Tuesday, June 28, 2005

To Quote Petula Clark: You Can Always Go -- Downtown

Thanks, Dave, for setting this up. For my first contribution, I'd like to offer a reminiscence from childhood. After half-day kindergarten at Pleasant Hill, my mom and I used to get the bus on North Milton and ride it downtown. From there, shopping at the K-Mart at Fifth and Adams, maybe the JC Penney store across from the Old State Capitol (at least I recall it being a Penney's; then I think it was temporarily the main branch of Lincoln Library until its current building was built); often it was lunch at Steak 'n' Shake on 6th Street, or maybe the Woolworth's lunch counter. In later years, my favorite stop was a record store on South Fifth (right in the area where Bridge Jewerly and Bentoh's are now); I can't think of the name of it, but I bought an awful lot of LPs there.

Favorite memories of downtown Springfield?


Blogger Dave said...

Does anyone remember, and I'm sure I'm mispelling this, Mrs. Schikilgruber's Department Store? It was, I think, on Monroe, maybe between 5th and 6th. I'm just not sure. Anyway, it was a novelty store in the early to mid 1970's before Spencer's and the mall.

I remember being in there with some friends when I was maybe 13. The guy at the store showed us, from under the counter, gasp, a three-cupped bra! Holy shit, we laughed and giggled.

Gosh, like Jim we used to hop on the bus and head downtown for all the shops. I liked the military surplus shop. i want to say it was called Cannon's but I may be way off on that.

We used to eat at the Steak'N'Shake down there too. A grilled cheese and a shake cost $1.05 with tax in about 1973 (and, I know, my food intersts were very limited back then).

And for what it's worth, Petula Clark's "Downtown" is actually one of the first pop songs I remember from the time it was a hit (I was 4 or 5). The station my parents listened to played it and I actually thought I could relate based on downtown Springfield.

10:40 PM  
Blogger JeromeProphet said...

The Lincoln Library was on the south side of the Old State Capitol square. I believe it was located where Prarie Archives is today - or just next door to the east of it.

It didn't hold all the books the Carnegie Library held, as it was just a quick fix until the present library was opened. There was a basement level in addition to the main level. I remember going into the basement of the temp library, and finding a quiet place to delve into the stacks.

Speaking of the Carnegie Library, I loved going there as a child (with Dave no less on several occassions).

The glass floors always made me a bit nervous, but the place was cool with the spiral staircases, very cozy, and victorian all at once.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Man, we could do a whole thread on the old library. I loved that place. I still can't believe they tore it down. I'll try to dig up some old pictures and get them posted here some time.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Glass Floor Stacks

The Temporary Main Branch

I found these pictures in a Powerpoint file on the city's webserver. Here's a link to the file (it's 50mb, so it may take a while to download). If you don't have Powerpoint, let me know and I'll scrape some more pictures out of it.

Powerpoint File

10:05 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Thanks Russ! I'm going to start a new post on the old library tonight (time permitting). Great photos. I'll get some of them posted. Thanks again.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I loved that temporary main branch on the Capitol Plaza! I don't really remember the main branch building before that.

I'm still trying to remember the name of the record store on South Fifth!

Oh, and other downtown stores. The Myers Brothers store on Fifth always kind of weirded me out. My recollection is that it was too quiet and sedate. I was used to stores being like the K-Mart, where kids made noise and played with stuff from the toy department in the aisles. I always felt like if you made noise in the Myers Bros. building, one of the Myers brothers was going to come and drag you out of there.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

You know, what I (or someone)should do is make a regular visit to the library and look in the old phone books they have there to resolve issues brought on this blog. We could solve the mystery of Jim's record store and, for me, where Mrs Schikilgruber's was and how it was spelled.

I know, none of this is THAT important but it is damn fun.

1:33 PM  
Blogger SybilShade said...

Hey, do you guys remember Capital Q Billiards?

My dad used to work the night shift and my mom worked days, so whenever I got the joyous opportunity to stay home sick from good old St. Patrick's I was left in Dad's hands. By lunchtime, he would get bored of sitting around the house, so he'd take me downtown to play pool. Sadly, I can only remember it very vaguely as a smoky room (which was the norm then, of course) with six or nine tables and shaded/colored windows. I think it faced the old state capitol. What I do remember is learning to shoot the perfect bank shot while watching over Dad's shoulder for the dreaded truancy officer.

Cool, huh? But was that truancy officer real or just something parents invented to scare kids?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Damn, I'm not going to get to post the library thing tonight. I'll try again tomorrow.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were 2 or 3 record stores downtown weren't there? One of them was The Platter. They used to have punch cards, for 45's I think, where you could buy 8 or 10 and then get one free.

I remember Penney's on the south side of the mall, and that it did become the temporary home of the library. I also remember from around the same location and time period a store called Sangamon County Dry Goods, one of the owners was I believe a Myer's Brothers son. It was a PennyLane-type of of store. You could get new LPs there for about 3.99, I remember picking up Pearl (Joplin) and Mudslide Slim (Taylor) and Paranoid (Black Sabbath) as brand new releases there. And underground comix!

4:41 AM  
Blogger BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Does anyone remember Judy Lynn's? It looked like an ice cream parlor inside but I remember that the big treat was to get a glass of orange juice. It must have been freshly squeezed, not unlike Judy herself.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capital "Q" Billiards faced 4th street and you had to climb a stair case to the second floor.It was located directly behind the Hardees on 5th that I'm not sure if it still is there.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

record shop was the "music shop"

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when I was in 8th grade ('68-'69), my friend's family moved from Auburn (my home town) to Springfield to Garden Court (it was really a nice neighborhood back then). We used to take the bus to downtown and shop (by ourselves....I can't imagine letting kids do that by themselves nowadays). I remember going to Kresge's (I think it was called) and eating lunch at Sandy's (didn't those all become Hardees?). Also during my childhood in the 60's, I remember my Mom taking my sister and me to Three Sisters to shop for school clothes. I remember in High School in the early 70's, coming to Springfield downtown (pre-White Oaks Mall) to shop the stores for my special dress for the school dance (various dances). I remember Bressmer's (Of course) and Herndon's and Myers and others that I can't remember their names. And there was a fabric store downtown that my older sister and I used to go into (we both were taught to sew at an early age).

10:03 AM  
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12:48 PM  
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2:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking for the name of a department store located on a corner downtown (not sure which one). I am too young to remember it well. It closed in the mid 80s. I remember it had 4 or 5 floors with kids clothing on the top floor. Can anyone help?

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the store called Myers Brothers? There was Barkers, Herndons, Bressmers, Rolands and Myers Brothers. There was also a Goldblattes on the out skirts.

4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When speaking of downtown, one cannot leave out B & Z Bakery!! It was the BEST bakery in town. Every year, for my birthday, I asked for their lemon cake. OMG, heaven on a fork!!
When my girlfriends and I would take the bus downtown, we would go there for a cookie or cream horn and to Myers Brothers for rock candy. lol

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steinburg and Baum on 9th where A &P now Aldis is at ....Recycled Records ...Spfld Skating Stadium on Taylor

12:42 AM  
Blogger Ann Wingender said...

I loved that song.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does anybody remember Hills Brother shoes and the Red Barn?

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hills Brothers Shoes "Two for Five Man Alive" was their radio jingle.

3:57 PM  

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