Growing up in Canton: Entertained by the monkeys of Eastpoint

Written by on May 8, 2013 in Blogs, Growing Up In Canton - No comments

As I have written in earlier installments, growing up in Canton often meant venturing out to discover other things—so to speak.

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One journey of note was the trip on the #23 bus to Eastpoint. Notice I did not say “mall,” because it wasn’t one for many years. We would walk down to the backside of Goldenbergs, on the Avenue, and off we went.

Eastpoint had many stores that we no longer hear about, such as Hutzlers, Hochschild Kohn, Hamburgers, Silbers Bakery, Kresges, Reads Drugs, and Arundel Ice Cream and Food Fair, just to name a few.

Hess Shoes was one attraction in particular that we would center on as part of our trip. Why? Well they had a large glassed in “cage” of live monkeys. It was an inside/outside style display; whether or not the store was open, you could stop by, day or night, and be entertained by the monkeys. I don’t recall ever reading about what happened when the store got rid of the display.

Another highlight of our visit to Eastpoint was the live penguins at Hochschild Kohn’s. As I recall it was a glass-enclosed bit of Antarctica with a large swimming pool surrounded with ledges. I can only imagine what the cost for upkeep of the display and care of the animals was at that time, and I can’t remember if there was any accounts in the media—pro or con—of the display during it’s lifetime at Hochschilds. Amazing.

Now onto Putt Putt miniature golf. Way off in the far corner of the parking lot was Putt Putt. I believe it was 50 cents a game, and there were two courses side by side. One thing that always stood out in my mind (which may be odd) was the manager who would announce over the PA, in a slow Southern accent, ”Anyone at this time who gets a hole in one with a red or yellow ball  wins a free pass to any Putt Putt golf course.”

Go ahead—say it out loud in your best Southern accent. We would imitate the man the whole time we played. It makes no sense at all, but it was fun.

If it was a cold or rainy day, duck-pin bowling would be part of the trip. Coming from Canton, we were good at duck pins; we had two lanes real close by–one on Fleet St. and the other on Eaton St. between Eastern and Bank.

All in all it was amazing how a 25-cent bus ride would provide so much fun and memories. No cell phones, iPods, or texting. Our social media meant we got together and went somewhere and did something. Not this generations’ blank stare at a 3-inch by 5-inch electronic screen as they walk along, oblivious to what is going on around them.

Roland would love to hear from anyone else with memories of the old neighborhoods. He can be reached at rmoskal1@verizon.net.

by Roland Moskal
Special to the Baltimore Guide

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