Friday, May 23, 2008

Take a walk with me around my little town.

In September, of 1973, my mother, father, brother and I moved to Chesterton, Indiana. At that time the town was very quaint, friendly and a wonderful place to live. Chesterton, has approximately 11,000 residents truly keeping it in the status it prefers, a town and not a city. Though since I have began living there in 1973, it has incorporated a very select few franchised restaurants, it has successfully warded off the big bad big box stores and larger department type stores like Target and Kohl's. It has been my opinion that those that do this feel this keeps Chesterton, a small town with less crime and traffic. In actuality, that is not the case. Crime has risen, traffic has never been so bad, and the overall looks of the town have begun to look worn and downtrodden. The only thing kept small is the small mindedness of so many. Be that as it may be, it has been my town for over three decades, there are some people here worth knowing, and I am going to share some of it with you here. In a day or so, I will be giving you an update to this post and I hope you will stop back by and see what it is.

At the end of this walk there will be a map for you to see where we have been. So, let's get started.

As always, click on the picture if you want a larger version with more detail.

Here you can see the hood of my car and the house across the street. This used to be Joyce's house. Joyce, was a wonderful neighbor to have and was very good to me after my mother passed away. A number of gut wrenching, heart warming and perspective changing conversations took place inside that home. A year ago, after being a widow for many years, Joyce remarried and moved to the other end of Porter Avenue. She will always be one of the most special people in my life.

We turned left, went down to the corner and this is what is across the street. This park has children of all ages in it on a regular basis. These children are enjoying a popular sport in this town, Tee Ball.

The Port Drive Inn, the sponsor for this orange team, is a local carhop drive-in on Calumet Avenue. I worked there in high school. Great tips and a lot of fun. The serve B & K Root Beer, and when you begin working there the owner tells you to always remember that A & W Root Beer means always the worst, and B & K Root Beer means the best kind. :-) I like A & W Root Beer, but the Gassoway's are right on this one.

See the brick building in the background? We will be there in a minute.

Here we are, Westchester Township History Museum. This museum is sponsored by the Westchester library system. Until just a few years ago it was the administration building for the Duneland School system in, Chesterton. Recently, the museum celebrated its tenth anniversary.The small amount of brick you see way in the background is the high school I attended.

On the other side of the street as we are walking, just a typical house in, Chesterton.

The blocks we just walked went from 8th and Porter Avenue, to now 5th and Porter Avenue. This is at that corner. The building in the background is what is now used as the Duneland School system's administration building, and where I vote. Let's keep walking east on Porter Avenue.

I like walking by this house. The ivy on the house reminds me of the ivy I see on photos of houses in, England. Keep dreaming and walking.

Another typical Chesterton, house across the street from the ivy house.

We are now between 3rd and 2nd Street on Porter Avenue. This is the church I have attended.

In the block just south of Porter Avenue and 2nd Street, is this funeral home. I post it here for two reasons. It is a really beautiful building, this photo does not so it justice. Second, this is the funeral home that was used for my dad in 1985, brother in 1995, and mother in 2005.

Now let's turn back around and cross Porter Avenue on 2nd Street, and then go up a block to Lincoln and 2nd Street. This used to be a Lutheran Church. Our church purchased the building as it is catercorner across the street. It is now called The MAC. It is the Methodist Activity Center now. Think Boys and Girls club.

This house is catercorner across from The MAC going a few yards north on 2nd Street. It used to be a Bed & Breakfast.

This house is one down from the former B&B and on the same side of the road. Very lovely and again, the photo does it no justice.

Okay, now we have turned around and gone back to Porter Avenue, then we kept heading east. We are now at a major corner and intersection. This is Calumet (or 1st Street), and Porter Avenue. This Dry Cleaner is on the side of the street opposite of my house on Porter. We have now walked nine blocks as my house is on the corner of 9th and Porter Avenue. We are going to turn left and go up Calumet Avenue.

As we turn left, this sign is on our left. I enjoy going to the European Market. It is held downtown every Saturday, from the last Saturday of May, through the last Saturday, of October.

The above sign is just slightly to the left of this picture. This is Lucrezia's, an upscale Italian restaurant. During the warm months there is alfresco dining behind those trees and fence. Lots of petite white lights strung and waiters in white shirts, black slacks and black bow ties to serve you. Lucrezia's has been featured on the television show Check Please!, Chicago Tonight, and won the R.O.S.E. Award. The above link is full of Italian eating ideas and photos. Click here to see the Raves for Lucrezia's.

This quaint little art gallery and framing shop is the next place we pass.

