A friend of mine showed me an old photo the other day. It was a picture of the Tip-Top Potato Chip Co. headquarters, complete with trucks parked out front. For those of you who can’t remember back that far, the Tip-Top Co. was located on Garfield Street in Troy. It went out of business a long, long time ago.
This is the kind of thing you do when you get older — when you’re not talking about your latest ailment, you talk about all the great things you remember in your hometown and how you wished they were still there.
It’s an odd thing that when you’re a teenager, your hometown is boring and there’s nothing to do. Then when you get older, you have all these fond memories of all the great times you had when you were younger.
I usually think of Troy as being the kind of place where not much changes but when I stop to think about it that’s really not true. Consider the town square: the city has changed the traffic pattern around it about a half dozen times since I first attempted to drive my Volkswagen bug around it.
The stores that surround the square have changed, too. When I think of the businesses I went to when I was young, well, — K’s is still there, of course, and the Troy Sports Center still exists, although in a different location. Brower’s is another holdover, although it, too, is in a different place. That’s about it. I have to tell you I miss Kerg’s Bakery and Jay’s.
I guess most of the old banks are still banks, but they’ve all changed their names multiple times so that doesn’t really count.
A lot of places have morphed into new uses. The bowling alley is a church. The Empire Restaurant is a church. The Lutheran Church is being turned into a brewery. You could get confused and get converted when all you wanted to do was go bowling, or have too much to drink when you were looking for a place to pray.
The past few years have been particularly eventful. I will have a number of friends returning to Troy for a reunion next year and they’re going to be surprised about what has happened in the past five years.
The old Hobart Brothers factory is now a hospital. At the location of the old Dog House, where you could go almost any time of day for something to eat (or drink), there is now a new mixed-use building. There are townhouses going up on Water Street. The lot at the corner of Race and Walnut, which has been empty since about the beginning of time, is the new home of Partners in Hope. The old boathouse at Treasure Island has been restored to its former glory and now houses a restaurant. Hobart Arena has been revitalized and expanded.
Then again, my friends will be able to recognize all their old schools. They’re all still in the same places they were 57 years ago when we all went to kindergarten.
We old timers like to talk about how everything used to be better, but I have to tell you Troy’s downtown is much more attractive than it was 50 years ago. I’m not sure I get the blue and orange color scheme — I feel like I fell asleep and woke up in the middle of a New York Knicks game or something — but the properties downtown are in way better shape than they used to be. Yes, there are some spots that could use redevelopment (or just downright destruction), but on the whole we’ve done all right for ourselves.
Just keeping up with changes can be a little tough for someone who is so used to the way things used to be. In fact, sometimes it’s enough to make my head spin and my back hurt. But that’s an old guy’s topic for a different day.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.