Sunday, February 1, 2015

UPDATE: State Street Stalwarts (6 years later)

No longer with us.

Jack's Shoes.  After 50 years on State Street, Jack’s Shoes is passing the torch.  (Capital Times, 12/12/2010)
It's been quite a run. 

A native of Fort Atkinson, Jack Amundson got his start in the shoe industry at age 8, helping in his grandparents' harness and shoe repair shop. By age 19, Amundson had opened his own shoe store in Janesville. A year later, in 1959, he opened on the 200 block of State Street in Madison and never left. 

The store survived the Vietnam War protests, the conversion of State Street to a bus-only mall and construction of the Overture Center. 

Amundson remembers vividly when thousands of anti-war demonstrators filled State Street sidewalk to sidewalk as they marched from campus to the Capitol. 

"Oh yeah, they tossed a few bricks my direction," he recalls. 

Shakti, another longtime State Street business, to close.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 10/24/2013)
Allan Ajaya said Wednesday that the Internet has cut deeply into his sales, rising silver prices have hurt his jewelry business and many of his customers no longer make State Street a regular part of their shopping experience. His 1,437-square-foot store at 320 State St. is no longer profitable, he said.

Yellow Jersey waves the white flag on State Street.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 7/29/2014
Muzi, who joined Yellow Jersey in 1973, will no longer have to deal with water leaking though the store’s tin ceiling and down the walls of the 125-year-old building. He also will escape rising rents by purchasing his own space and will focus more attention on his growing internet business.

Gino's to close after 50 years on State St. (Channel3000, 9/12/2013)
He remembers when people could still drive on State Street, and customers could drop people off out front and go park. He said he also remembers all the different shops that were on the downtown street that have faded out since West Towne and East Towne malls came to the city. Gino and Stella Gargano both said there are a lot of chain restaurants coming to the area and less small family-owned eateries like Gino’s.

College Barber ShopDoug Moe: Last call for State Street's College Barber Shop.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 7/23/2014)
His clients included celebrities like Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, who was nearly as famous for his crew cut as his football exploits. Fine said the cut wasn’t as simple to perform as it might have appeared. The back was easy, but Hirsch liked a bit of a wave in front. Fine cut the hair of other UW athletic legends, including Heisman Trophy winner Alan “the Horse” Ameche, and current men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan. 

Original post from January 4, 2009, starts here.

OK, for those of you keeping track, I'm following up on a moment of wonder, i.e., I wonder how many current business along Madison's State Street were in operation when I moved to Wisconsin in 1978 -- or even when my wife and I moved to the area in 1986? The photographic excursion took place on Friday, December 12, 2009, when it was so cold my trigger finger nearly froze. (The captions have been added in bits and pieces over that past few weeks.) I used photocopied pages from the 1978 and 1986 Polk Directories for Madison as a verification source. My memory certainly isn't keen enough on its own.

(This article would have helped had my research needed to reach back to 1966.  All photos by Retiring Guy.)
Pasties. Comfort food heaven. If Teddywedgers (c. 1986) was located, say, in Middleton's Parkwood Plaza, two blocks from where I live, I wouldn't be just Retiring Guy. I'd be Retiring Starchy Guy. And I wouldn't walk there; I'd waddle. In the 1960s, Nelson family reunions took place at Uncle Harry and Aunt Svea's cottage on Lake Spread Eagle in Florence County Wisconsin. It was mandatory to make the pilgrimage, more than once, to nearby Iron Mountain, where pasties seemed to be on the menu of every restaurant. Even the drive-in A&W, if I recall. (Teddywedgers always puts me in a reflective mood.)

Probably a pretender. I assumed that Cinnamon Girl, a women's apparel store, was a relatively new business -- from the looks of the storefront, anyway -- but it shows up in the 1978 Madison city directory, though at a different address. (There's no State Street listing for 1986.) I suppose further research is in order, which might also help to answer the question: Named for the Neil Young song?

From the looks of it, Blum's Trophies has been in business here well before 1978.
The preserved facade of the former Yost's, now incorporated into the Overture Center for the Arts. The original was constructed in 1923.

I've browsed in Jack's Shoes a few times. Bought a pair of shoelaces there once. (In reference to the "MEN'S SIZES 5 TO 18", my older son wears a size 13 shoe, which, we discovered, is generally the high end of what most shoe stores stock.)

Paul's Club. Great place to hang out with friends. Not as many lights as Cleo's, though.

Another preserved facade that's now incorporated into the Overture Center. The Capital Theater open to much fanfare in 1928. (A photo of the construction is found here.)

Located across the street from the former Capital Theater, the Orpheum opened in 1927 and still shows movies 81 years later. Since 1999, it has also featured a lobby restaurant, where JoAnna and I once enjoyed a great evening out with friends. (The fact that we haven't been back is not a negative.) We've never seen a movie here but attended a spirited presentation/reading by author T. C. Boyle as part of the 2007 Madison Book Festival.