Across the street from the framing shop is another Italian restaurant, Popalano's. Every thing I have ever eaten here has been delicious. My favorite lunch item is the Tequila Lime Pizza made with garlic ranch sauce, shrimp, jalapeƱos, red onion, lime, avocado, cilantro & tomato. Yum!

This used to be a scrumptious ice cream parlor called, Katie's Ice Cream Parlor. The ice cream was homemade~handmade, and tasted like the yummy stuff we made when I was a young girl at family get togethers. Amazingly wonderful! Now, for reasons I am not aware of, there is no more ice cream and it is called, Katie's Antiques.

This post lady just came out of a building behind us, and I thought it would personalize this walk. :-)

This car is pulling out of the parking lot of the building the post lady just left. I asked her if I could photograph and blog her yellow car with green and yellow dice hanging from the rear view mirror, and a Green Bay Packers license plate. She said she would be proud to have me do that. Go Green Bay!!!! There are those of us, gearing up for a Brett~less year, this next season. :-( Be blessed in all you pursue, Brett.

This is Salon 218. It is located at 218 Broadway. Genius huh? Did I ever mention on this blog that I went to Cosmetology school. Yep, I sure did. And the owner of this Salon, and my stylist is...

Marilyn Petro. Even as an adult, mother and grandmother, it is hard for me to call her Marilyn, instead of, Miss Marilyn. She was also one of my Cosmetology instructors, and by far my favorite. She is a very learned and classy lady. I would recommend if you live in the Porter county area and are looking for a stylist, you go see her. The phone number is: 219.929.1055.

We have just gone up Calumet another half of a block and turned left on Indiana Avenue. Let's stroll in here on Indiana Avenue one block so we can see the library. This is the Thomas Branch of the Westchester Public Library, an hang out of mine. No surprise there I don't suppose.

This is Claire, the Circulation Manager and a very helpful lady. There never seems to be an issue she can not handle. She has an wonderful staff in circulation, clearly reflecting her leadership.

This is one of her staff, Ken. Ken and his wife attend the church we have attended. They both participate in the Last Supper performances. They portray Peter, and his wife. His wife is one of my favorite people and he is a remarkable man. When Ken retired from a very good corporate job, he wanted to volunteer at the library. You have to love that, I know I do. Jon and I enjoy them very much.

This is, Mary Ann. This is another regular in my life that I have a hard time calling by her first name. Mary Ann, or to many of us in Chesterton, Mrs. Wenzel, was the school nurse at Chesterton High School. Mrs. Wenzel, was a stabalizing force in my high school experience. She seemed to know just what to say and just when to say it, (or in some more important cases what not to say and when not to say them). There was one isolated incident that not only showed her compassion, but her integrity. There was a girl in our high school, every high school has one, she was tall and intimidating. Let's call her "D". She did not appear to very interested in school, or very strong physically. But she was very hard in her demeanor. She was the leader of what was commonly known as the "hoods". I am not sure what they might be called today, but suffice it to say they were not girls you wanted to rumble with (think West Side Story). This group of "hoods" ( I really dislike labels but I use this for clarity) however, looked for a good rumble. Most girls did not want to see them coming and found reasons to skat (am I dating myself?) if they showed up. Anyway, one day "D" was in the bathroom having a cigarette. She was not done with the cigarette and I had just come out of one of the bathroom stalls, so she held her cigarette out to me and told (notice not asked) me to hold it while she took a whizz. I really was not afraid of her, I basically got along with everybody, but I took it and held it just the same. Of course at the very moment "D" shut her stall door, Mrs. Wenzel, walks in the bathroom. UGH!! What it came down to was that it did not matter what I had to say, I was in the school bathroom with a lit cigarette in my hand. I won't finish that story off because that is not the point of sharing Mrs. Wenzel, with you. The point was how she spoke to me on the way to the office. She reinforced in me what a successful person she knew I was despite the current circumstances. First of all, I did smoke and was a bit of a handful at that time. I was facing suspension or serious hours of detention one way or the other. I figured it was better to do it this way than to pull my Marlboro's out of my pocket. "D" smoked Kool's and so I could have easily proven the dirty little fag butt was not mine, but I feared a double punishment and kept my mouth shut. Mrs. Wenzel, knew how to speak kindly and how to be an encouragement and edify a young person. I still respect her so much and enjoy seeing her at the library.

This is the children's librarian, Mary Beth. This is my favorite area of the library, and Mary Beth is the best children's librarian I have ever met. I have been hanging around libraries for three decades incidently. She is very informed about children's literature, has a real passion for the literature and the children (and adult children), and loves to share and help. What an asset to the library.

