Looking backward is often interesting -- not just to remember what used to be, but to inform young people about Hutchinson's past. For the next several columns we'll recall businesses and other attractions that have long disappeared and what has replaced them. Consider it akin to this paper's Throwback Thursday feature without the photographs.
Here are some of my recollections from the 50's and 60's and how they have evolved:
Hutchinson High School used to be in the middle of town, not at 13th and Severance. That large open space immediately east of the apartments and Wendy's at 7th Avenue and Main was for many years our high school. And the Salvation Army building, opened in 2002, was a large athletic field across from the high school's main entrance. The Main Street apartments, just north of Wendy's, are what remains of Grace Hospital which once bordered the high school's west side. Ambulances frequently came into the hospital's driveway just east of 8th and Main.
Of course, Grace and St. Elizabeth Hospital, now a largely vacant brick building at 20th and Adams, gave way in 1975 to the present Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, originally known simply as Hutchinson Hospital, and representing a historic merger of Methodist and Catholic hospitals. Both were briefly known as Hutchinson Hospital North and South before consolidating on the new site and present location north of 17th and east of Waldron.
Main Street from its extreme North end at 30th down to Carey Park has seen more than its share of changes. We'll be looking at many of those changes in this series.
For example, the southwest corner of 30th and Main, where Mattress Hub and Village Inn are now located, was for many years a veterinary clinic, complete with an area outside for horses and other animals. Rezoning that portion of North Main Street down to the 27th and Main Kwik Shop was a major decision at the time and quite controversial.
For many years a Safeway Food Store drew considerable traffic where Grene Vision and other businesses are now located. The 28th and Main Burger King once was a popular site down restaurant. And 30th and Main wasn't always a squared intersection. The street curved to East 30th before significant changes were made, allowing Long John Silver's and other stores to develop along the east side.
And yes, Hutchinson actually had three Safeway stores before Dillon's began to dominate groceries. One at 4th and Severance and another just North of First Baptist Church along the East side of Main, where the Quest Center and Hutchinson Community College's Allied Health Center are now located.
Across the street where Eagle Communications has now landed was once one of Hutchinson's most prominent savings and loan locations, First Federal. A few blocks south on the southeast corner of 5th and Main is where First Christian Church stood for many years and was noted for its steep and distinctive steps leading up from Main. It's now a parking lot.
Back in those days a popular ice cream store, Peter Pan, was on the northeast corner of 5th and Main while the Hutchinson Public Library (now labor temple) was on the southwest corner and the then-Stamey, now Landmark Hotel, which is vacant, continues to deteriorate but once was busy on the northwest corner.
We'll have a lot more in my next column.
Dan Deming, former general manager of Hutchinson radio station KWBW, is retired and is a Reno County Commissioner. He can be reached at 620-960-6733. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.