Goodman's Jewelers. "Celebrating 75 years as the Diamond Store of Madison", according to its website.

Nick's Restaurant. In business since 1959. Reminds me of the Plaza Restaurant in Warren, Pennsylvania. Classic. Unpretentious. Great food and no-nonsense service.

The Fanny Garver Gallery. Offering you the finest artwork since 1972..
Strictly window-shopping for me.

Fontana Sports. Was going to stop here and look for a pedometer. I could have used a little warmth at this point. 

 The Triangle Market. "Tours Daily. Free Admission". The original convenience mart.

Parthenon Gyros. It's been more than 10 years since my last gyros here. I'm w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y overdue. This gap tells you I'm not the world's biggest fan of this extremely messy sandwich, but I will give the Parthenon my vote for the best gyros ever. I can't imagine how anyone could improve upon it. (Note to Pat: Along with donuts at the Greenbush Bakery -- "Major chow!")

1970s Deja Vu Central.

Love the facade. The upper floors contain 4 apartments. "Wallrock" provides the following review: The Irish Pub was the first bar on State Street I ever frequented and I still make it a point to stop by when in the area. There's plenty of places nearby that have nicer things or better taps but there's something about the atmosphere that makes the Irish a comfortable place to be. If you've got a group get there early and snag a table upstairs. The men's is definitely small but that's a minor issue. The jukebox here is one of the better ones in Madison but the queue fills up fast.

The one and only Soap Opera. Read about a State Street anchor and one of its biggest success stories here.

When I lived in Oshkosh, a visit to Jazzman was mandatory whenever I was in Madison. Nowadays I tend to pass by the store with barely a glance inside.

I've shopped at Ragstock twice, both times to purchase items to wear at Halloween costume parties. (Yeah, Retiring Guy is really showin' his age.)

The current tenant at this location is Dr. Christopher G. Schanel, son of (?) Dr. Corliss G. Schanel, who is listed in the 1978 and 1986 Madison city directories.

Badger Liquor. Someone else has an even deeper fascination with this sign.

Scoshi, a women's specialty clothing store.

The B Side. When I made the transition from vinyl to disc, I found replacements for most of my obscures 70s music here. I spent many pleasant hours bin-browsing.

Sacred Feather. In business since 1975. Another 70s flashback moment. Didn't Duane Allman wear a hat like the one pictured over the entrance? (I know some 60s/70s era rock star did. Help me out!) Actually, the sign is very misleading. According to its website, Sacred Feather, [o]ur hats run the gamut from baseball caps to collapsible silk top hats, with a broad range of styles in between. I've always wondered what I'd look like in a fedora.

Apparently, Yellow Jersey has some issues with their previous Internet service program. And from the looks of it in this photo, folks who work and shop here take their biking very seriously!

The Stop& Shop Grocery. From a 2006 article in Madison magazine: On the corner of State and West Gilman streets, the Stop & Shop Grocery is tucked into a triangular-shaped building. The mood here is wild, almost frenetic, with loud music screeching out of speakers and pulsing through the floorboards. "We sell a lot of smokes here," grins a heavily pierced young sales clerk. "Plus a lot of Chore Boy scrub pads and tire gauges. I dunno why." On the level?! Guess it's time to pay this place a visit -- just to say I was there.

Sandy Glaeve, owner of The Peacock, is interviewed here about the recent State Street construction project.

Gino's. In business since 1963. I had my first taste of stuffed pizza here -- when JoAnna and I were dating. Loved it -- and still love her, of course -- though we've never been back.

What's missing from this picture? Pub customers sitting along the window and watching the parade of people pass by.

Based on these reviews, and my own personal dining experience, it's no surprise that Husnu's has been in business for nearly 30 years.

State Street Brats. (Formerly the Brauhaus.) Great place to get fortified before and/or after a visit to the Kohl Center.

Madison Optometric Center. Since 1985.

The Name of the Game. State Street's "senior" Badger apparel outlet.

It's like the first time every time I walk into Paul's Books. From frequent visits, though, I know that the inventory does change. I'm very focused when I browse here, as the following titles will attest:
Memphis, an Architectural Guide
Oberlin Architecture, College and Town, A Guide to its Social History
New Haven, a Guide to Architecture and Urban Design

A barber shop on State Street that survived the 1960s? Ya gotta take your hat off. Melanie McManus interviews Don Fine for a 2006 Madison magazine article, "State Street: Collegiate Commerce". At the time, Fine had been working at the College Barber Shop since 1953!!

Last, and probably least -- the utilitarian Walgreen's across from the Library Mall.

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