Chesterton Tribune

Remembering Chesterton in the 1940s

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Voice of the People

I remember vividly the downtown Chesterton of long ago. The first block of Broadway was interesting! My Ma, Dad and I first visited downtown Chesterton in the summer of 1936 when we came out from Gary on the New York Central train. We went back the same day the same way.

In Gary it was the Union station on Broadway just south of U.S. Steel Gary Works.

We at lunch at the southwest corner of Second St. and Broadway in Chesterton at a building they have torn down.

This building was moved to Chesterton from Tremont (City West). U.S. Senator Daniel Webster gave a speech in the building in 1845. He came here to explore using federal funds to connect the Little Calumet River to Lake Michigan by means of a canal. In 1925 Burns Ditch was built here.

The east half of Centier Bank was the A & P Grocery store from 1922 to 1949.

The west half of the present Centier Bank on the first block of Broadway was Harringtonís Meat Market. Mr. Harringtonís wife Ione, was a great supporter of Barry Goldwater in 1964. She was elected to the Republican National Committee! I worked at this A & P store part-time in 1947 to 1949. In the latter year Bill Carmichael graduated from CHS and became a manager-trainee at A & P. My, what an elegant item was Bill back then in his sparkling white shirt and neck tie!

The next building was the State Park Drugs run by the Bauer brothers.

The present Bank One building was three stores back then: Chesterton State Bank, U.S. Post Office and Mrs. Youngís Bakery.

Mrs. Young was a widow who lived in the old Martin Young house on the northwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Second St. She may have been married to the son or grandson of Martin Young. I donítí know.

The next building was Bartelís Hardware.

West of it is a one story building that is now Terry Heistandís law office. This was the Palace Movie Theatre in 1922 to 1942. At first it was called Derby Theatre. I saw a lot of great movies here from 1936 to 1942!

On the corner of Second St. and Broadway was the big Johnson Bldg. Here was Leslie Johnsonís grocery store. Upstairs was the dentist Robert Campbell. I remember often climbing these fateful stairs with a heavy heart! I didnít like going to the dentist although Dr. Campbell was kindly.

In 1942 the Aron movie theatre was built in the second block of Broadway and the Palace became a part of Bartelís Hardware next door.

In 1949 the A & P moved to a new building in the second block of Broadway where the Stamp place now is. I worked there part-time for a year.

Back in 1936 I remember Flanneryís Tavern and also Northside Lunch restaurant. They are still here after all these years! Congratulations!

The old New York Central Train Depot is still there! It is a charming building dating from 1914. In 1945 we got on the train in Chesterton and went clear to Buffalo, New York for my Uncle Gilbertís wedding.

Ed Gustafson,


P.S. The Tribune building is still here!


Posted 9/1/2005