Pieces of the Past — Did You Know?

May 8, 2024

When I was a kid I used to overhear old guys talking about things that used to be around. Now that I’m one of them I thought I’d do a Piece of the Past that will open the door for you to see the past like I did.

I’ll simply highlight a few things to let you say: “I knew that!” Or “Really?”

I spent my young life living on Park STREET! Not Park Avenue. The street address caused a few problems since there is also a Park Street in North Warren. The area had some things that used to be, that aren’t there now. For one thing there was a golf course on top of the hill that runs behind Madison Avenue. Did you know that? A family friend, Dr. Raymond Lowe was a caddy there.

Just East of there atop the same hill there used to be a gravel pit. The pit had been abandoned for years by the time I was old enough to wander up there. It was a great place to play. We had no idea how dangerous it was. One of my friends lost his life when a massive boulder came loose and rolled over him. The last time I was up there the pit was fenced off.

There used to be a Park Street TV cable system. It was a simple system that brought in WBEN out of Buffalo (now WIVB) If conditions were good we could also get channel 2 WGR (now WGRZ) and WKBW channel 7 from Buffalo. That was it! None of the Erie TV stations were on the air back then! Most of those stations were off the air at night so engineers could make transmitter adjustments.

Most of my readers remember the Warren airport. The last time I was there the big yellow X’s remained on the paved runway to warn pilots to stay away. Did you know there was an airport along Route 6 west of Warren, actually in Pittsfield? The main building was still there years after it was closed. In fact there was a murder there! The wife of its owner hired a guy from Corry to kill him. Back then Corry was a different world altogether. There also was an airstrip on top of the hill where Washington Park is today. Barnstormers used to use it just after World War 1.

Did you know that before the Red Barn was built across from the refinery there was a really cool little diner a few hundred yards west of the Red Barn on 6. It had no name on any sign outside, just big block letters printed on a large plate glass window: EAT. The burgers were great. We used to drop in to listen to the jukebox. They had some v e r y interesting selections! None of them ever made it to the Billboard Top 100.

Across from Big Joes in “Venture Town” there was a tiny restaurant called the Chalet. Their niche was hot dogs and good burgers, Because the place was so small it only had a handful of stools. So to keep customers moving they had no “bottomless” coffee. On the wall where customers could easily see it. was a sign that said: Coffee: 10 cents. Refill 10 cents. Warm up 10 cents. There were at least a half dozen other examples that would cost….ten cents! Today a shortened VW bus remains parked among the overgrowth where the Chalet used to be.

I’m sure you have plenty of your own “didjaknows” we’re always happy to hear from readers. Email Your Daily Local at [email protected] (put Did You Know in the subject line).

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