The Way We Were: Store's lights 'waterfall' of colors



Last week we showed an aerial photo of Broad Street. Here are some of the memories that photo inspired.



The photo (last) week brought back more memories.

In the photo the edge of the Lamar Building points to a corner store that once was Sears Roebuck, then later Penney’s.

The tower on the corner of the building had glass bricks with colored lights behind them, and the lights came on in sequence from top to bottom, making the color cascade down the building.

As a child I called it the “waterfall,” and I wanted to see it whenever we were downtown at night. It was seen best from the side of the store, not the front. We would double park in front of the Richmond Hotel so I could see it. Does anyone remember this but me?

In the early 1950s, Christmas shoppers on Broad Street filled the sidewalks and the stores. The war was over and life was good. I turned 16, took my new Social Security card to J. B. White’s to apply for a Christmas job, and was hired to assist the photographer by taking photos of children on Santa’s lap.

The whole fourth floor was full of toys, and Santa was there. In my half hour for supper, I ate at the soda fountain in Walgreen’s, at the corner of Ninth and Broad. One night a young soldier sat next to me and we began talking.

As I prepared to leave, he said, “Here I am, filled with the Christmas spirit, and no one to share it with. May I pay for your meal? No strings attached. I won’t follow you when you leave.”

I thanked him as graciously as I could, and we both left with a smile.

Jean Strickland

S&S Cafeteria on Broad

I have fond memories of eating at the S&S Cafeteria on Broad. Eating upstairs, watching the food trays come up the dumbwaiter. Exactly what building was it? I think it was where the Augusta Commons is now. Snappy burgers after a movie. Just some memories.

Stuart C. DeLoach


Bright lights

I remember as a teenager going to Broad Street to shop and see the night lights! It was beautiful. I distinctly remember the hustle and bustle of people walking up and down the streets; it was the place to be.

My grandmother worked and retired from Davidson’s. We would always stop by to see Granny Hopkins in the Piece Goods Department. The Modjeska, Imperial and Miller theaters were beautiful, bold, exciting places to watch a good show.

Karen J. Reese

Broad Street, the place to go

When I moved here in 1968, Broad Street was the place to go. I worked at Bell Bros. Shoes on the 800 block next to Woolworth’s, where we ate lunch every day. Broad Street was the busiest place during the week and a fun place to be on the weekends. The streets were wide and clean from Fifth to 13th Street. It was always nice to be downtown and the people were always friendly. Too bad we cannot go back to those days of calm.

Brad Hardy Jr.


Hot times

My family moved to Augusta in 1952 from Asheville, N.C. If memory serves me, I believe that was the summer that was so hot, The Augusta Chronicle or The Herald printed a picture of someone frying an egg on Broad Street. Seems like they said 120 degrees on the pavement.

– Pat Larmon

Saturday on Broad Street

In 1953 at the tender age of 10, I would walk from my home on Clark Street in the historic Har­risburg area to a city bus stop on the corner of Broad and Curry Streets every Saturday morning and ride alone (you’d never allow your 10-year-old to do this today) to downtown Augusta.

I had with me a Hawaiian steel single-neck guitar, and I’d go to Jay’s Music Center on Broad Street and take lessons from Sammy Forsmark. Then, guitar in tow over my shoulder (no case yet), I’d go to HL Green’s Record Bar on Broad Street and listen to all the latest hits of the day.

Then, guitar still in tow, I’d walk over to the Imperial or Modjeska Theatre on Broad Street, and watch a double feature, a newsreel and a cartoon.

Then I’d hit some of the old department stores on Broad, Bowen Brothers, JB White’s, JC Penney, and enjoy the “air conditioning” since hardly no one had it in their home, especially in Harrisburg.

Just before sunset, I’d catch the city bus back home and relish in my memories of a wonderful day on Broad Street.

I might add, from that little guitar, which I still have … five years later, became Johnny Hensley And The Red Hots, appearing, again, Saturday, July 26, at the Imperial Theatre on Broad Street.

Johnny Hensley

The tree’s still there

I lived with my grandparents at 410 Broad St. from 1950 until 1956 when I turned 6. My grandfather, Dr. Tim Edmunds, owned Edmunds Drug Co. at 510 Broad and walked to work every day.

Christmas parades on Broad Street were especially exciting and grand to us at the time. Of course, you had to dress up then like you were going to church when you went “uptown” to shop on Broad Street. Our grandmother always wore a hat and gloves to go uptown. We also used to go up to Kress for lunch and eat at the counter and later to the old Richmond Hotel.

A big day for us was to go to a building with an elevator and ask the elevator attendant to let us ride to the top and back.

Our house at 410 was one of the ones that was moved to allow the highway to come through. The last time we passed by that block, our old crepe myrtle tree was still on the corner, the only thing to survive the construction.

– Meg Hadlock


Shopping at the stores

My husband took me shopping at JB White’s a few months after our son was born in 1975, and it was such an upscale store that my morale was boosted for months wearing my new dress.

– Priscilla Bence



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