Monday, June 22, 2020
June 19, 2020 Sunrise Hike in Downtown Hammond
Ever since my grandfather walked me all over NYC in the 1970s, I have been fascinated with non-tourist areas of our cities. Since I have lived in several Rust Belt cities in my life, I've had a lot of opportunities to explore many "formerly prosperous" neighborhoods. Now, I am about the same age he was in the 1970s and I still love walking through neighborhoods. I believe the best way to really see a neighborhood is to talk to the locals and walk around it. Today, I chose to walk around downtown Hammond with my dogs about 45 minutes after sunrise. It was another beautiful day.
I parked in the Fayette Street lot behind the Towle Theater and Paul Henry's Art Gallery.
This mural of Hammond's past is on the east end of the parking lot.
I love this art gallery. It is in an old hardware store and every Thursday for as long as I have been coming here it hosts an open mic night.
A reminder of its former life in one window.
The sign of its new life in another window.
The low sun makes for great colors and interesting shadows.
We walked west on Sibley Street toward Hohman Avenue.
Raymundo Garcia, who owns this building, is a big supporter of local artists.
I love street art, so I love this place too. Nola is also a big fan of street murals.
This is Eat. It is a performance space that Mr. Garcia opens for private and public events. I love the 'double exposure' look of this photo with several different reflections.
More interesting art at the entrance of Eat. The parking meter at the horse trough really modernizes this artwork.
We looped back on the Northside of Sibley so I could get this picture...
...and to stop at this building which was and may still be Felix "Flex" Maldonado's art studio.
This mural is on the east side of the building.
We walked east to Dan Rabin Plaza and this old train station.
This is a parking structure for the First Baptist Church which is located in this area.
We walked south on the Erie Lackawanna Trail.
The city of Hammond has a very impressive trail system with a lot of information signs.
Nola and Yeti looking for a drink as the morning heats up quickly.
So we stopped here for a few drinks.
Nola and I are old enough but Yeti got carded and couldn't get in.
Yeti couldn't get into the 18th Street Brewery either. So Nola & I went in after we tied him up to the bike rack.
This place has great beer and food.
The City of Hammond repaved Oakley Avenue and put in sidewalks and streetlights after 18th Street Brewery became very popular.
I believe 18th Street Brewery also owns Sour Note Brewing at Oakley and Fayette.
Nice beautification of their parking lot.
At both locations, the owners of 18th Street Brewery repurposed abandoned buildings with lots of character and history.
This area is mostly industrial and there are still plenty of abandoned buildings and closed businesses.
A faded mural at Substation No. 9.
Another building repurposed into an art gallery and exhibit space by South Shore Arts.
Another view of the Hammond history mural as we walk west on Fayette toward Hohman Avenue.
Sometimes looking down pays off...
...sometimes looking up pays off.
I saw these Hammond Downtown concrete markers in several places.
This little park at Rimbach & Hohman doesn't seem to have a name even though it's been here for years.
I can't find a name for this funky little fountain either.
We headed south on Hohman which is still the main street through downtown Hammond but is a far cry from it's glory days in the 1950s and 60s.
The city has cleaned it up some but it needs some residential buildings and more local businesses to kick start a real recovery.
Some businesses have tried and didn't make it.
While some have managed to stay open even with the coronavirus.
This transient hotel has been shuttered for years. The Jefferson Hotel a few blocks away was torn down a couple of years ago.
At one time this hotel was worthy of a plaque.
Saint Joseph Catholic Church at Russel & Hohman.
I walked north in the back alley of the buildings on Hohman.
This might be the only new building in this area. The City of Hammond has done a good job of building new schools with the casino money. This is the Hammond Acedemy of Science & Technology.
I love this old house still standing between the new school and the back of the old buildings on Hohman. It has the look of an old southern law office in downtown Hammond.
I believe this old bank building is now empty.
I know the Towle Theater has had to cancel their plays for this season and could definitely use some support in these Covid-19 times. You can make a tax deductible donation at https://www.towletheater.org/ I thank you and I'm sure Jeff & Kevin will also thank you.
This is the front of EAT.
We walked back down Hohman to get to the car.
Yeti is dancing in front of EAT.
My reflection seems appropriate next to the music painting.
The Towle Theater has it's history timeline in the front windows.
They were hoping but this play and the fall play have been cancelled.
I love this alley between the Towle Theater and the Paul Henry Art Gallery. If you want to take really cool night portraits, this alley would be great for that.
These were taken in the Fayette Street parking lot.
It's going to be another beautiful day.
Nola having a drink before we drive home.
The classic sign of a business that once provided good paying jobs but left this area. To paraphrase Pink Floyd..."all in all it's just another brick in a decaying wall."