I was talking with a friend whose husband grew up in Ukiah and often gives directions based on landmarks that don’t exist anymore. “Keep going past the old Green Barn,” he’ll say, or “You know, it’s next to where Wildbergers used to be.”
Hearing the names of these old businesses brought back a flood of memories. They sent me back to a time when I walked the streets of Ukiah as a boy, trailing my mother or father as they picked up groceries and other necessities. So, for those of you interested in walking down memory lane, here are some of the places I remember.
Let’s start at Medico Drug on the northwest corner of State and Standley Streets (now TJ Nail and Spa). If you were a kid walking with your head down rather than paying attention to your surroundings, you still knew when you arrived at Medico Drug because there was a white block of marble embedded in the sidewalk at the entrance that said DRUGS. Monte Hill and his business partner owned the store.
Then, if I was out with my father, we’d walk up Standley Street past the jewelry store and stop at The Hub, a newsstand and cigar shop with a little coffee bar inside run by Mac and Lucille McClendon, if memory serves. My dad really liked good cigars, so he would buy the expensive ones that came in their own glass tubes for a whopping 25 cents apiece. While he picked out cigars, my eyes couldn’t help but wander to the magazine covers my mother would never approve of.
After The Hub, we’d continue west on Standley past the Samoa Club bar and Cal’s Variety Store to Wildberger’s Market (now Patrona Restaurant). All of Wildberger’s would fit inside today’s deli section at Lucky’s, so we’re not talking about a big place. However, it sure had good produce and the unbeatable Ward’s Meat Market.
Whenever we went to Wildberger’s, we’d see Rick Wildberger with a ready smile wearing his green grocer’s apron. Before shopping for groceries, we’d make our way across the rustic wood floor to the glass counter where the Ward’s Meat Market butcher, Paul Hansen, would take our order. Then we’d shop for our other groceries and return to the counter where Mr. Hansen had prepared and wrapped our meat order.
After Wildbergers, we’d cross the street to the old Savings Bank (same location as today’s bank, but a completely different building). There, my father could cash a check before we continued to the clothing store Peter’s and Lynch on the southwest corner of School and Standley. The Peter’s and Lynch shoe department was on the corner and had a separate entrance. As a kid, the best part of buying something at Peter’s and Lynch was watching the cashier put our payment in a tube—not like today’s pneumatic tubes, but a little pulley system that took the cash upstairs where they made change and sent it back to the cashier.
Once our errands were done, we’d sometimes continue down School Street, browsing around the Ben Franklin Variety Store (now Mendocino Book Company) or visiting Morrey Berman who owned Berman’s Menswear. Mr. Berman was short and stocky with a square face and he always wore his white hair combed straight back. I don’t think I ever saw him in anything but a dark sportscoat with a tailor’s measuring tape draped around his neck.
After that, we’d sometimes go to Poma TV (now Mendo Baby) on the northwest corner of School and Church where they sold 18-inch black and white televisions for about $300, which is closer to $3,000 in today’s dollars.
Fun memories. Ukiah sure has changed, but for many of us, the old Ukiah remains fresh in our minds.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.