04 April 2024

Town Square Park, Silverton, and My History Thereupon


As mentioned in the last posting, there is a park in the middle of Silverton now, along West Main, between the bridge and Fiske Street, which is terribly charming and comfortable, and they call it Town Square Park.

It's roughly square in shape and goes back some 100-150 feet from West Main. If one goes to the south side of it, and looks north from the ramp to the covered footbridge, just past the war memorial, the view one gets approximates the picture, thenceforth and herewith.

This is a patch of ground I have intimate history with. I'll explain.

In the middle background, in front of that brick building (which at one time was the local phone company building and probably still is telco propertry, though not in the way it was when I was young), is a length of West Main Street that runs about 160 feet in length, give or take fifteen feet or so. And along that brief bit of road, if you drove west from the bridge, there were the following three buildings on that side of the street in this order:

  1. A building that looked as though it once provided services to cars which, even in my youth, looked dusty and disused for decades
  2. Hoyt's Grocery
  3. A gas station on the corner of Fiske that started out as Hancock and later was a Fina station.
Hoyt's Grocery remains a treasured, if attenuating, memory. My mother worked there for a few months while I was a toddler and we were rooming with my Grandma Klein on South Second in the months before we moved up to, and I commenced my formative years on, Steelhammer Road. And many times during that childhood we stopped in for this and than at Hoyt's.

It was the old-school kind of small market, unlike today's quick-shops, c-stores, and roadside markets: it was stocked with dry goods, a small selection of produce and meat, and essentials that you could stop for on the way home if you didn't feel like going over to Roth's or the Safeway. I mean, we knew the owners. They were sweet people. I remember old Lillian Hoyt, how she was just this sweet old lady who ran the grocery store with the assistance of her family, how she lived in the apartment in the small triplex that was tucked in behind that gas station on the corner. I remember how the sign over the front of the store had HOYT'S GROCERY in big, chunky, curvily voluptuous letters, the way that sign was bracketed by two big 7UP (I think it was 7UP, anyway) signs, and the way the front wall was actually set on a track and could be opened like a closet door if they had to. I remember the wooden floor of the place.

And now here am I, wandering through this park and there's no trace of those places. I hope pictures of the old grocery store exist somewhere. I'd like to see them again. 

And now here am I, wandering through this park and in spaces that I couldn't have walked to when I was small, and thinking about how we think as we grow aged the world moves on without us and we can think that way if we want, but we can also think that things change and the world does move on but it moves on with us as passengers and the views from the ride are actually quite lovely, if we accept what we see. 

Getting too philosophical means I've maundered a bit too prolix, and I should leave this here. 

And that I shall. 

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