This currently sits in the center of the children's department. I love this!

This photo does not do this beautiful house justice, sorry. This house is right across the street from the library. It is white and trimmed in three shades of lavendar, lilac and purple. It is so tastefully done. Very beautiful. I love seeing it everytime I leave the library.

This is the house next to the pretty white and purple house. It is a lovely used book store. Very appropriate across from the library.

And this, is the next house down on the side of the street opposite the library. It is a counseling office called, Duneland Counseling Center.

Okay, we have turned around and are back at Calumet and Indiana Avenue now. There is a slight hill here and I thought I would take a photo from atop looking over to a courtyard at the corner of Calumet and Indiana.

This is that courtyard at eye level taken from Calumet. I took the above photo so you could see the checker~chess table tops. While in Germany, I saw people in parks playing on stone chiseled game tables. I thought it so lovely. When Chesterton, installed these I thought it was really nice. Though, I have never seen them used, I am guessing they must be.

This is the home of the, Chesterton Tribune. It is located at 193 S. Calumet Avenue. This newspaper has been in publication since 1884, is an independent paper and is owned and run by the Canright family.

Ah, The Chesterton Cake Boutique! Last year at the European Market, two smiling ladies, dressed in the most beautiful shade of a vibrant version of carnation pink, were operating a booth for extraordianary baked goods. I had seen paper over the window above window with a notice that a Cake Boutique would be opening soon. My first thought was how desparately Chesterton needed a good bakery and how thrilled I was that it appeared one was on the way. My second thought was that if there was any way possible, the propietor(s) would offer a booth at the European Market. And, there they were just a few weeks later. My mother was a master cake decorator. She was trained in Japan, when we lived there under the Wilton School of Decorating. I was introduced to the most amazingly beautiful and lovely cakes at an early age. There were several icings and frostings my mother used to decorate those cakes. Fondant was one of my favorites. I learned to mold it quickly, and when I saw what it could produce... well it was love at first sight. It was popular for a few years and then I never, or at least I don't remember seeing it again until just a few years ago. Now, the cake challenge shows on the food channel are using it and it is all the rage. It is now available ready~made in stores like JoAnn's and Michael's. I think it lost its popularity way back when because it was difficult to make. Somehow, Mom made it easy enough. Fondant is the key decorating medium for cakes at The Chesterton Boutique. Below are some of the cakes these two ladies made and have displayed in their store front window.

The base of this wedding cake is actually a creamy cappacino color. Gorgeous!

There is the most delicate hue of pink in the flower and on the lid of this teapot cake. Do you love this??

Pink and brown... one of my favorite color combinations (refer to blog color layout :-). Sarah, I would love to buy one of these handbag cakes, let you make the tea (my guess is yours is so much better than mine), we would forget points and have afternoon tea. In your honor I name this cake handbag, Daisy. Daisies are friendly, fun and sound sweet. Also, their is a flower that somewhat resembles a Daisy on the handbag.

Here are the proud owner's Donna, and Janine. Those smiles are not fake. They are a couple a Christian women that have left corporate America, to do what they love, and make it pay! Be blessed and prosper always Donna, and Janine!!

This is inside the Cake Boutique. As you can see they offer more than cakes. They offer the best Chocolate Shortbread (thanks Donna for you know what), as other high end cookies, brownies, bars and pastries.

This would be my take home stash! This lovely sweet shoppe is located at 139 S. Calumet, Chesterton. The phone number is, 219.921.1414, and you can email them at,

This is the Polish Pottery. The owner's Joyce Fuller, and Bob Horning, are very proud of their handmade pottery. They travel to Poland to visit the potters that make their wares. They also support a local potter and have much rich Polish history that you can aquaint yourself with in this lovely shop. If you are ever in Chesterton, I recommend you stop in.

Bob was stepping out for a breath of fresh air and some sunshine, so he let me photograph him. Bob, knows so much about Poland and this pottery that it would be a diservice to yourself to not spend some time chatting with him. He loves to tell you all about the country and its pottery.

If you did not already, you really should click on the photos to see detail of the handwork. Polish Pottery, is located at 137 S. Calumet, in Chesterton.

Now we are at the corner of Calumet and Broadway. This is the big intersection for this small town.

I like the clock. It about five and a half foot high and ever so cute, and practical. It is much easier to see than the one on hung on the side of the bank for so many years.

This is the park beyond the clock as we travel west down Broadway. Many weddings have taken place at that gazebo. In January I posted an entry called, Good to be back! In that entry there was a little section called, Friday's in the park. This park is the host location for Friday evening live summer concerts. Once it becomes dusk~dark, a children's movie is shown, complete with popcorn. The concert I blogged about in the link above was a performance by the Northwest Indiana Pipes & Drums. They will be performing in a few weeks on Friday, June 13.

To the east across the street from the corner clock is Peggy Sue's. It is the smokiest and greasiest greasy spoon I have ever been in.. (twice in 35 years and both times at the request of a family member.) But, it has a very faithful following and does very well. Two big fans of this little dive are my husband and one daughter. I really should give Guy, on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, a heads up on this place.

This is the corner of Calumet and Broadway where we stood to take the above pictures. The upper floor of this building is a beautiful apartment that the owner's live in.

Here we are peeking down 2nd street south from Calumet Avenue. If we walked five blocks further south we would be back at the Methodist Church. We are just taking a big rectanular walk around town with a dip and peek, here and there.

This is the little building at the far end of the above photo.

Getting back up on Broadway, this is what we see. There is dog groomer, Barkley's, at the corner of 2nd and Broadway. I have seen four Scotties in Chesterton, in the last 35 years. One named Angie, one named Portia, both of which I found out came from the same parents my Baxter came from. Yep! They were her full sisters. Both of them were much older, around 11-14 years old. Baxter of course, and now this Scottie. Apparently, this woman lives in Michigan and come to Barkley's because her cousin owns the shop. I was so surprised to see this Scottie girl. She is not related to Baxter, but is older as well.

A block down from the Scottie surprise is our Chamber of Commerce. This lot is used for the European Market.

We are now at 4th and Broadway. This is also a new bakery, Baguette's on Broadway. Though this bakery does have some pastry type offerings, they focus on breads. Very delicious breads. They are only open Thursday 10a - 6p, and Friday - Sunday 7a - 3p. They are closed Monday - Wednesday. Odd, I think. They have their reasons I am sure. There baked goods are very good. Excellent actually.

We are peeking down 4th Street from Broadway now. Don't let this building fool you. There are some very accomplished artists featured, and teaching classes in here. This is the Chesterton Art Center.

Across the street from the Art Center is one of Jon's, favorite places in town, The Chesterton Bicycle Station.

Looking north from 4th Street, we see the original train station in, Chesterton. There have been several businesses in this building. It is currently empty. For a little history of Chesterton, you can click here.

Directly across the train tracks we see this. It is two old South Shore train cars with a building pulling them together. There have been businesses in here, but it also currently empty.

Sleepy Hollow Leather is on the north side of Broadway as we continue to walk. Here you can buy Minnetonka Moccasins. Odd, this town was settled because of French Canadian fur traders, Swedish homesteaders and originally, Potawatomi Indians. There is a rich Indian heritage here, and now this is the only place for miles that you can buy a pair of moccasins. I had an authentic pair of moccasins purchased in Colorado, when we lived there. I wore them for as long as I could in junior high (until I out grew them). I have always enjoyed reading about Indian culture and visiting Indian sites. One of my childhood favorites was Cliff Dwellings, in Colorado.

Next, and on the same side of the street we arrive at, Red Cup Cafe.

Let's get a little closer and then go in.
This is the propietor, Kelly Brubaker. Kelly is very friendly, always smiling and really seems to love what she is doing. I am so glad she opened this cafe. My favorite sandwich that I do not make myself, is made right here. Kelly calls it the Veggie & Hummus. She offers Izze sparkling juices, and I love every flavor. Okay, I have never seen the peach flavor or it may be my favorite. As it stands I suppose I am most partial to the Izze Grapefruit.

I tried to photo the menu here. If you click on the photo you can see it better.
Kelly, serves very good coffee and tea with organic offerings. Notice the red cups??
This is Kelly's significant other, Tony. Tony is a wonderful guitar player and carpenter. He remodeled this space for Kelly, and it is gorgeous. Did you notice in the first photo, when we first arrived at Red Cup, that there were two businesses listed on the sign? The other business was, Duneland Pizza. A gentleman by the name of, Craig Berg. In 1972, Craig and his wife opened, Duneland Pizza. Their store front was a small building down at the corner of 13th and Broadway. Think an old ice cream stand that you walk up to the window, no indoor service. It was small, they were young, very hard working, friendly, positive and the pizza was amazing! With that combination they only stood to grow. And that they did. They moved to this current location before too long. Duneland Pizza was a booming restaurant that occupied this entire building. They added many delicious things to the menu. When my brother would come home from tours of duty with the Navy, this was the first thing he wanted to eat... every time! There were many others that felt the same way, and with good reason... the food is excellent and the pizza is the best I have ever had. As time went on, Craig began exploring his passion, photography. Craig, has become very well known for his photography artwork. He photographs the Dunes, Lake Michigan and all of the beauty those two pieces of creation provide. And once again, he does it well. Some (myself included) feel he is the best. Eventually, he cut back the hours of operation some to the pizzaria and opened a photograhy studio and store front for his work. With that he reduced the physical size of his pizzeria. Enter, Kelly. She worked at Duneland Pizza and had been wanting to open a coffee shop cafe. Now, she operates out of the other half of what was Duneland Pizza. She closes by 3:00 p.m., and the pizza shop opens at 4:00 p.m.. They share the kitchen and all is well in the culinary department of, Chesterton :-).
We are leaving now. I'd love to sit here and have some of Kelly's Blackberry Coffee Cake and Vermont coffee with you though.

Between 7th and 8th Street on Broadway, you see our Town Hall, Fire and Police departments. Let's turn left here.

This is The Flower Cart. Without doubt, this is the most artistic floral shop in this county, and probably even much more widespread than that. I am pleased to report, this is where Jon, shops. Nuff said.
This is the owner and floral designer, Steve Brickner. Steve, was invited to be a part of the floral designing and displaying for both President Bush's inaugural balls, and the receptions as well as all of the events that surrounded the welcoming of each President. You can click here to read an article written about Steve and the inaugural events.
Above is what it looks like upon entering the Flower Cart.

This is behind you when you enter.

In my secret life, I was with the Calendar Girls. This is my tribute to that. :~). I would give you the location and particulars for this shoppe, but they have grown out of this location and are moving. Congratulations, Steve and Raymond! Click here to get the scoop.

And now, we are at the corner of 8th and Morgan Avenue, and that puts us on the other side of my high school.

We are still strolling down 8th Street. And lookey there! Another Green Bay Packers, plate! You know for what is known as and vehemently defended Bear country, there are an encouraging amount of proud Packers fans.

Go another block and a half on 8th Street and turn left. Walk one more block, and we will be home. Upon arrival, we will put on water for tea, and have a sweet morsel from the Cake Boutique. :-)

And what do we find at home??

Be back in a day or so. Thanks for taking a walk around my little town with me, I've enjoyed your company.

Thank you for coming with me today!


Kim said...

How did I miss this post? What a wise and wonderful idea, taking photos of your town to remember it by!

Kim said...

Baxter is adorable, btw!

BritGal' Sarah said...

Howdy Okie-gal good to have you back and now coming from my state!

Great post and very interesting, a lovely way to share your home. Now we need a post on your new home!

Teresa said...

Kim ~ thanks for the comment on, Baxter. I think we all know I think he is adorable... nice when someone else does!

Sarah ~ Thanks for the welcome. People are so nice here and I do feel welcome. Not unpacked completely, but all of the essentials and some of the frills are out and in operation. I don't think I will be quite as definate about my location on this blog as I was about Chesterton, for obvious reasons. But, photos and stories coming soon!

Kim said...

Good to hear your settling in, my friend. I've missed you. I'm looking forward to hearing how things are going!

Barbara said...

This must be the longest post that has ever been posted!

Interesting to see the different houses and styles. I wonder how you managed to get all those people to allow you to take a photo in the first place.

Are you settled in your new place yet?

Teresa said...

Barbara ~ yes, I am settling in. I am nearly unpacked. All of the essentials are out and we are back to near normal after a month of controlled chaos. And yes, I thought that post was a bit long too. That is why it took me a bit to get it all up. The reason those people all agreed to having their picture taken and put on a blog, (I did ask and tell them what I was doing), was because I have lived in that small town for 35 years and they know me. Of course, had I gone into one of the local bars it would have been a different story. They don't know me.

I will be posting a bit about my new life here within a day or so. I want to thank you for your prayer and encouragement. I have found no house church here, but I see God has something for me just the same and I am so much happier here. My joy was in tact in Chesterton, but now I can speak of happiness, too. Thank you, Barbara!

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

Mary said...

I really enjoyed the walk around your town and I had to laugh when I saw the picture of the car with Packers plates! It will be odd to have a Favre-less team this year. He sure is a tough act to follow.

I would love to visit the cake shop - you really have a nice choice of restaurants for a small town!

I've been checking your blog the past weeks and was so happy to see your new post.

BritGal' Sarah said...

I've tagged ya but feel free to ignore - see my blog!

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