A Glimpse into the Past

This article appeared in the Dayton Daily News on July 26, 2003

 

A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
 1940 advertisement shows Dayton businesses

By Roz Young

            In the mail I received a fat envelope from Molly Yankovich Campbell. `Imagine. This was printed 63 years ago when we were young!' Molly wrote.
            The booklet she sent lists all public and office buildings in the city, all apartments, state highway routes, and directions how to get to all parts of the town. It also includes points of interest around Dayton. The directory was issued by Edward V. Stoecklein.
            Scattered throughout the book are advertisements by Dayton's businesses. On the inside front cover is an ad for White Clock, with four stores in the city selling hamburgers for 5 cents. The White Baking Co. advertises on the inside back cover daily service of fine bakery products to homes.
            I remember the White Baking Co. because their trucks were drawn by horses. The horse of the one that served our street always went to the bathroom, to put it euphemistically, when he stopped in front of our house. My mother called the owner of the White Baking Company and told him that his horse could not park in front of our house.
            She suggested that he park his horse or have his driver do it in front of the house next door to us. She did not approve of our neighbor anyhow because she was a careless housekeeper and so it really didn't matter if the horse littered the street in front of their house.
            Ed Stoecklein sold ads in the directory to about 60 restaurants and other businesses, which more than paid for the printing of the booklet.
            Of all the businesses that advertised in the 1940 directory, there is only one that is still in business. Gone are the Royal Bar Restaurant at 34 W. Fifth St., which served special fried chicken dinners, plate lunches, chops, and delicious wines, liquors and 6-percent beer, Anthony Pappas, proprietor; Lewis Hoffman's Mayfair Sandwich & Sweet Shop, which served genuine turtle soup, chili and fresh buttered popcorn at 20 E. Fifth St.; and the Riviera Restaurant, 24 N. Main St. opposite the Courthouse, famous for `Good Foods, Liquors, Wines & 6-percent beer,' to mention just a few.
            Of all the restaurants that advertised in the directory, there is just one still in business. That is Mehaffie's Pies, which advertised on page 117 of the book that they were famous for quality. At that time Mehaffie's was at 1413 Smithville Road. Mehaffie's Pies has now three locations, at 3013 Linden Ave., 48 S. Dayton Parkway and 36 W. Main in Xenia.
            The Mehaffies sold out to the present owners in 1996. The company makes pies for fund-raisers and has a capacity of about 900 pies an hour. They use the same recipes as always.
            Mary Craigmile Bicks (or Bucks; her handwriting is unclear) has written to say that the article about Eva Devanney was of interest to her. When she was in the seventh grade in 1938 at E.J. Brown, Miss Devanney was the principal. `There were three or more big girls in the class who were residents of Shawen Acres,' she wrote. `They had been held back because of their miserable home life circumstances. Miss Devanney decided these girls should have a chance to catch up. She formed a class of 15 or more pupils out of the 7th graders in the school. The Shawen Acres girls were in the class. We came early every day to school, skipped some of our 7th grade classes and took a class at lunch time. Miss Devanney taught history.
            `. . . We studied three eighth-grade subjects. I hope we all passed. I have no way of knowing. That was our last year at E.J. Brown. I'm sure getting ahead one year didn't hurt any of us. Those teachers were caring and devoted. I still thank them.'
            Out on my patio sits a pot that holds a 4-foot tall tomato plant, the gift of a friend. I have been feeding it and watering it every day since I received it. I believed it has set a record, which is why I include its news here. Ordinarily among us tomato growers we have thought for years that it was an accomplishment to have a ripe tomato by July 4th.
            This year I picked the first ripe tomato June 29.
            I cannot claim any glory for this because the plant already had a green tomato on it when I received it.
            Its name is Bush Goliath.
            I will never get over it. A ripe tomato on June 29th!