Time Travel: Next stop, 1955!

A note from the editor: If this post looks familiar to you, you’re not imagining things. It’s just that you must have logged into Cladrite Radio during a half-hour period last week when it was inadvertently sent live. We quickly pulled it down to save it for today, as we originally planned, but no doubt a few regular visitors to our site caught a peek at it before we did. Sorry for the confusion!

A friend pointed us to a 2007 blog post that featured the remarkable portrait you see on the right of a small American town—Sheridan, Wyoming—in 1955.

It got us to wondering how we might opt to spend a single day in the town of Sheridan around the time this photo was taken, if we could arrange a round-trip time-travel ticket (though perhaps not during the All American Indian Days festival—the burg was too darned crowded!).

Of course, we’d want to pop in, at the very least, to every single establishment visible along Main street, but we figure we might start off with breakfast at the Lotus Cafe—scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and some buttered toast, with a big glass of orange juice and a cup of hot coffee.

Breakfast behind us, it would be time for shopping along Main Street.

Tucker’s, visible on the left in this picture, is today an office supply store. We suspect it was something similar then, so we’d likely instead mosey across the street to Stevens Fryberger, a department store known in those days as “the New York store.” We could certainly while away many, many hours in any department store ca. 1955 (or ’45 or ’35 or…), even a small-town one, though we do hope we’d remember to bring plenty of 2010 dough for taking advantage of those mid-1950s prices—there would be no ATM nearby, it’s safe to say.

Eventually, we’d start to feel a little peckish, so we’re thinking we’d head over to the Woolworth’s just up the street to enjoy lunch at their counter. A grilled cheese with a side of mashed potatoes, perhaps. Maybe a shake or a glass of lemonade, with some pie for dessert.

We might be tempted to go back to Stevens Fryberger after lunch, but we’re willing to bet a circa-1955 Woolworth’s would have plenty to keep us occupied, too. Not too mention some of the other establishments and emporiums on the block that we can’t quite make out in the picture. After all, there’s bound to be a menswear store somewhere there on Main Street (hopefully, it would something more than just western wear), and, one would hope, a hat store (fedoras, please—not just cowboy hats).

When evening rolled around, we’d return to the Lotus Cafe (if we’d discovered no other worthy eatery during the day’s meanderings) before taking in a double feature next door at the Wyo Theatre (which was known until 1941 as the Lotus Theatre). As you can see, the Wyo was featuring This Island Earth, starring Jeff Morrow and Faith Domergue (not to mention Russell Johnson, who would go on to assay the role of the Professor on Gilligan’s Island), paired with Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle, starring Gordon Scott as the Lord of the Jungle opposite Vera Miles, Peter van Eyck, and Jack Elam.

We hope and trust we’d also be treated to a cartoon—a Chilly Willy, perhaps?—a news reel, and maybe a short or two, after which we’d beat a path to Brown’s Drugs, which was part of the Walgreen’s chain (there were between 400 and 450 Walgreen’s agency stores in 1955), for a malted or a banana split at the soda fountain.

We might then wind down over a beer or whiskey (or both) at the Mint Bar (see the sign with the giant cocktail glass just above and to the right of the All American Indian Days banner? That might be it — if not, it’s definitely just a short stroll away), which had already been around for 45-plus years in 1955 (and is still going strong today after more than a century in operation).

At that point, we’d be worn out, no doubt, but it’d be a good kind of tired, you know? We would have acquired a lifetime of memories. So at the point we’d finally call it a day and return to our room at the Western Hotel (built in the early 1900s — the building still stands, we think, though it doesn’t appear to be a hotel anymore) or the Uptown Motel (Sheridan’s Finest, or so they claimed).