-- in the early 1900's there was a high wooden fence beween Nellie Jayne's Cafe and the Lowell Carpet and Coverings store? It was not there in 1920. Wooden inserts in the bricks that held the old fence can still be seen on the Carpet building. Large colorful posters advertising a circus, the theatre and other community events were often pasted on the high fence.
-- no evidence has been found to prove that a building was ever built between Nellie Jayne's Café and the Lowell Carpet and Coverings store? A large photo of the 1898 fire shows no debris on that lot. The photo hangs on the wall in the Town Council meeting room at the Lowell Town Hall.
-- many generations of playful children searched for treasure in the grass below the cement rise north of the sidewalk in front of that empty lot? Often men would enjoy sitting there in the sun, smoking their pipes or cigars and exchanging the news of the day, while coins and other valuables fell from their pockets to the grass below.
-- if you would stand in the north parking lot west of the Lowell Tribune Office and look south to the upper level of the Lowell Carpet building, you could see where a wall of bricks was replaced? The bricks filled in the space once taken by a large slanted skylight that was used to furnish natural light for professional photographers in their upstairs studio. At times the photographers of those years would attach metal clamps behind the ears of a subject to keep him from moving during a time-exposure. Perhaps that is the reason for the serious expressions of many old photos.
-- during the 1920's, the 800 seat Grand Theatre that was on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Clark Streets in Lowell hosted a huge Christmas party each year? The audience enjoyed the large, well-lighted Christmas tree, holiday music, silent movies, comedies, cartoons and news reels. Children were given little paper boxes of hard candy, most of it falling out of the bottom. For a few years a little man dressed as "Buster Brown" entertained there while advertising the Buster Brown brand of shoes, his "bowl cut" hairstyle with bangs popular with both boys and girls. Imagine the 800 seat theatre with a balcony and box seats during the time that the population of the Town of Lowell was 1200! The theatre was built in 1911 and demolished in 1935.
-- this is the weather report for 100 years ago? -- December 1904 -- There was snow on December 1st, more snow on the 11th, with temperature zero in the morning, high of 15 degrees in the afternoon. The 23rd was spring-like, rain with light snow later. The ground was bare on the 27th with snow at night. The ground was bare again on the 31st, a sunny and delightful day, with afternoon temperature at 48 degrees.
-- on May 18th, 1904, workmen began laying the brick street pavement all around the public square at Crown Point? The last brick was put into place on August 20, 1904.
-- during the year of 1901 many acres of good farm land near the village of Shelby were sowed with sugar beet seeds? Plans made for the construction of a large sugar factory nearby were changed when many investors decided against it and the building was never built.
-- the building that is now the site of Nellie Jayne's Café was built in 1900 by the State Bank of Lowell? The burglar alarm installed by the bank can still be seen near the window on the front façade of the building.
-- there once was a Cedar Lake Airport? The field was north of 133rd Ave. near Parrish Ave., and was also the site of one of the many aircraft beacon towers once in use in Northwest Indiana. Another tower was about a mile east of Lowell, near the present "Beacon Farm" on Ind.2. There was also an airport north of Crown Point on the "Merrillville Road."
-- after World War One a small bus was available from Lowell to Crown Point? The small Model T Ford bus made two trips daily to the County Seat where passengers could board the street car to downtown Gary.
-- several business places in the Lowell Historical Downtown District still boast having the classic ornamental metal ceilings of the early 1900's? The District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
-- changes should be made? The Old Timer wrote in a recent column that Floyd "Swede" Vinnedge was the postmaster and storekeeper in the same store building at Creston built by Adelbert Palmer before 1880. A story found recently in some old reports told abut the 1901 fire that destroyed Palmer's building; another building was then built on the same lot. Vinnedge was there for decades after he returned from serving in the army during World War One.
-- 150 men began work on a steel mill at East Chicago, Indiana, in June of 1901? It was reported the same year that the new plant near Lake Michigan would employ from one thousand to fifteen hundred men. A three-story boarding house was already built and plans were being made for the construction of a large hotel building.
-- there was an early bell foundry at Cedar Lake? Soon after 1901, C. Scheidler started a bell factory and was said to be making "superior bells."
-- the Lowell Post Office was the second in Lake County to establish a rural mail delivery system? It was established in 1900, with the mail delivered by horse-drawn buggies or wagons.
-- the number of saloons in Lake County was reported in 1903? Two hundred sixty-nine saloons were listed for Lake County, with only 37 drinking places in Porter County.
-- in 1904 four automobiles were on the streets of Crown Point? One old timer wrote that after seeing two horse drawn wagons taking 80 children to a picnic at Cedar Lake: "No two automobiles could convey 80 children comfortably to Cedar Lake in one trip."
-- this is the 300th Pioneer History column to appear in the Pilcher Publishing Company's newspapers? The stories have been seen in the local paper for 25 years, and can all be viewed at the Lowell Public Library web site: www.lowellpl.lib.in.us/history.htm
-- the Old Timer wishes everyone a very joyous, prosperous and Happy New Year?
Did you know that?
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