After reading our March 5 item about an old Smith Street garage's former life as a movie house, one enthusiastic reader asked if Lost City knew any other tasty historical facts, such as what used to occupy the "fun destination" that is now an Eckerd drug store at President and Smith. "Care to tell us what was THERE previously," this avid nostalgia buff queried.
Well, my sarcastic friend, all I can say is what they teach budding trial lawyers: Never ask a question unless you already know what the answer is.
Because I actually DO know what used to be where the Eckerd's is now. Most recently, is was a stretch of blacktop used by a used car dealership. Long before that, though, it was a two-story brick building of not-unattractive appearance (see above). In this 1928 photo, it says the corner, ground-floor space is to let. Next to it is a laundry.
On the second floor, however, is what looks like a charming coffee and tea room. And way over to left, posted above the entrance to the room, is a sign reading "Kveldsro Kaffistova." This is an indication is the neighborhood's former Norwegian character. "Kaffistova" is Norwegian for "coffee house." "Kveldsro" means "evening peace."
Now, isn't that an lovely notion? Evening Peace Coffee House. That's what we all need, isn't it? A cup of coffee and a little peace and quiet at the end of the day? Certainly it must have been what Norwegian laborers needed in 1928. I think it's what that reader needed, too.
Court on Union