Growing up in Canton: The Avenue

Written by on October 3, 2012 in Baltimore Voices, Blogs - 1 Comment

Growing up in Canton meant that when it came time to go shopping, you went up on The Avenue—Eastern Avenue.

You did not have to go downtown to the big department stores. You had Epstein’s, Irvin’s, Thom McCann shoes, Hanover Shoes, and Miles Shoes. You can’t forget Levy’s shoe store, because when you were inside, you were afraid that the stacks and stacks of boxes were going to come down on you.

Our mother would take us on The Avenue two major times per year, just before school around Labor Day, and then for the George Washington’s Birthday sales. We had clothes that we wore to school and clothes that we wore to play, and you had better not let Mom catch you playing outside in your school clothes!

Yeager’s Music was the place to go not only if you could afford to buy an instrument, but if you needed to have the latest 45 record release—and, they had listening booths. Today’s big box stores just have headsets and key pads.

Fine dining? You could walk to one of the best restaurants in Baltimore—Haussners—and, wow, what an art collection, especially in the bar.

Home-style dining? You found White Coffee Pots plus G & A. We didn’t know how good we had it, did we?

If you wanted to dress like Beau Brummel, you could go to A & G Clothiers or Tru-Fit Clothes, or even Lee’s, for top-or-the-line, up-to-the-minute fashions. Believe me, I would spend lots of time looking in Tru-Fit’s window, planning my future wardrobe.

There were no dollar stores, but places like Goldenberg’s came pretty close. It was Shockett’s, however, that was way ahead of the curve on low-budget bargains.

Louis J. Smith’s had everything you needed in the line of sporting goods. In fact, I still have a baseball glove and an old tennis racket from there.

For models/hobbies, it was Gammerman’s—it was sad when they had that fire. I’ll always remember how kids brought their best model cars to be displayed in the showroom.

For the finest of jewelry, it was S. & N. Katz, with their huge display all along Conkling St.

For furniture for the well-to-do, it was Weiland’s, and for us poor folks, it was the fourth floor of Epstein’s in the back.

Speaking of Epstein’s, I must point out that they had a large lunch counter that you could access through the Bank St. entrance. But it was Woolworth’s that had the most popular meal deal.

We were so busy up on The Avenue that we had two Read’s drug stores, and they were always packed with customers and products. They too had a good lunch counter, especially for ice cream dishes, plus the booth-by-booth jukebox machines.

Pep Boys and Western Auto competed head to head on Conkling St.. It always proved beneficial to everyone in Canton and Highlandtown.

Also on the corner of Bank and Conkling was and IS probably the best family-owned bakery in all of East Baltimore, Hoehn’s. They are open once Wednesday through Saturday, and sell out everyday. I’m in there once a week.

You could pay your BG&E bill and buy appliances on the same avenue, but they have long since gone, and in its place for the past 40-plus years is the Eastern House Restaurant—one of the best kept secrets of Cantonites.

The Avenue has changed and still keeps changing, but, speaking as a native of Canton, it was our mall, our downtown, and our Main Street.


One Comment on "Growing up in Canton: The Avenue"

  1. Salam December 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm ·

    The 49ers should sign Goldson to a long term deal, but they shdluon’t pay him top safety money. I was disappointed with Goldson play this year. Last year, Goldson was awesome. This year he wasn’t worth top five safety money. Offer him a long term deal that’s fair, nothing more. But evaluate what’s fair properly.Regarding Alex Smith it’s clear the 49ers are going to play the bluffing game. They’ll say he’s ours and we’re going to sign him, hoping to trade Smith. But unless the 49ers can find a trading partner who thinks Smith 8 million a year or so is what he’ll get on the open market, it’ll be hard for the 49ers to trade Smith. Look at all the rookie qbs who are playing for peanuts and doing well. That alone decreases Smith’s value. Why pay Smith 8 million per year when you can draft a qb, get similar productivity and find a guy who might have a higher ceiling. We all know Smith’s ceiling. I truly believe the Jets are the best trade partner for the 49ers. I seriously doubt the Browns want Smith. Norv can do special things with Weeden, and Weeden’s ceiling could be higher . for a lot less. Arizona just got burned with Kolb. Think they want Kolb II in Smith. Kolb was serviceable under Reid, but under Whizzerhurtz Kolb was awful. Could be the same dynamic under Arians. Smith serviceable under Harbaugh, but a disaster under Arians. I think Arians will look to draft a guy like Barkley and develop him. Arians did great with Luck. I bet Arians tries to repeat that same dynamic with a rookie qb in Arizona. The more teams that do this, the less Smith will get on the open market, and Smith’s number will drop from 8 million a year to more like 4 million a year. A team like the Jets may need to make a committment to a guy like Smith to sell tickets, and Revis is available. Revis is worth a 1st, Smith is worth a 3rd if Smith is okay with restructuring his contract. The 49ers obviously think Smith is worth something or they wouldn’t be playing games in the media, but I think it’ll be tough to trade Smith with an 8 million per year price tag.Who here thinks 14 picks will make the team? I know I don’t. I don’t think half of those picks will make this year’s team. So the 49ers might waste 7 picks. Look at last year’s draft. Gone are the days 49er fans can just say (like they have been with Jenkins) he isn’t playing so he isn’t good. Look at last year’s draft: Looney, Flemming, Robinson, Cam Johnson ..and Jenkins? What’s not to hate? Robinson is too small. Cam Johnson will never be an every down linebacker. Who freakin’ knows about Flemming? Looney looks to be a good guard for the future, and Jenkins is another quick, small receiver on a team full of quick and small skill players. The answer is trades. Move up, move down and defer, package for a first rounder. Trade for players like Revis. It’s that simple. If the 49ers do nothing this draft trade-wise, it’s weakening the team . not strengthening it.I know Harbaugh likes to red shirt his freshman, but this team has some holes and there’s nothing wrong with coaching up rookies and playing them their rookie years. Look at 2012 Culliver, Miller, Hunter. We need immediate impact players on the defensive line who can learn immediately, from Justin Smith. I’d also love to see the 49ers find a second tight end to start his rookie year and replace or put serious pressure on Delanie Walker. We need a tall tight end who can grab the ball with his hands above his head. Ever see Vernon Davis do that? Never.

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