Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Iconic Places of the Past


“IdoraDanceHall1920” by Youngstown News Agency, Youngstown, Ohio – Public domain

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.

  1. 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. 


    Palace Theater. Photo by Steveovig

  2. 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.
  3. 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.


    Point Market –Source unknown

  4. 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).
  5. The Newport Theater. One of the early suburban theaters where I first saw The Sound of Music.
  6. Uptown. The place to be on date nights–everything from the Pizza Oven to fine restaurants and the Uptown Theater.


    20th Century Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Morris Levy, used with permission

  7. The 20th Century Restaurant. Spinning bowl salads, rolls, and great desserts served in an Art Deco style building.


    Youngstown Masonic Temple, Nyttend – Own Work, Public Domain

  8. 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.
  9. 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”.

  10. 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?

9 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Iconic Places of the Past

  1. agree with all and I would add:
    any Isaly’s including the iconic headquarters;
    Mural Room-could be a film noir movie set;
    Warner Theatre-now Powers Auditorium-curtain raised and lowered before every show -lots of double feature matinees-many millenials have no idea the Warner Bros were from Youngstown:
    Belmont Drive-in
    Heinley’s Markets
    Liberty Plaza-Ed sr’s first shopping center
    original Park Burlesque near the Y
    Erie RR-last passenger trains to Chicago,Hoboken and commuter to Cleveland;and b&o station-major stop on Capitol Limited
    Youngstown Playhouse
    Ford Elsaesser


  2. Courtney’s, The Mansion, Ravers, as far as restaurants go.
    Coconut Grove, Empire Tavern, Crystal Tavern, Boulevard Tavern, for bars.
    Mollies Market for that first underage beer
    Boardman Plaza, Pyatt Street Market for shopping.
    So many memories now long gone……………………


  3. Brenner’s Jewelry store, Federal at Hazel in downtown Youngstown. My great, great uncle, my grandfather and then my father sold almost everyone a gold wedding band, diamond engagement ring or wedding gifts for over 100 years. A gorgeous store-two floors of treasures.
    Anne Brenner Holmes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many memories for me here. I was born in and grew up on what we then called The North Side (Madera Avenue). My father was an executive at Strouss’. I graduated from Rayen School in 1957. I’d be interested in corresponding with any contemporary via in


  5. I would like to add Livingstons to the list of iconic downtown clothing stores. Hot summer nights waiting in line for chocolate pecan in a sugar cone at Handels (when there was only one). Ice skating on Lake Newport. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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