Monday, December 3, 2012

Northside Lights

by Rose Lucas  
When I was a child growing up on Elsmere Park, I knew it was Christmas time when I could look out the kitchen window and see a colorful tree in the window of the house across Upper Street. I waited for that every year. So, this year, there is another early tree on Upper Street, although not at the same house, and it stirs memories of many lights in our Northside. For me, seeing early lights was so delightful as our family tradition was to put up a tree on Christmas Eve. My mother had help from Santa, and my father took my younger brother and me out to visit relatives and “see the lights”. When we came home, the tree was lit, and we could see it from the street. It was so exciting! I will always associate lights with the season, and on our street, for about the last 30 years, neighbors have put candles in their windows – even in the third floor windows. For almost that length of time, we have had luminaria lined up all around the Park – it takes more than 300 to circle the street. They are so beautiful for the three days of lighting: December 24, 25, 26. Recently, when the city put more lights along Main Street, I was reminded of the really gaudy decorations that used to hang on Main Street – for a child, they were magical. Garlands of greens (of some artificial ilk) crossed the street, red plastic bells were lit to hang from utility poles and big lighted stars hung from the garlands. It is nice to see the tasteful decorations today, but I miss the lights on the tree in Founders Park – the big evergreen was strung with lights for several years, and it was a great Northside Light. Maybe we should work on that for 2013? In the meantime, to all my neighbors in our great Northside neighborhood, season’s greetings, and enjoy the lights of all types in your life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"The Ice Has It"

by Rose Lucas  November 2012
Many Northside residents today are probably unaware that we had local grocery stores on many of our corners: Fourth and Broadway, Fifth and Broadway, Seventh and Broadway, Fifth and Lime, Sixth and Lime – actually the original Progress Market took up the whole building at Sixth and Lime, and Mr. A. L. Larimore was one of the owners. He and his family lived on Elsmere Park. After Progress Market, Mr. Larimore opened Boss Food Store, located just north of Loudon Avenue on the west side of Lime – the building is still there. People who lived in the neighborhood often went to the grocery every day for fresh meat and vegetables. While some in the neighborhood had refrigerators, others still used ice boxes and had a yellow ice sign in their windows. The signs had numbers from 25 to 100, in increments of 25, and the home owner was to put the number of pounds of ice desired at the top of the sign. Most of the ice was delivered from the Southern Ice Company – the building is still on Loudon Avenue and has the company sign on it. The lot where the Rite Aid stands was the recirculating pond for the ice company, and metal pipes stood out of the water and aerated the water to keep it fresh – also notable, the area around the pond was the source of the garter snake population on Elsmere Park and its environs. Two teenage boys, and many know one of those was my late brother, Richard Moloney, brought two gallon jars of snakes from the pond area and turned them loose in the street to see which way they would run. Until power mowers appeared we were inundated with snakes. Today our rather large cat population and some of the neighborhood dogs help keep the snakes to a manageable number.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grilled Cheese and Orange Crush

by Rose Lucas October 2012
The resurgence of eating places along Jefferson Street brings to mind the neighborhood restaurants in place in the mid-twentieth century. Among those was the Jefferson Grill (now the Green Lantern) where the absolute best supper would be a grilled cheese sandwich and an orange crush! My mother often spoke of eating mayonnaise and lettuce sandwiches at the Jefferson Grill when she was in college at Transylvania in the early 1920’s. She could buy such a sandwich for less than 25 cents and save her money to see shows at the Opera House. Another favorite from my childhood was Amato’s. It was located in the lot on West Fourth Street across from the Florence Crittenden Home. A long, low white frame building housed some really fabulous home-cooked spaghetti and meatballs and other Italian favorites. Closer to Main Street was Coyle’s, and it was a great restaurant for lunch and dinner. Since was just one lot away from St. Joseph Hospital, there was always a lot of activity in Coyle’s. The original French-Bauer Ice Cream store was in the 200 block of Jefferson, and like the one on North Broadway, it had wonderful treats, and hand packed pints and quarts of ice cream were always available. Rogers’ Restaurant, on the corner of Main and Jefferson, offered home cooked food and was also a neighborhood destination, as well as one for many Lexingtonians. Wouldn’t a neighborhood ice cream store be great in the Northside?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Northside Memories - Rose Lucas

We are pleased to present the inaugural entry in Northside Memories, a forum for sharing Northside recollections and personal Northside histories. We are delighted and fortunate that Rose Lucas accepted our invitation as a guest blogger for our first year. Rose has served on the Board and as President of the Northside Neighborhood Association and contributed immeasurable time to historic preservation and Northside issues. After growing up here she returned to raise her family, start a business, and help to shape the Northside we now call home.
-By Rose Lucas September, 2012.
When I met Stephen Manella, the new Head of Sayre School, I welcomed him to the neighborhood. He responded – did I live in the Northside? Yes, I do. This is my home – I was born at old St. Joseph Hospital on West Second Street, came home to my Elsmere Park home and grew up there. I went to school at St. Paul and St. Catherine Academy (located where the Sayre Upper School is today), attended Lexington Catholic in the same location after merger of St. Catherine and the Latin School, graduated from Transylvania (then) College, moved into Hagerman Hall on West Second Street with my husband, Jack, moved back to another home on Elsmere Park and then left, as Jack’s job called us to Oxford, Ohio, for 14 years to return in 1983 to the house where I lived through my childhood and school years until I married. A true life circle. In the years when we were in Ohio, we came to Lexington at least once a month to help my mother, Mildred Moloney, longtime treasurer of the NNA. So, from my perspective, I offer memories and thoughts in this missive.

Growing up on Elsmere Park was an enjoyable experience. Although as the only girl, for a time, I was at the mercy of the boys – including being terrorized with garter snakes, which I detest to this day. I often hear the teenagers of today playing basketball in the street in the evenings, and I wonder what the older folks thought of our endless games of “kick the can” (hey, if you haven’t played, you should) – I imagine all were grateful when the streetlights came on, and we had to go in for the evening. When we got older, we had more freedom to wander away from the Park – to West Sixth Street where we had good friends, to swim at Castlewood, and to walk to the French-Bauer ice cream store just past Delcamp/7th and Broadway – last remembered as the home of the Swahili Elks. Nothing tasted as good as on a hot summer night as a Dixie cup of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet, but in the l950s new kinds of ice cream were being developed, and we could be adventurous if we wanted to do so.

As I see so many more restaurants, stores and enterprises come to the neighborhood, I am reminded of the great fun of growing up in the Northside, and I will continue to share these memories, and some current ideas and challenges, with my neighbors through this medium.