It Was Within Walking Distance from My House

I was sick last week with cold-like symptoms. Whenever this happens, my family makes good on a neighborhood secret.

Parkway Restaurant is two blocks from my parents’ house (you can see it from their back door), and is six blocks down and two blocks up from my place. For years, Parkway has sold its chicken noodle soup, and vegetable soup, by the container. That container is somewhere between a half-gallon and one gallon. Whenever one of us Cutters were sick, a walk to Parkway was made for a container of its chicken noodle soup. The broth in the soup is supposed to help clear the throat and make you feel better.

I had a sense of pride as I drove on a couple of small neighborhood streets to get my cold remedy. I didn’t have to drive too far to get what I needed.

My walking legs aren’t as great as they used to be, and I can’t go more than about a few blocks without feeling irritable. However, the short trip to Parkway made me think about what places are within walking distance of my house.

Broadway Liquor – a liquor store

The Palms – a bar

Mr. Nifty – a dry cleaner

Merle Norman – a cosmetic store (which you probably won’t find me in)

Rock River Food Pantry (another place you probably won’t find me in)

A used car place whose name escapes me at this writing

A hair salon on 15th

A hair salon on 12th

A hair salon on 19th

Al and Leda’s – a pizza place

Dairy Mart Plus – a restaurant

Coin Laundry – a laundry mat

B&R Auto Electric – a car repair shop

Majeski Motors

Lundstrom’s – a florist

Parkway – a restaurant

C&K Undercar – muffler specialists

Cook’s Auto Repair – a car repair shop

Darlane Davis Tax Service

Bushwackers – another hair salon

We currently live in a time where we absolutely have make the considerable drive to somewhere to get things cheaper, be it Rockford, the Quad Cities, or even Wal-Mart at the edge of town. When this happens, we are taking dollars out of our community, rather than investing in our community. This is why many local-based businesses struggle to stay open.

The way I look at it, the investments pay off for a much happier and easier peace of mind.

This is starting to become more of a revelation for me. When I started living on my own, I didn’t have a whole lot of money. Now that I don’t know exactly how much money I have, I am able to make that choice to invest in local businesses.

Investing in neighborhood businesses takes that one step further. (It is also great exercise for me). Need beer? Broadway is 3 blocks away. Need beer and a television, and perhaps a pool table? The Palms is 2 blocks down the alley. Meeting a friend for lunch or dinner? The Dairy Mart and Al & Leda’s are about 6 blocks away. Keeps the dollars in the neighborhood.

If something I want is not located within my neighborhood, I go somewhere else. However, I don’t flock to where everyone else goes. (This is a subject for another Blog entry).

There was a time when more businesses dotted the neighborhood landscape. I often wonder how fortunate I may have been if they were still open.

There were at least five gas stations within walking distance: Conoco on Third Street and Eighth Avenue, Clark on Fourth Street and Eleventh Avenue, J&L on Fourth and 15th, Shell on Fourth and 19th, and a Phillips 66 also on Fourth and 19th.

There were at least two dentists: Dr. Cherry and Dr. Benson both on Fourth and 12th. Dr. Chrisholm, an eye doctor, had his business on Third and 9th.

Who could forget the short-lived Donut World on Fourth and 12th?

Long ago, Eshelman’s Grocery Store was next to The Palms on Fourth Street. Kind of distant, but somewhat nearby was Yell’s Fifth Street Mini-Mart between 8th and 9th Avenue.

C&J Auto Parts store was located on Fourth and 13th. New Orbit Car Wash was in the building just south of it.

Titlewave Video was behind the Dairy Mart in the 1990s, and before that a liquor store was in that building.

The original Arthur’s Garden Deli, which later became the original Don Pedro’s, was located in a small building on Third Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.

Taco John’s didn’t last long, but it was on the corner of Fourth and 17th.

My Uncle Sam operated his real estate agency on Third and Broadway (where Broadway Liquors is now), and later operated a video rental store there.

Pfunstein’s Grocery Store was located in Darlane Davis’s building on Fourth and 18th.

Pizza Hut was located where Majeski Motors is now.

To think: If everyone kept their businesses nearby over the years, what would the neighborhood look like?

Many local residents drive by it every day, but the streetwall on West Fourth Street between 12th and 13th Avenue seems out of place compared to the rest of the business districts in Sterling.

What is a streetwall? It’s a series of buildings connected together whose front doors lead out to the sidewalk. Most downtown areas have streetwalls. They are often two-story buildings with apartment lofts on the top floor.


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