The Squeeze In, Falvey’s, Vaughn’s, Lee’s, Frosty Bowling Lanes, Wittenberg’s News Agency, The Rose Room, and Templin Feeds. These are all names of businesses from the past. These are places that were alive and doing a fantastic business back in the day. US-131 went right through downtown Three Rivers, because there wasn’t the by-pass west of town. If you wanted to go to Kalamazoo, Wilbur Road was the main highway. The Redwood Motel stood where KFC is now located. It’s difficult to recall where a lot of these places were located, because of all the change. It’s difficult to picture West Michigan Avenue as a two-lane street.
There are a couple of businesses in town that display large photographs taken 50 or 100 years ago. These photos fascinate me, because I remember what it was like when some of those pictures were taken. I remember parking downtown when there wasn’t any parallel parking, and there were parking meters. I remember going to watch a movie at the Rialto Theater. Sherwin Williams is there now, and you’d think they’d at least show movies in color.
I still enjoy visiting the Dairy Bar. They went through a renovation about a year ago, so it isn’t the same as it used to be, but you can still sit down at the counter and order a soda. I used to go there with my parents for a Friday night dinner. Chocolate milk tasted great, and it was a real treat. They still make a great hamburger.
At one time, we had around twenty-one service stations. I refer to them as “Service Stations”, because that is what you received. They filled your vehicle with gasoline, checked your oil, checked the air in your tires, and cleaned your windshield. All of this for around 26 cents a gallon. If you were thirsty, you could reach into the cooler for an ice-cold pop. That usually cost a dime, or if you decided to take the pop with you, you left a two-cent deposit.
When the weather is right, I enjoy riding around town reliving those memories. In the third district, one of my favorite sites is where Bonfoey’s Dairy was once located. A couple of the old sheds are still there, where they used to park the milk trucks. I’ve tried to stop there, close my eyes, and see if I can still capture the aroma of fresh milk being placed in the old glass milk bottles. I’m afraid I’ve never been able to catch that aroma, but I can easily recall the sight of the milk trucks leaving the dairy to venture out on their routes. If you were nice to the milkman, he’d toss you a chunk of ice. It sure tasted great on a warm August morning.
I mention this now because I was fortunate to have had a happy childhood being raised here in Three Rivers. I wish now that I had appreciated the way things were back then. All I can do is appreciate every day as it comes around. I think I’ll go over to Binando’s in Second Ward and buy a pack of baseball cards. I’ll only chew half of the bubble gum and save the rest for later. I’m sure I have a nickel that I can spare.
Did you know that drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by sixty-one percent?
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman