• By Kirk Gaw

Revisiting Walkerton New Pictures Reveal Another Time

Founded as a railroad community the Town of Walkerton continues to be a hub of activity even today. The CSX Railroad continues to run east and west, US 6 is still paved from coast to coast and is the longest highway in the nation. Agriculture and industry continues to unite its people. Shoppers seek commerce between Walkerton, South Bend, Plymouth, Knox, and LaPorte.

The Walkerton of today yearns to relinquish what was once it's business center complete with identifiable brands easily traveled by customers. The citizens continue to establish their historic core, and are working on marking cultural landmarks with plaques courtesy of the new "Main Street of Walkerton" group. Here we have come across amazing photograph's celebrating the spirit of Walkerton, and it's people. More pictures continue to be collected and are contributed by caring families.

Here we visit a moment near the center of Walkerton showing densely built family style residences at Roosevelt Rd. and Indiana Street. You can see the old Presbyterian Church in the back that once stood on Van Buren St. & Indiana St.

Visiting the old Art Shirley restaurant located on the Roosevelt Rd. business district also known as Ave. F. "Shirley's Restaurant" was a popular spot. Picture from Kay Pletcher.

Busy downtown Walkerton at 600 block of Roosevelt at Illinois St. You can see the glass blown out of the Hudelmayer Opera House Building after a devastating fire across the street.

The 700 Block of Roosevelt Rd. once known as Avenue F. Here you can see a "tin lizzy" motoring through town, horse posts, the Lake Erie & Western train station, and the bandshell that once served as an entertainment platform from bands, politicians, and travelers looking for a spot to read.

An old Walkerton postcard used by railroad travelers who stopped in the community while, traveling the passenger service east and west routes.

The old Walkerton Water Works pumping station and electric substation. It greeted north - south bound travelers visiting along the Highway 23, Liberty Street route. It's brown brick was resemblant to a castle. It's unique keystones in the arched windows remind of ancient Roman revival style. The domes are covers for water biology. The water tower remained until about 1970 when it was replaced to the west side of town. The lot was redeveloped for a new Superstore and shopping center complete with the newer laundromat.

The old Walkerton High School once stood at Michigan where it intersects Ohio St. It was designed in a castle style, decorated with the unique arched bell tower. Harold C. Urey's father was a teacher there and also, was superintendent.

Young shoppers wait for a delivery while supporting the old "Patterson's Bakery" on the 600 block of Roosevelt Rd. It was next door to the old Starr Hotel. And a few doors from the Rialto Theater.

Built as housing for workers in Walkerton from the military arsenal a few miles west of town the West York housing duplexes served many families. It survived through decades between Ohio Street and Washington. It was recently replaced with single family homes. It is a reminder of another era that once existed in the community. The apartments symbolized hope during the Great Depression and the early beginnings of World War II. It's first residents were bussed to work at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant.

A 1946 resident poses in front of the old Independent Bld. and Shell gas station that served on Roosevelt & Michigan Street. You can see the old water tower in the background. Today, a high tech security firm "Vermillion Enterprises" occupies the brick building. The gas station at one point became "Tom's Hot Dog's" stand in the 1960's. It was demolished and replaced with the newspaper building by 1970. Photo provided by Kay Pletcher.

The Bert Apple Building was built originally as one of the first Buick dealership's in the nation. Mr. Apple was a busy entrepreneur who moved his family into the upstairs unit for their home after they moved to Walkerton from Chicago. He also, was one of the first Indian Motorbike dealership's. He eventually transferred the building for the Lincoln Township Assessor's office and later it became the new Town of Walkerton and Court Building. It also, housed the Walkerton Library and artifact museum. The rear garages provided the town street department and part of it was converted for the Town of Walkerton Police department with dispatch and jail. It also, was once the home to the ambulance service and was the Trailways bus stop.

Thelma Kost serving customers at a downtown Walkerton restaurant. You can see the milkshake malted machine and soda jerk equipment. Photo from Linda Betz.

A very young Norene and Janet working retail and the ice-cream counter in downtown Walkerton. Look at those old tobacco pipes on the wall!

Many thanks to Charles Sherland and the Walkerton Historical Society Museum located at 413 Michigan St., Walkerton, Indiana 46574

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