Some know me as the "peat bog gal" who finds out about Summit County and Olde Route Eight's chain of lakes.
These former peat bogs were dug up for topsoil profits by property owners. One of those smart businessmen was Bill Lockhart, whose peat bog lake was the town skating pond for years.
In 1927, at Olde Eight and Route 82, Lockhart put up a group of buildings named The Eleanor Block after his daughter Eleanor. Nearby Leonard Street was named for son Leonard. That year, the 1909 Town Hall gazed down on new construction.
Tales from the 1930's and '40's take me back to farming community life, where store signs said "Closed Sundays," "Skirt not Slacks," and "Run up bills and pay when you have the cash," was a saying.
A doctor's bill was often paid with chickens.
People were independent and honest. The local motto "make do or do without" applied to new clothes or inside bathrooms.
Mrs. Bernie Walsh recalled when her family piled into their car and shopped in Bedford. Then they visited a Bedford relative, "and we all had a bath."
Generations ago, The Eleanor Block had two grocery stores. Was there a grocery war? No, each store carried different brands. Grapevine by clerks and customers created news at each store. Newcomers furnished lively tidbits to discuss.
The Eleanor Block was home to the following:
ACME Grocery -- Bill Mills, proprietor. Bring your own jug and get it filled with vinegar. Back then Northfield pickled and canned everything.
Hanson Hardware -- Joe Hanson, owner, fixed things and did repair work all over town. Craig Meyer ran the hardware store.
On the second floor were Joe Hanson's apartment and Dr. McCullough's office and apartment. Plump, with bushy eyebrows, Doc McCullough was easily recognized as he drove on house calls or you would "meet me at my office." Kids who climbed the stairs to see Doc were rewarded with a Tittle's ice cream cone arranged by Dr. McCullough.
At Tittle's Drug Store, young Joe Chevrier found romance with Ruth Cabot, who dipped ice cream at the soda fountain. Near the entrance, the cigarette counter held a 5-cent slot machine.
Stanley's Meat Market, where muscular Stanley Plevny was the butcher.
Macedonia-Northfield Banking Co. --- In an emergency, manager Lee Beers pressed a hidden button; a bell rang in the meat market next door and Stanley called the police.
Max Klein -- clothing and tailoring.
Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) -- Full shelves rose to the ceiling. Manager "Jenkins" used a long pole or a rolling stepladder.
Macedonia-Northfield Post Office -- Rose Novotny Agee was the Postmistress.
Barber Shop and Beauty Shop -- operated by German born Joe and Rose Regauer.
This information was provided thanks to the Boultons, the Wrights, Bernie Walsh and Bessie Goosman's book "History of Olde Northfield."
(I feel like celebrating or doing victory laps because I learned about such delightful, plucky, practical folks who thrived and survived the Great Depression and World War II.)