I’m kind of vague about Merrick Road. I do remember Herman’s Stationery store and the Venice Inn where I got my first (and best) pizza. Further down on Merrick Road was the Baldwin Theater and the Presbyterian Church where I was baptized. Across from the church, they later built a police station.
Further down on Merrick Road towards Freeport, on the corner of Milburn, was Butafucco’s Auto Repair. Across from Butafucco’s on Milburn was the Coral House. The Coral House still exists, but Butafucco, I believe, is hanging out in California. Just below Merrick Road on Milburn there was a building where the “Paragons” met. This was a ball club my brother Bill belonged to.
Back on Grand and Merrick, the road forks into Foxhurst Road. The public library used to straddle these two roads. There was a stream running underground most of the way ending in Silver Lake. We used to end our Memorial Day parades at Silver Lake. They still have the War Memorial there with my name listed for service in WWII.
I don’t remember much more on Grand except the American Legion Hall, and a good restaurant on Atlantic Avenue. Further down we crossed over Church Street on the way to the bay. Church was the main street of Baldwin Harbor at one time. On the corner of Church and Grand was Eckhart’s Coal & Feed store. There was also a lumberyard on the street and... what else? A bar and grill.
These are my memories of Grand Ave. Now, on a warm summer evening, I sometimes get my saxophone and a glass of wine and play those old songs of the 30s and 40s that had meaning to their words. I reminisce about the days at Meister’s Beach, going out to one of the islands in Baldwin Bay and digging up a bushel of steamers. (We called them “piss clams” because they shot a stream of water when you stepped on the sand above them.) We would “tread” for hard shell clams and eat them while we dug them up. On the nights when the tide was out, we’d go out “jacking” on our boat. This meant we went to the seaweed beds in Baldwin Bay and, with a bright light, let the wind drift us over the seaweed beds where the crabs waited. We could easily net a bushel.
Those were the “golden days” and they still light up my memories.