Thursday, January 15, 2009


Do you remember Woolworth's Five and Dime Stores?
The Lunch counter with the stools?
The menu?


Back in the 1960's, my grandmother and I used to catch the bus in the little town of Scotia, NY, where she lived, to go over the bridge to downtown Schenectady. Grandma used to call it "Going on the Peanut Bust". I don't know why. Except that there was a Planter's Peanut's Shop in Schenectady.

When I was very little I thought she said we were going on a "Peanut Bus". I'd look for people seeling peanuts on the bus and even look under the seats or on the floor hoping to see some. LOL~Never found one Peanut on the bus!

Once over the bridge we'd get off the bus in front of Carl's Department then cross the street to Wallace's Dept Store to see my Great Aunt Bessie who worked as the Account Manager of the store. Occasionally we would go to a movie at the Proctors Theater. It was a Theater built in 1917 during the Vaudeville days and in the 80's Hal Holbrook donated money for renovation of the Theater and a large Pipe Organ to keep it as a Historical as it was when silent films were shown.

photo is not one of mine

Look under the humble facade, is an "Arcade" which is a wide corridor that went from this entrance to the other side of the block where there was another set of double doors. Along the hallway there are Book and Music shops. In the 1960's there were "Head Shops" where we could buy jeans, peasant blouses from India, bongs, pipes and papers. Along the corridor there were also a couple of high end ladies clothing stores.

This is the stage and chandeliers within Proctor's Theater.

photo is not one of mine

In Carl's we usually took a potty break. Would you believe we had to insert a dime into the coin box of the stall door in order to use the to toilet?

They had to get rid of that in the 70's when women all over the country protested that paying to use the toilet was discrimination.

Can you imagine the scenario if men were told they had to pay to use the toilet. Heck, they'd go outdoor's and find the nearest tree. Women used to have to pay at Rest Area's on the highways when we were traveling, also.

Another "Different thing" was that in Proctor's theater there was a Ladies room with it's own Lobby. And there were leather couches where women could lay down when they felt faint when it was "that time of the month".

Sometimes we would eat at a Chinese restaurant, but most of the time we'd go to Woolworth's Lunch Fountain to eat.

We'd wander among the rows of counters where women attend to helping us find the five and ten cent items we were looking for. Threads, needles, shower caps, hair nets, hair pins, bun holders, jewelry, toys, safety pins, pens, writing paper, yarn, aprons, and seasonal Nick Knacks.

I think at the fountain I usually had the Bacon and Tomato Double Decker sandwich, on toast. Then Grandma & I would share an Apple Dumpling with Vanilla Ice Cream.

What a treat! Shopping with Grandma and lunch at Woolworth's!



Sonya said...

Oh that Woolworth menu brought back memories even though I was very young. It looked familiar. Wow. I don't remember what I ate there but I remember they had a picture of a skinny man and his fat wife in the restaurant. lol. I was probably about 4 or 5 at the time. This was in Columbia, TN.

Yasmin said...

Sadly our Woolworths here in the Uk have all gone into recievership and closed down, but we didn't have lunch counters though, the menu was cool.

Hope your well


garnett109 said...

our woolworths here in wilkes- barre had it's own restaurant but ss kresges next door had a lunch counter that also served pizza

Coelha :B said...

Oh the memories.. I too remember going to Woolworths when I was younger, and I remember the little restaurant inside. It was a fun place, and it always smelled like moth balls! The one in my town closed down in the early 80's, and the restaurant closed down in the 70's.. I miss that place! You could find anything in there from records to thread and needles! :) Julie

Lisa said...

I loved this entry - took me back to good days with my own grandmother. We would eat at Woolworths all the time and I do remember the aisles & aisles of stuff in the store too. I can recall a smell in the basement of Woolworths so distinctly. It was where they had the pets & linens. I have no idea why that has always stuck in my head but it has. I miss my grandma and those days.

I had to chuckle at your peanut bus. You must have been a doll!!

LYN said...


ADM DESIGN'S said...

I remember Woolworths but our Woolworths here has been gone for years~

Cindi said...

Woolworths was great...thx for sharing your memories shopping w/G'ma, brings back the memories me shopping with mine...

Missie said...

Yep, when I was little, my mom and I would take the bus into the city and spend the day shopping. We'd always have lunch at Woolworth's. They had the best egg salad sandwiches!!

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I sure do miss Woolworths. The one in Saratoga closed a long time ago. I remember going in there one hot August day pregnant with my now 17 year old son and asking for a glass of water. They had the nerve to try and charge me 25 cents and I didn't have a dime on me! So out I went with no water. Some really compassionate people there! I went to Proctor's about 5 years ago and saw The Phantom of the Opera. It was a magical evening!

Connie said...

I,too, loved the five n dime.They made the best sandwiches and cherry cokes..I used to ride my bike all the way to Canton just to buy their lipstick and nail polish,eat lunch and ride back home...those were the days.......

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