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© 2002 by Stephen A. Judycki.  All Rights Reserved.

Oakland and Orange Streets in the 1940s

The Lovett house was located on the east side of Oakland Street, two doors south of the intersection of Oakland Street and Orange Street.  

 

Between the Lovett House and the corner, looking north on Oakland, was the Maiolo house.  On the corner, after the Maiolo house, was a one-story building that housed the Deerfield Market and Groll’s Bakery.  Some area residents played an interesting variation of poker in front of Groll’s Bakery, mainly because of the view it afforded.  Much to the chagrin of Mike Groll, players would stand with their left sides facing his bakery shop window, cards held close to their chests, looking west on Orange Street.  As an eastbound automobile would approach the intersection, the player whose turn it was would somehow combine the digits on the automobile’s license plate with the face value of the cards in his hand.  One regular player of this automobile poker game went off to war, attended college upon returning, and then became a prominent Springfield-area physician!

 

Across from Deerfield’s and Groll’s, on the west side of Oakland Street, was another one-story building that housed “Tony the Shoemaker,” and Dotty’s (later Shrude’s) Variety.  An ice cream, a soda or a candy bar could be purchased for a nickel at Dotty’s, and two packs of cigarettes could be purchased for a quarter.

 

Across from Deerfield’s and Groll’s, on the north side of Orange Street, was a two-pump, one-bay gas station owned by Archie Damour.  Archie was the cousin of Gerald and Paul Damour, who co-founded the Big “Y” Supermarket chain in 1936.  Norman Oyler, a station attendant at Archie’s, used to buy his cigars from Bernard Lovett Sr. at H. E. Shaw’s on Columbus Avenue.  After Bernard Sr. left Shaw’s and took a distributor position with Consolidated, Norman often bought his cigars right from the Lovett house.  Norman recalled that his routine usually involved calling Mrs. Lovett on the telephone to ask her for his usual–a box of Belvedere’s.  By the time he crossed Orange Street in front of Archie’s and walked the short distance to the Lovett house, a box of Belvedere’s was waiting for him on the porch.  He would deposit $5.83 into an empty dish and return to work.

 

Across from Archie's, on the north side of Orange Street, was a multi-story brick tenement building.  The ground floor of this building was a First National grocery store that was managed by Bill Walsh.

 

Oakland and Orange was not the only bustling intersection in the area.  A few blocks away, at the corner of Orange Street and White Street, stood Frentzo’s Spa.  Frentzo’s was an ice cream and soda shop that was a very popular hangout for kids who lived in the White-Orange-Allen section of Forest Park in the late 1930s and 1940s.  In 1942, area resident Franklyn Bacon posted an 8” x 10” photograph of Francis Drake on the wall inside the store, to honor the first U.S. Marine from Springfield to be killed at Guadalcanal.  Other photos of area men and women who were serving in the military followed, until Frentzo’s looked like a photo gallery.  Many neighborhood kids who saw the first pictures, grew up and joined the military or were drafted themselves.  Those who returned from the war found their own pictures posted inside Frentzo’s.  In 1946, after World War II had ended, all of the photographs were returned to the families.

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