The Herald Bulletin
---- — Remembering Anderson the way it used to be is a cottage industry for past and present Andersonians. I’ve had plenty of help, both before and after the fact, in re-creating some of these memories.
Such as a recent message calling me to task on a couple of things I reported. Obviously I’ve slept since then, so it’s hard to remember just what I’ve written. But in one instance I admit to a faulty recollection of the exact location on Jackson Street where the old YWCA used to be. I remembered a big house that was torn down to make room for an expansion of the newspaper office (which still does business today in the same location at 12th and Jackson streets). Apparently that wasn’t it. The old YWCA was a block away in a stately old mansion before it was rebuilt on Chase Street in its most recent location.
And the message accused me of mislocating the old Bulletin building, which is now a halfway house on the northeast corner of 10th and Main streets. You couldn’t prove it by me; maybe I was directionally challenged that day.
But there are some landmarks none of us old-timers will ever forget. Such as the Coca-Cola bottling plant on the southeast corner of Seventh and Meridian, where you could stand outside and watch the bottles being filled on the assembly line. After it moved elsewhere (it’s now at 38th and Rangeline) the building was occupied by the Anderson Police Department.
Or the Alibi Restaurant on the southwest corner of 14th and Jackson streets. It was Anderson’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, indeed one of the first in Central Indiana. The property is now occupied by a McDonald’s.
Most of the new car dealers used to be downtown. Hunter Chevrolet (later Hunter-Weidner) was on the northwest corner of Sixth and Meridian. Across the street on the 500 block was Fairway Ford, which became Fred Welker Ford. Bill Cook Buick (later Heckaman) was on the northeast corner of Eighth and Jackson. At one time there was a Dodge dealer at 10th and Central. Arrow Pontiac was on what was then Pendleton Avenue. Broadway Sales, then a Chrysler and Plymouth dealer, was a mile or so north on Broadway.
The major department stores anchored the downtown. Sears occupied three floors in what is now the Anderson Public Library. Montgomery Ward was on Meridian between 13th and 14th. And J.C. Penney was on Meridian north of 11th Street with entrances on both streets. They all moved to Mounds Mall. And now all of them have left Anderson, except Sears which has a smaller outlet just off University Boulevard.
Shopping patterns have changed immensely, and not just in Anderson. But those of us who have been around long enough remember the way it used to be. And it will never be the same.
Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.