Things I remember about Lansing

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Local Voices

Frank Fetters

I was born in 1941. I lived in Lansing from that time until 1969, when I married and moved to Chicago’s south side. Here are a few things I remember:

I remember when I was delivering newspapers in the morning on Ridge Road, and I looked at the City Limits sign at the point of entry from Munster into Lansing. It said, “Lansing, Pop. 1800.”

I remember when the older kids in the neighborhood used to get paid 75 cents a bushel for picking vegetables in the field along Maple Street near Lansing Christian School on Randolph Street. By the time I was old enough to pick vegetables, the school had bought the field and they were using it as a playground. We used to play there on the weekends.

I remember when the grocery store (Schultz’s) and the hardware store {Gus Bock’s) on Ridge Road used to share the same building. I found out later that this building was the location of Lansing’s general store.

I remember when I was in first grade at Coolidge School and they had a contest to name a park in Lansing. Someone from the Koselke family won with the name “Lan-Oak.” (I remember Joe and Dorothy Koselke, but I think there was another brother, but I can’t think of his name. Was it Charles?)

I remember when the playground at Coolidge School was infested with garter snakes, all of whom tried to mind their own business, but some of the boys on the playground (not me!) would snatch up a snake and chase girls with it.

I remember when the town library was set up in an old pump house and I first got interested in reading.

I remember when there were and three barber shops in town (Don’s, Cappy’s, and Louie’s) and three bowling alleys (Lansing Lanes, Lan Oak Lanes and Abel Lanes). Of all the professional athletes from Lansing that I remember, I think the first one was Joy Abel. I remember seeing her competing in a tournament on TV. It was her father who owned Abel Lanes on Torrence Avenue.

I remember when the area now referred to as Nau’s Manor was a large dairy farm where the Kasperzak brothers, Ray and Paul, used to live.

I remember when everybody who lived west of Torrence Avenue had to attend Thornton Township High School in Harvey.

Those are a few things I remember about Lansing. What do YOU remember?

Frank Fetters, former Lansing resident


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11 COMMENTS

    • Elvis-

      My memory can be spotty, but reading other comments led me to happily remember a few other things. One is the motto of the Village of Lansing when I was growing up. “Where Industry and Agriculture Meet”. I also remember the Pantry Queen “pickle factory” (actually, they bottled olives). It was south of Ridge Road, near the railroad tracks. And I remember B&M Manufacturing. And some of the Lansing mayors: John VanderAA, Everett Schultz, and Jack McNary. And then I was also proud when I discovered that Bob West and Norman Abbott had also been mayors of Lansing.

      I’m sure I’ll remember other stuff as time goes on.

      Frank

  1. I remember alot of those things Frank metioned not quite old enough to remember them all . I do remember alot of thing and a few I miss so much ! I remember leaving your car windows open, keys in the ignition and no body bothered it I remember windows on your house wide open and doors no body bothered it. You could leave your bicycle anywhere unchained and unlocked no body botheredd it ! I remember when you did things for or with your neighbors you could e outside playing anywhere and no body bothered you ! I remember when you could go to the corner candy store and if you had a quarter you were rich. Bought a big and alot of candy ! Mom and pop that owned the store were there to help you not watch you as a thief. The parks were full of kids playing on equipment, baseball, football and or what ever but they were full. Riding bikes , playing in the street and if a kid in the neighborhood had a pool the whole neighborhood was there on a hot day! It was just a better time and I would not change my chilhood in Lansing for anything ! It was a great place to grow up ! I would just like to know in all honesty WHAT HAPPEN to those as the say good ole days ?

    • Thank you, Carl, for sharing that. When you mention the candy store, I think of the one on Burnham Avenue and Ann Street, where you could swoop in before or after school to stock up on sweet stuff. Closer to my neighborhood was Em & Bill’s Milk Depot on Ridge Road. If I remember right, it was just west of Lange Street. They had candy in there, and a lot of kids used to slide in there for the goodies. Em & Bill also had a deal that, if you got a very specific kind of gumball, you got a bonus of extra stuff when you showed them your specuial gumball.

      Frank

  2. Really loved reading this very informative. Would love to see more of this on the people that made and built Lansing . I remember Ben Franklin on Ridge. We used to go there for a lot of things and I remember a pet store on Ridge Rd. Those were the glory days of Lansing.

    • Hey. Mark!

      Thanks for mentioning the Ben Franklin store. I used to love to go in there as a kid. I also remember a place called Boushak’s pronouinced “book-shacks”; not sure I spelled it right. My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. I think it was up there on the south side of Ridge Road near Roy Street. I think they called it the “Halfway House” for a while, because it was supposed to be halfway between Chicago and Crown Point. To others reading this, if you catch me in something wrong, please correct it. I’d like to be accurate when I talk about the old village!

  3. I remember the smell of onions, and the sounds of trains. So many trains, two or three an hour. I remember freezing at Lan-Oak Pool for Red Cross swimming lessons at 8 am on early June mornings, and winter hockey games until well after dark. I remember digging for worms then fishing at KC. Baseball games with a ball wrapped in electrical tape and a bat with finishing nails in the handle. I remember what a ‘friend’ your bicycle was! I remember watching parachutists coming back down to earth. I remember hunting for pop bottles and the feeling of euphoria finding a 5¢ Canfield’s! Spending 1/2 an hour deciding how to spend it. Mostly, I remember what a great place Lansing was to grow up in.

  4. Carey-

    I remember a lot of what you reminded me about. I also remember 4th of July at the K of C grounds. I remember playing Junior League baesball at Winterhoff Park. I played on the Rebels baseball team. Guy Wayne was the coach and Jim and John were his sons. WE won the championship one year, not thanks to me! I was so bad that the only I would play is if only nine guys showed up!

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