Gewalt writes: "This was forwarded to me by an old friend and
I thought you might enjoy it. I grew up in Racine during that period
so it resonates. I don’t know who wrote it."
Thanks to Vyto Kapocius
and his Park High School classmates for this great collection of
More memories added by Dennis A. Mayer of Green Bay, June 2009.
More memories added by Jon Aceto, December
of Post-War Racine
Late 1940s to Mid 1950s
1. Fourth of
July Fireworks at Washington Park Golf Course and the swaying bridge
crossing Root River
2. Parades with
Racine's musical units -- the Elks Band, Boy Scouts, Kilties and
Boys of 76, Johnsons Wax Band, Park Board Band
3. Sun bathing
at North Beach during the day and bonfire beach parties at night
4. Reggies Roller
Rink at North Beach
au natural at the quarry on Northwestern Avenue
6. Rialto and
Venetian, Uptown, Capitol, Crown, Badger, Main Street and Douglas
7. Radio station
WRAC and Saturday Morning Teen Time Program
8. Ethnic programs
such as Peder Bachs Danish hour and the Kurier Polski Programma
9. Fibber McGee
and Molly radio program (sponsored by S C Johnsons Wax) broadcast
from Memorial Hall
stores -Zahns, Fantles, Racine Dry Goods,(had elevators) and Penneys,
Sears, Fish Furniture, Eitels, Thrifty Mac, Gosieskis Music, Lulevich
Jewelry, Mezinis Photography, Ace Pool Hall, Thrifty Sandys (Very
nice Lionel Train Store )
ponds on Monument Square
Root Beer stand and carhops on 12th Street
hamburgers for 25 cents and root beer for a nickel
14. Dutch Maid
ice cream shops on Wisconsin Ave and Washington Ave
15. The Spot
ice cream store at 11th and Herrick, Cho-Chos ice cream push-ups,
Sammy ice cream bars
16. Public Fruit
Markets on Main, 6th Street and Washington Avenue
numbers that began with Jackson and Prospect
who connected calls before dial phones
19. Racine Zoo
concerts by the Park Board Band on Sundays in the summer
20. The UW-Racine
Extension Center Student Union in Memorial Hall
21. Post Prom
Dances with big bands such as Stan Kenton and Count Basie
22. Friday night
dances with Jim Frosethas band at the Y at 4th and Wisconsin after
high school football and basketball games
23. Formal dances
at South Hills Country Club
24. North Shore
Metroliners and the Chicago NorthWestern
(North Shore Electroliners plus North Western passenger trains,
per Dennis Mayer)
from Kenosha to Milwaukee operating along Wisconsin Ave., Main Street,
State and Douglas
Express Agency delivery trucks
27. Wind Point
28. Perch fishing
off the north or south piers
Field football games on Saturdays between the four junior high schools-McKinley,
Washington, Mitchell and Franklin
30. Ice skating
in the Park bowl and warming shed at end of Valley Drive
at Washington Park, sledding down Chicago Street hill.
32. Tennis courts
behind Park High
33. Park Center
Park ski jump
35. Pizza restaurants
Charlies, Brushas (pencil sketches courtesy of Flint Morrison) and
36. All you
can eat chicken at Kilbourn Gardens
the loop down Main Street and turning around after the bridge at
W. H. Pugh station
38. The Three-mile
Reef Lighthouse and harbor fog horns
39. Blue suede
shoes or bucks, charcoal trousers (pegged at 14 inches), pink shirt
and blue sport coat
40. Old Horlicks
Dam/ Horlicks Malted Milk plant
41. Water tower
along Chicago NorthWestern tracks at 9th Street
42. Howell and
43. Friday night
dances for junior high students at the Washington Park recreation
center, admission 10 cents
44. Two way
traffic on Sixth and Seventh Streets
45. Nash, Crosleys,
Packards, Studebakers, Kaiser, Frazer, Hudsons, Plymouths, Metros,
Edsels and fins on practically every car in the late 50s
46. Old Abe
Eagle atop a post at the J I Case Clausen Works
Mansion, Herrick Avenue and Herrick Hill to Uptown
48. Danish Beer
Gardens and Chris, the bartender, on Four Mile Road
49. Tony Rondonis
bar with musical wine bottles
50. Bricks on
Washington Avenue, College Avenue
51. Smelt fishing
by lantern light off Herrick Ave. bridge
52. Shadow of
a nude from a tree near Villa
53. Elks Lodge
on 6th Street overlooking Lake Michigan
54. Don Hutson's
Chevrolet dealership at the foot of 5th Street
55. Coal boats
unloading at Pughs dock
56. Coal trucks
and dusty coal bins in basements
57. Horse drawn
milk wagons from Progressive Dairy, also Mari Gold and Harmony dairies
nurses dorm at the Bendstead Mansion across from East Park
Drug Store at 4th and Main
Pizza on Main Street and on High Street
62. Gen. Douglas
MacArthurs speedy visit through Racine in 1952
Highway 42 re-named to Highway 32, three lanes wide (passing lane
was also called suicide lane.)
