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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v02n01)
Reminiscences of Old Broad Ripple - by Paul Walker
posted: Jan. 07, 2005

After my second year at the old grade school, we all transferred to the new one on Guilford. What had been a mile-and-a half walk each way to school was now three quarters of a mile each way. I remember the names of all the teachers. On the 60th Anniversary of the new school (c. 1989), there was a homecoming at Public School #80. My brother Phillip and I attended and found our first grade teacher, Miss Pearl Eller. She remembered both of us!! She was over 90. The other teachers were: Ms. Updegraff, Ms. Pearcy, Miss Helen Fern Stroud (a beautiful young lady), Ms. McCarthy, Ms. Wheeler, etc.
Broad Ripple Park was the focus of things in the twenties and thirties. It featured the largest paved swimming pool in the world. Along the south side of the pool was a long bath house under a grandstand. Leading out into the pool ran a walkway to a boxing/wrestling ring. There, frequent bouts were held. The pool had low diving boards, a high board, a low slide, and a high slide which would shoot one flying out into the water. Water was made to trickle down this slide for more speed. The water was circulated to keep it fresh. The outlet was the end of an unscreened pipe some fifteen inches in diameter, into which a lifeguard, Jack Schaeffer, for a gag, sat and owing to the suction, could not get out. By the time the pumps were shut off, it was too late.
The park had all the rides, e.g. a thriller, a roller coaster that ended with a splash into water, a dodgem, a skating rink, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round (which is now in the Children's Museum), etc., and a zoo. We lived across two stretches of the river, perhaps two blocks as the crow flies. We could hear the lions roar from our upstairs back window. Canoes could be rented on the river bank.
Motor boat racing was held on the river. One of the boat pilots was Erroll Reinking, later to become a podiatrist in Broad Ripple. From the above back window we heard the motor boats and always thought we heard Erroll Reinking, the local favorite.
There was a paddle wheel steamer on the river, usually near the park. Rumor had it that there was gambling and booze on board, but no one knew for sure. It may have been a fore-runner of the floating casinos of today. At any rate, it ran over the dam and broke up.
In addition to Dr. Reinking, the town boasted several doctors and dentists. Of particular note was Cyrus "Cy" Clark, a well-known heart specialist. He was a customer at "Kick" Frazier's Shell Station when I worked there much later. Also popular were Gertrude Hinshaw (the local chiropractor), and Dr. Osterheld the dentist.
In 1925 a bakery stood on the northeast corner of Guilford and 63rd Street (now Broad Ripple Avenue). Everyone said that a jail had stood next to the Monon station, but no one had any documentation. A 1930 criss-cross directory lists police station #5 in Broad Ripple, but gives no address. There was a cafeteria on the southwest corner of Guilford and the first alley to the north. It was there I learned to love vegetable soup for 10 cents per bowl. If there was nothing to eat at home, Dad gave me a dime and that was where I had lunch. Mike's drug store was open in 1925. In the thirties I remember Filipinos standing in front of Mike's, demonstrating their great skill in spinning yoyos, and selling them to the drugstore cowboys. These were popular toys, along with tops, harmonicas and cap guns. Clever boys could make holsters for their guns. Things Western were in style.


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