With the opening of the “big box” store in North Riverside on Nov. 25, we will see again a big change to the area around 26th Street and Harlem Avenue. It’s hard to even imagine what used to be there not so long ago, in the 1960s and early into the 1970s.
The land, which included the area where the mall is now, was home to many things over the years, including a boys’ home, a college and a TB sanitarium.
Most people are familiar with the corner property as being home to Edward Don Company, which made its move to Woodridge last year. At one time, the story goes, all of that land could have been annexed by Riverside, but for whatever reason, that never came to pass.
More changes have just taken place as you move south on Harlem Avenue towards Longcommon Road. Not too long ago there was the Sara Lee store — and don’t we miss it? Talk of Starbucks was tossed around, but now a loan company has taken over. For the first time in the building’s history it will not sell food.
Originally it was a Prince Castle restaurant (later the company switched its name to Cock Robin) where you could get Silver Star Soda or a Top Hat Sundae. The ice cream cones were square and served up cubes of ice cream. Next it was an Arthur Treacher’s fish restaurant, named after the English actor who was most known as playing the part of the butler in movies. Then came Sara Lee, which also sold Market Day products.
South of the departed Sara Lee building is a small strip mall that has vacancies. What will be next? We’ll have to wait and see.
A moving event: On a lighter note, yes the earth moved under my feet (or I should say it moved under my seat) when the earthquake happened on Nov. 4. I happened to be upstairs at the computer writing my column last week when all of a sudden I felt the house sway. My first thought was that what I was writing was so moving. I soon was convinced it was an earthquake, although I had no scientific backing.
I just remembered what I had felt years ago when we had a slight quake. I felt it and watched the light fixture move. Going downstairs on Nov. 4, I saw two pictures on the wall were slightly askew. It was a moving experience I don’t care to repeat.