at 16 cents a gallon
65. The cannon
at Washington and 12th to keep the Danes in West Racine and the
band shell for weekly concerts in the summer
66. Horse drawn
rag collectors going up and down alleys
incinerator behind City Hall
68. City dump
on Lake Michigan at foot of 6th Street
69. Police Headquarters
on 3rd Street
gas storage tanks and coke factory on lake front
71. The Egyptian
mummy in the museum located in the court house
jobs at Hamilton Beach Osters, Andis Clippers, Rainfair, Massey
Harris (later Massey Fergusen), Young Radiator, Western Printing,
Jacobsen, Belle City Malleable, Hamilton Beach, Haban Mfg., Gordon
Machines, Hartman Mfg. Co., Dremel, Lakeside Malleable Castings
Co., Racine Boiler and Tank, Jacobson-Lawn Mowers, Green Mfg, Modine
Mfg, Walker Mfg plus many other smaller Companies that were taxed
73. Saturday night Stock Car racing at Horlick Field (per Dennis
You have to
be older than 60 to remember many of these events and milestones!
More Memories -- by Jon Aceto,
4. Reggie's Kiddie Land as well, with mini roller coaster after
the roller rink "burned down"
5. Skating on Root River above Horlick's Dam where there was also
another Kiddie Land on Rapids Drive.
6. Don't forget the Granada off Douglas Ave on Charles or the Rex
which became a bowling alley on Main. The Venetian and Uptown had
Live Wurlitzer Organs played during intermission for the Saturday
Kiddie shows --$0.25 for 3-4 serials (Lash LaRue, Flash Gordon,
King of the Rocket men), lots of cartoons, and a cowboy movie---what
a deal. A kid with 50 cents could take the bus, see the show, buy
popcorn (Maybe jujubes or Blackjack gum?) and ride back home.
7. I recall WRAC's Saturday program being called "The Melody
Nuthouse" I appeared on it one day in about 1953. The crazy
MC's 'sold' me the program.
10. Zahn's had elevator operators, "Going up!"
16. Farmer's market on West & Marquette Saturdays in the summer.
18, "Number playeeze."
19. Skating on the Zoo pond in winter.
22. I think his name was Froseth.
24. Metroliners gave you a transfer for Chicago and Milwaukee public
transportation. I used to go to Milwaukee to see the Braves. The
State Street Trolley, yeah, trolley, took us to County Stadium.
There was also a tiled tunnel connecting the N-bound & S-bound
400 stations (cool in summer) at the Northwestern station.
Locomotives on the Northwestern were soot and steam before diesels.
The NW crossing gates were pumped by hand by guys in elevated towers
along the tracks 24/7.
28. Beside fishing off the piers, sometimes there was a jump off
the pier into the harbor for an impromptu swim when they weren't
biting. (Add fishing for 'crabs' in Island park beforehand for bait
for fishing: 10 cents of liver, some string and some patience).
If you had a boat, you could fish off the Reef Lighthouse when it
was still manned by the Coast Guard.
30. Skating at Albert Park, Marquette Park and others...with warming
houses and guys who'd sharpen your skates.
35. A note on Brusha's: it had been my Grandfather's (Sam) bar/restaurant/store;
my parents ran the grocery store in the 1940's there; he sold to
the Brusha's (we lived right next door).
46. Inside the building behind Old Abe was the Case Agricultural
Museum..free..mostly Case implements produced by Jerome Increase's
51. Smelt fishing off the jettees a Shoop park, too, in spring.
59. Homer Dary's Pharmacy with Soda Counter (Red Cross Pharmacy
on State Street and Pokorney's had one, too) where you could get
a copper mug of rootbeer for $0.10..or even better a "Suicide"...sugar
rush, anyone? Woolworth's also had a lunch counter (sandwiches =
50¢; malts = 25¢; banana split = 39¢; coke was a
71. Mrs. Trumbull was the curator. She knew the provenence of every
item in the NW corner room on the 1st floor, just past the switchboard
operator. Free, too.
Memorial Drive used to be called Forrest Street.
Belle City Foundry...lots of work and pollution just south of Horlick
Field. Used to watch the Belle City Belles play there (League of
Hartman Trunk on Hamilton W of RR tracks made luggage---now a prison.
The Library moved from its old classic Carnegie building on Main
and 7th to the lakefront location. You could go out on the terrace
for a cig break
Lincoln Elementatry K-6 school wasn't always a condo.
The "Y" moved from 4th & Wisconsin to the lakefront
in the '60's. Co-Rec sponsored swimming, games, dances when I was
in high school.
Batten Field was Horlick Airport.
The Theater Guild Playhouse in the abandoned church on High Street
"Boy Scout Woods" off W High St. that extended from the
Country Club to Lincoln Park. Hiking and day camping. Yeah, swimmin'
in the River, too.
The Guild Galleries in Porters was understaffed. My classmates &
I used to eat our lunches there in luxury.