Last week I wrote about iconic places in Youngstown today. Doing so brought to mind many of the other iconic places of the past, places we re-visit in our memories. Some reflected a period, but many reflect what a different city the Youngstown of the past was from the Youngstown of today.
- Idora Park. Actually, this was the home to a number of iconic spots in our memories from the Merry-go-round to the Wildcat to the midway to the ballroom to the French Fry stand. Cotton candy, delight and a bit of terror, dates and dances. So much history.
- The Palace Theater. This was an absolutely gorgeous place just off Central Square. It was replaced by a parking lot. The Paramount hung on longer but it also is no more.
- Downtown department stores. McKelvey’s and Strouss’ were incredible old stores. As kids, we would dress up to shop there. Strouss’ building is still there.
- The Point Market. Remember the big red revolving apple on this local grocery at the corner of South Avenue and Midlothian? Until I-680 was completed, I’d drive past there every time I visited my girl friend (now wife).
- The Newport Theater. One of the early suburban theaters where I first saw The Sound of Music.
- Uptown. The place to be on date nights–everything from the Pizza Oven to fine restaurants and the Uptown Theater.
- The 20th Century Restaurant. Spinning bowl salads, rolls, and great desserts served in an Art Deco style building.
- Masonic Temple. The building may still be standing but the last lodge of Masons could no longer afford the upkeep and gave up the building in 2016. Dad was a Mason, and I remember some really fun family events there as a kid.
- The Brown Derby. Another popular restaurant on the South Side of Youngstown. A favorite for family gatherings and date nights. I asked my wife to marry me there. Obviously she said “yes”.
- Steel mills. Of course the steel mills lining the Mahoning River are perhaps the iconic places of the past for Youngstown.
All cities change over time. Business owners die or competition drives places out of business. Industries change. Once popular institutions fade. It’s good to remember icons. And it is good for a new generation to create new ones. Let’s hope that happens for Youngstown.
What would you add to this list?