Chester Chatter: A slower pace, a time for visiting

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

A walk around the village streets of Chester in the 1950s looks different than today.

Starting low on Route 103 was Putnam’s Diner, where the yard was nearly always filled with tractor trailer trucks. It was open nearly 24 hours a day.

Moving up the road was the home bakery of Freda Adams, who would put racks of fresh-made doughnuts and bread out on the porch to cool.

Over the bridge was Brownie’s Garage, where the Sunoco is. And next door, the Country Girl Diner was — and still is — one busy place. Paul Rand ran the Esso Garage at Main and Maple.

Around the Green were some small businesses. The IGA was where Misty Valley Books — now Blair Books — sits. Al Cross owned the IGA and Buster Henry was the meat cutter.  Buster was a mighty whistler, and not a very good one.

The Chester Inn was the only place that a person could get an adult beverage. We also had a movie theater — where Meditrina now is located — and a drugstore between the Masonic Hall and the Fullerton Inn.

Over in the Chester Depot was Jameson’s Market, which is now Smitty’s. The railroad line runs directly past Erskine’s Grain and Feed and the cars would drop goods for the store right there. Next door at the railroad station, a telegraph office was located and the mail was dropped off.

The Pioneer House occupied the building that is now home to Salon 2000.  And across the street you could weigh your large animals — or anything else — outside at the Cummings Hardware Store.

Everything was at a slower pace in those days and room was made for visiting.

Scene and heard

Starting this coming weekend, the Sons of the American Legion will begin the new season of Friday night food at the American Legion Hall on Route 103 South. Hours are 5 to 7 p.m. and the menu features roast pork. Indoor dining and take away are available.

Chester folks are some sad for Danny Cook, who runs the town Ambulance Service, on the death of his wife Candi. We are all thinking of you, Danny.

Happy birthday to my grandson Logan Gabert, who turns 30.

Despite winds and rains the colors on the trees are bright and beautiful. And I love the sound of crickets and lately they have been singing their songs loud and clear.

I want to thank my next door neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for all his help.

A big thank you to Chester Helping Hands on its Wednesday boxed dinners. What a great gift to offer the community during this difficult time.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts LifeLatest News

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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