Thursday, March 12, 2009


The picture of downtown Pearl River as it was in 1935 provided mw with a great deal of pleasure as I read your November 1, 2000 issue. I closed my eyes and was soon walking from our home on Roosevelt Street to cross Washington Avenue, transit a vacant wooded lot and a stream which brought me out between the Community Garage and Bill King's Campus Ice Cream Store, always occupied by the PRHS athletes of the current season.
After having a Mellow-Role sundae and a five cent Pepsi Cola, I walked out of the Campus and found the Reiss Cyle Shop to my left with Ed Amory's Sport Shop right next door. (Ed died in WWII in the air raid on Ploesti) When I walked toward the view in your post car, I came upon the little garage that housed the Pearl River Alumni Ambulance right next to the Community Garage with Pete Nelson and Neil Hunderfund as owners and operators. Walking toward town I passed a vacant lot used to store cars etc. and then passed the stone houses of the doctors, the names Parizot, Olmstead and Schroeder come to mind.
Just past the doctors and on the corner of William Street was the Evans Insurance and Real Estate office. Crossing William Street I stood in front of the Theatre building which also housed Spaulding's Jewelry and the old Rockland Light and Power office. The Granada Grill still gave off an aroma of good cooking as my mind passed by. Following the supermarket I came upon Glick's Hardware Store run by Leonard Glick, a neighbor on Roosevelt Street. Thereafter came Stanley DeFlaun's men store and the entrance to Doc Sanford's Pharmacy which served the best ice cream in town. How I wished I would win the Lionel train set which was awarded at Christmas to the youngster who could accumulate the most points by purchases of Rexall products by friends and relatives. Best I could do was the second prize of an Erector Set with an electric motor.
On the corner of North Main Street was the First National Bank and Trust Co. of Pearl River, whose president was Harry Hadeler and who, with his brother George, helped run the hardward store across the street. That building shared its space with the Hadeler grocery store -- Fred Hadeler, the owner, was not a relative. I remember you were able to walk through one store to the other. Bump Heiser and Neil Dillon always had a good word for everyone that came in. A free piece of chocolate (Ex Lax) was always on the table to tempt the unwary. On the other side of Central Avenue was Bartels Wine and Liquors and Versace's Shoe Repair and the grocery store of Shoemacher and Timmerman. Then there was Behrendt's Bakery and Slotnik's Stationary Store, which gave Ed Bouton his start in the retail business. Then, going East, I passed Umland's Ice Cream Parlor and Luncheonette savoring a chocolate "heavy" and a slice of banana cream pie, always a favorite. The best ground meat in town came from Kandler's Meat Market sharing the space to the left.
Spreen's Insurance and Real Estate office was towards the corner and Laura Doscher's Sewing Goods Store was in the vicinity. Across South William Street was the Odd Fellows Hall with its comfortable fron steps for a rest. Then along came Police Chief Fred Kennedy with a reminder to "move on" and "not be here when he came through again." The fiedl next to the Odd Fellows Hall was used by the school system as an auxiliary for girl's field hockey and for practice by the football team. Then came the Koch Brother's garage and the Hook and Ladder fire house with its horn that made you jump each and every time it sounded to summon the volunteers. The fire house was the western border for the school field which exists today.
My walk down South Main Street took mbe past Hemmes, the bar of the Pearl River Hotel, the Model Dairy, Costa and Garaventas Fruit and Vegetable Store, Park Stationery (Triller's) and Brauer's Department Store. Upstairs was Doctor Borst, the town dentist along with Dr. Frachtman on Railroad Avenue. Further along came Fisher and Palmers Meat Market and Hadelers Radio Shop, which I recalled, had the first TV in town exhibited in the store window. I watched an early Joe Louis fight while standing outside with friends. On the corner of Franklin Avenue was Theise's Dry Goods. The opposite corner was home to Martha Knights Gift Shop and Payes Stationery Store.
Soon, in my minds' eyes, I was walking toward the park with its silver cannon and tall flagpole, not yet adorned with the names of the dead from World War II. Across from the park tucked in the buildings behind Hadelers, was the Rialto Barber Shop with Pete, Sal and Dominick at their chairs, and Oakleys Stationery and a diner running parallel to the railroad tracks. Davd Longuil was the chief cook and bottle washer and made one of the best hamburgers in town.
Across the railroad tracks was the Post Office and the Comfort Coal Building with its vast lumber yard. Further on down was the Commodore Bar and Grill owned by the Vergine family. For my haircut, I stopped to see Mr. Prezioso who never failed to set a hot towel from that stainless steel ball of in the corner. Billy Rowen's Market served a host of families in town and was the source of my first and only Social Security Card.
With my stroll through 1935 Pearl River complete I opened my eyes and came back to the 21st century with a heart and mind filled with happiness and memories of good friends and good times. I share these feelings with you and your readers and with Bob Knight, your city editor and historian. May good wishes find you all in good health.

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