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This past week I had some business in Downtown Hammond and had parked my car near St. Margaret Hospital and walked to where I was supposed to go. On the way I had a chance to observe Hammond as it is today, compared to the Downtown Hammond of yesteryear.
Today Downtown Hammond is a mere shadow of what it once was at Christmas Time. Way back when, I used to go into the downtown area and actually get all my Christmas shopping done.I would take my younger sister on the bus and and stop near Walgreens and we would go into Goldblats and do most of our shopping. We would check out the store windows of Goldblats, just like Ralphie Parker in ‘A Christmas Story,’ I swear that the showcase in that movie was once used in Goldblats, sometime in the 1950′s or 1960′s.
If we couldn’t find anything in Goldblats, we always had Penny’s or Woolworth’s to fall back on. If you wanted to there was Minas on State Street to hustle over to.
Lunch was eaten at Walgreens, since the store than had a cafe. If you wanted you could go to Quickie Snack on Hohman and Clinton (I think) They bad the most greasy hamburgers that I could remember. A real heart stopper, but oh so good!
After a few hours and all the shopping done, there was the bus ride back home. All of this done within a few miles from home.
These days Downtown Hammond is mostly business like lawyers, banks, and hospitals. There has been some efforts underfoot to try and revive downtown, but in this economy, it will be slow going. I doubt that it will ever be the same again, unfortunately. We need to think lo locally and find ways to bring commerce and visiters back to our downtown areas. It can only happen with each of us supporting those businesses that try to make it in those abandoned areas of our past.
Last year, I wrote about the pending demolition of the Masonic Temple in Downtown Hammond. Seems like it never came to pass. The reason. Some wanted the highly decorated fresco preserved before the building would be torn down.
Finally, an agreement was reached that would save the artwork. Where it will go, once saved is anybodies guess, but I am glad it will be saved.
Maybe the Hammond Public Library will save it like it did to the old Goldblatts Clock that now hangs over the stairs in the library. Maybe the Jean Sheppard center could find a place for it. Or the Visitors Center off the expressway.
Anyway, it’s a valuable piece of Hammond’s past and I’m sure it will be saved and put in an appropriate place for all of us to enjoy, long after the rest of the building is torn down, later this year.
I’ve been able to keep up with writing the blog so far, despite my busy schedule!
Here’s another blast from the past!
Since the Christmas Season has just passed, I thought I’d mention something about growing up in Hammond during the best time of the year.
Many of us Region Rats know about Marshal Field and their Christmas Windows in the Loop. But do you remember the window display at the Downtown Hammond Goldblat Store.
Certainly not as large as the Field display, it never the less was as well done and as animated as the famous one in Chicago.
You would be able to see Santa, trains, angels, and other characters, skating, giving and getting gifts with arms and legs moving and dancing around. It was a sight to behold. The window diplay lasted as long as the store existed; until the 1980′s.
It was one of the must see sights of the season for anyone living in the Calumet area, from the 1930′s to it’s, and the store’s final demise.