Residents recall ‘the corner’ of days gone by

By Regina Villiers. Originally published July 8, 1998 in The Suburban Life, added July 16, 2018.

These are some of the buildings on Camargo Road razed to make way for a Walgreens. They were built in the mid-1920s by Julius Fleischman.

The building of a Walgreens store at Miami and Camargo roads has forever altered an old corner of Madeira.  Though business had come and gone there through the years, the beautiful old buildings had stayed the same.

Now, they are forever gone.

According to Dick Valentiner, the buildings razed a few months ago were built in the middle 1920s by Julius Fleischman.   They were all in one unit, fronting Camargo Road.  Each business had a back door.  There was a drive-through along the back with room for a truck to back up to the back door of each store area.

Dick can name all the tenants down through the years.  On the corner of Miami and Camargo sat the first Kroger store in Madeira.  Next to it was Brinkrogers’s Hardware.  Then came the Camargo Bank of Madeira, which later was a meat market.  A doorway went upstairs to two apartments.  Next came a Dodge-Plymouth dealer and garage, Dick says.

In recent years, the Kroger store corner became a drug store and then, at the time of the razing, this was a floor-covering store.  Greta Petersen’s Gallery was in Brinkroger’s old location, and Creative Hair Concepts was in the location of the old Camargo Bank of Madeira.

Dot Perin remembers this area well, for she lived there in the 1930’s with her husband, David.  After they married, they lived in Madisonville for a while.  Then they moved to Southelde in Madeira and then moved into the upstairs apartment over the Camargo Bank of Madeira.

At the time they lived there, Dot says, one of the front windows in their apartment fell out.  The owner replaced it, but the replacement didn’t match, the replacement window always looked strange.

The reason it didn’t match, Dick Valentiner says, was that all the original windows in the buildings were made of leaded glass.  The new replacement window wasn’t.

Dot remembers that her husband’s brother, Ed Perin, owned a barbershop in the basement under the buildings.  The entrance to the basement barbershop was on Miami Avenue, and you went down a flight of outside steps to get to it.

After the barbershop left, this became a little restaurant, she say.

Dot and David Perin ha two children, John and Cathy, who never lived there.  By the time they were born, the Perins had built a house on Sanoma Avenue.

But Cathy remembers this area well.  She is now Cathy Smith and lives near Lynchburg, Ohio, not far from her uncle, and Dot’s brother Brownie Morgan.

Cathy remembers going to the little basement restaurant for lunch every day when she was in first grade at the old school just across the street.  She was allowed to leave school to go eat lunch.

This would have been in 1952-53, she says, and the restaurant was owned by Betty Hudgins.  She would get a plate lunch or a hamburger.

These days, Cathy comes to Madeira once a week to see her mother, who still lives on Sanoma.  Like all the Morgans, gardening runs in her blood, and she has a job working in a greenhouse and plant store.  She’s also the proud mother of 19 year-old Nick, who’s an Eagle Scout and goes to Southern Stare College in Hillsboro.  He also works at a job.

Lucille Davis had lived in this Camargo road area for years and still lives there.  Much of her life is tied up on that corner.

Lucille is a faithful reader and strong supporter of this column.  In fact, she won the first MILER (Most Interesting Letter Expressed to Regina) ever given.

Lucille and her husband, Barton, moved to her present Camargo Road address from Clifton, in 1951.  Barton was to be the manager of the King Duffy Grocery that was located in the United Dairy Farmers building.  After only a short time, Mr. King died leaving Lucille’s husband without a job.

Barton then went to work at a small meat market in the building where Creative Hair Concepts most recently was.  This had previously been the site of the bank, over which Dot Perin had lived.

The meat market later moved on up Camargo road and became Greenwood Food Market.  Lucille remembers that they served so many wonderful people and customer there.  Then, unfortunately, in 1955, Barton died.

At his untimely death, Lucille was left with three small children. Their oldest, Kenneth, was 6.   Roger was 12 months, and Judy was only 2 months old.

It was a precarious spot for Lucille, but she made it with the help and support of friends.  She still remembers the kindness of people to her.  She stayed on, and her three children grew up here.  All graduated from Madeira High School.  Kenneth is still here, with the fire department.   He’s at the Indian Hill station.

“As I drive or walk up Camargo Road now,” Lucille said, “I have so many memories of this area over the past 47 years.  I find it hard not to get a little weepy and teary-eyed over the changes.  I can only hope that progress is good.”

Maybe.  Time will tell if progress is good.  But Dot Perin, Cathy Smith, and Dick Valentiner all share her feelings over the changes.  All have many memories tied up in that corner.  All remember the way it was.

Dot Perin, right, once lived in an upstairs apartment in the buildings torn down to build a Walgreens. Her daughter, Cathy Smith, center, remembers eating her first-grade lunches in a little restaurant there on the corner, in 1952-53. Brownie Morgan, Dot’s brother, is on the left.