Downtown Hammond in the 1960s....
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   In1960 there was still a positive hope for downtown Hammond. Developers and investors decided to purchase the property on the northeast corner of Hohman and Sibley and build a new JC Penny store.  
   
  Hammond, Indiana then began to fade seriously during the 1960s.  Stores moved or closed, pedestrian traffic disappeared, businesses closed their doors and laid people off. There was no reason to shop or visit Downtown Hammond any longer. New retail shopping areas began to spring up: the Woodmar Shopping Center and also River Oaks in Lansing, Illinois. This, coupled with the city's lack of a vision, gradually added to its demise. By the time the City Fathers addressed the train overpasses there was no traffic, no shoppers, an uncertain future...  
     

 
 JCPenny moved out of their leased space and across Hohman to the East side of the street. They occupied the site that had originally
been the German Bank on the northeast corner of Hohman and Sibley.  An Army-Navy Surplus Store took over. If Canadians ever
invaded northwest Indiana, the residents would be found ready and well armed.

Looking west on State Street from Hohman Avenue, the condition of the Indiana Hotel has deteriorated and is in disrepair.
The Army Navy Surplus Store is seen on the extreme left.

 

The Indiana Hotel is getting ready to come down as seen in this final picture. More Hammond history is gone.
Corner of State Street and Hohman Avenue, looking northeast.

 

Penny's has moved to the east side of Hohman at Sibley. "Cast a Giant Shadow" is playing at the Parthenon. It is 1966.
Another sign of the retail decline is the arrival of the Jupiter Discount Store, catering to another clientele.

 

The Jupiter Store was one of downtown Hammond's first discount store, a sign that quality shopping may be on the decline.
 It was located approximately where the Majestic Hotel was once located on the
east side of Hohman Avenue just south of State Street. Photo taken in 1968.


Just a beautiful image of a beautiful, upscale clothing store. Shows pedestrian traffic and beautiful lighting.
Rothschild was a downtown Hammond classic!


Walgreens stood on the northwest corner of Sibley and Hohman Avenue, across from Goldblatts to the South.
Eastbound traffic is now one-way as cars make the corner and shoppers wait at the curb.


 

Too little, too late to save itself by moving across the street, JCPenny stands in the final months of survival.

 

This 1963 photo, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times, is one of the last pictures of the
Lake County Supreme Courthouse, the focal point and center of downtown Hammond.

Located at "Broken Corner", a term used by early settlers to refer to the bend in Hohman Avenue,
the courthouse faced East and is an early referent when navigating photographs of Hammond.

The clock tower was a favorite destination for photographers who would provide aerial
shots for their audience. The lot now sits empty, symbolic of Hammond's destiny.

The Lake County Superior Courthouse that used to occupy the corner on the far left, has been taken down. Goldblatts is getting ready
to close and soon it will be razed. the building to the left of Goldblatts was home to the Bell Telephone Company but it, too, sits empty.

  
 

    Sewer repairs on Hohman Avenue (looking North), a necessary inconvenience to shoppers in 1963. But everything seems to be still in place. Mailboxes are still on the street corners, a sign that pedestrian traffic is present throughout the week. As the City of Hammond moves to create overpasses, it will call for the removal of many Hammond business landmarks. Walgreens, Nagdeman's, the Parthenon theatre, Franks, and north of State Street, the Indiana Hotel will be razed. While people complained about the railroad traffic in downtown Hammond, few realized that addressing their complaints by the city, would result in their having a reason to shop Downtown Hammond go away as well.

Message: Be careful what you wish for...

 

Aerial photo courtesy of the Hammond Times.

 

Hohman Avenue and State Street looking South toward Goldblatts and the courthouse.
Image courtesy of Dan Kovacich.

Pedestrians walk past empty store windows on Hohman Avenue.
No one can be seen carrying shopping bags because no one is shopping.

 

 

 South on Hohman Avenue you can see the old NIPSCO building just to right center. But more jobs are scheduled to leave...
 

Too late for an encore...
The Parthenon closed in 1981 and was later removed from its 60 year old location on Hohman Avenue.
You can still see an old movie trailer if you visit the web site and click on the movie poster.
Enjoy one last movie when you visit Hammond's Theater District!

 

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These images and the web pages are maintained by Richard Barnes, HHS'59.

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