

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

MM, I am confused at what your upset about. Are you upset that downtown is not as vibrant as it was 60 years ago or the city is trying to return it to something vibrant? I mean lets be honest, downtown for the past 30 years has been anything but vibrant.

I think that we can both agree that something is broke and it was not working.

On a completely separate note, I think it is funny that a person who does not even live in Allentown has a blog about a city that they don't even live in. I do understand that you own property in the city as a landlord. Now if I was a landlord I would love to see the property values of my properties rise so that I can receive higher rents from my tenants. However you continue to condemn as you call it the "transformation". If you are happy with the way things are then fine, but I and 10s of thousands of my fellow Allentown residents are not. We do live in this city unlike yourself and we do care to see it grow and prosper. It is too bad that there are people who throw stones from outside the cities' borders.

michael molovinsky said...

dear future, since you are anonymous, we don't really know where you live. although you're correct that i don't currently live within the borders proper, my past, present and future is very much in allentown. if i moved here last week and rented an apartment in allentown, would i be more of an allentowian? if i lived within the borders, but never concerned myself with the issues of the city, as most people don't, would i be more of a citizen? fyi, this post is historical, not a commentary on current city policy. considering the meetings on the arena are scheduled after the fact, makes the general enthusiasm for the project hard to gauge. with only a few exceptions, most people in favor of the arena preferred a different location.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

"if i moved here last week and rented an apartment in allentown, would i be more of an allentowian? if i lived within the borders, but never concerned myself with the issues of the city, as most people don't, would i be more of a citizen?"

Yes as it wouldn't make you more of a Allentowian, it would make you one.

" considering the meetings on the arena are scheduled after the fact, makes the general enthusiasm for the project hard to gauge. with only a few exceptions, most people in favor of the arena preferred a different location."

You just contradicted yourself. How can you say you don't know the enthusiasm of the people then say you know what the majority people think?

Also, the arena is going to happen. Why not jump on board and support the opportunity to change the direction of the city instead of trying to kill it.

michael molovinsky said...

future, thanks for assigning me so much influence, but i can't kill the arena. i believe the plan was implemented in a manner which discounted the wishes of most allentowians. as for my gauge of the public, many people express their opinion to me. you may try to marginalize me by finding it funny that i live just beyond the border, but here you are, reading my blog. i'm all over allentown starting at 7:00 am every day, introduce yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mike, Isnt it Allentonian? Not sure just curious.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:34, yes, thank you.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

"Mike, Isnt it Allentonian? Not sure just curious."

"anon 6:34, yes, thank you.

HAHA I am glad someone else picked it out. I mocked him in my comment to reflect how much he is has a "Allentowian"

Anonymous said...

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee
>
And you, the jerk, who derides others for name calling.
Get back under the mayors desk, where you belong.