— Second-hand stores. East Main and North Jackson had several second-hand stores. I recall Mack’s, Red’s, Jesse Burge’s and Morgan’s. They were dusty, dim and heated with pot-bellied stoves. Used furniture was the big draw, but I still use a carpenter’s hammer that I bought at Mack’s, and I still refer to a copy of Hiram Beckwith’s “History of Vermilion County, 1879,” that I bought for a dime.
— Union Car Wash, South Vermilion Street, near the Palmer Bank. I remember the guys with rubber boots, rubber coats, sponges, brushes and chamois skins. They also had wands that shot live steam, for melting tar and grease.
— Vermilion County Jail, South Vermilion Street. This Italianate structure of red brick with limestone trim dated to the 1870s, with an addition from about 1917. The front of the old jail was really a Victorian house, because the sheriff and his family used to live there. I was in the jail many times because my dad did business there. Seeing the inmates in their cells was educational; every boy should have that experience.
Ah, downtown Danville, 50 years ago. Gone, but not forgotten!
Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at email@example.com.