Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ainsworth Then and Now:
The Pantry/Sharp School Services

A descendant of Cecil and Ruby Tonagel has generously shared a collection of photos with the Hobart Historical Society and the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society. So at last I have seen more than a corner of the Tonagels' store!

Here's a then-and-now:

1935 and 2015

Tonagels' store

2016-1-6. Sharp 2015-11
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

That is among the earliest photos we have of The Pantry, as the Tonagels named their new business.

The Pantry

And I'm pretty confident that 1935 marked the beginning of this business run by the Tonagel family, since the on-line research for my first post about the Tonagels turned up a Mobilgas ad suggesting that as late as July 1935 Cecil was still occupied as the manager of the Walnut Gardens, well east of Ainsworth on the Lincoln Highway … although I suppose he could have run two businesses at once.

In its early days, The Pantry was not so much a grocery store as a lunch counter and tourist stop, taking advantage of the traffic on the Lincoln Highway, which then passed right in front of it. Out back of the main building stood cabins that tourists would rent (and we shall see photos of those, too).

After the new Route 30 was put through, diverting the tourist traffic south, the Tonagels gradually changed the focus of their business to serving the locals.

1 comment:

Debbie M. said...

WOW!!! Thank you for that! Can't wait to see the pics of the tourist houses.