OK, so I finally checked a couple of old Polk City Directories at the Beloit Public Library to confirm what other establishments were located around the Pop House. This is how it looked in 1960…
The Club Pop House was at 863 5th St. Further south on 5th St was Parker School. Fifth Street wasn’t much wider than an alley that ran next to the C&NW railroad tracks, so there were no other noteworthy business fronts along that stretch.
The closest major intersection to the Pop House was Portland Ave and 4th St. On the four corners were:
SW - Tompkins Ice Cream Shop (860 4th St) (Thanks to my dad, Nick, who remembered this too.)
SE - Endthoff’s Standard Gas Station (863 4th St)
NW - Smith Rexall Drugs (900 4th St)
NE - Nick’s Drive-In Cleaners (903 4th St)
(Beloit Telephone Book 1952 - Beloit Historical Society)
Other businesses on 4th Street at that time included Vic Hanson & Sons Auto Showroom which by 1968 had expanded into the property that was once Tompkins Ice Cream. My friend, Steve Kinzer, used to work part time at the Kroger Supermarket just south of Hanson’s. Across 4th street from Kroger was the Clark Gas Station and Helm’s Typewriter Company. The Rexall drug store had been replaced by George Webb Hamburger Parlor and Tilley’s Pizza by the late 1960’s.
The Directory listed 154 Portland Ave property owners as Vince Stankewitz (George’s father) in 1960 and George Stankewitz in 1967. This was the site of the original Stankewitz family corner grocery store. The old Pop House Sporting Goods store was located at 158 Portland. Addresses 159-161 were listed as vacant. A little further west, up the hill just across the tracks, was the Parker School kindergarten. Vince’s Sport Shop (George’s brother) moved around some… 158 Portland (1960), 415 E. Grand (1964), and 219 State St (1967).
There you have it. If you have any memories, photos, or ads of these or other surrounding businesses, please leave a comment. Thanks.
I heard from former WGEZ radio personality Bob Gregory last week. I had an autographed picture of Bob that he identified as his 1955 Beloit Catholic High School graduation photo. He was with WGEZ until 1961 when he got into television at WREX in Rockford. Most recently he anchored “Skytrack Weather” for WTHR in Indianapolis until he semi-retired in 2000. Bob did remember hosting a “Teen Dance Party” in Beloit, but he was unsure if it was at the Pop House. He’s looking around for possible supporting evidence.
(Photo courtesy of Stankewitz family)
Bob also passed along a comment from his sister Mary (BCHS 1964):
“Oh, of course I remember the Pop House! My friends and I hung out there a lot when we were in high school. They used to have music in the back patio, sometimes bands on the weekends. Great hamburgers, or at least we thought so. Every night we went out somewhere, I think we would at least stop by there to see who was there. Lots of kids would hang out in the parking lot. Many fond memories. I look back upon that as a positive place for young people to hang out.
I remember the owner, (George) Stankewitz. …big guy, dark hair, nice man, had rules, and stuck to them. He was respected by the kids. One of the worst things that could happen to you at that time, was to break the rules or get into trouble with him and get “kicked out of the Pop House.” And of course, everyone would know it. Horrors!!!! I don’t know if Buzz (Gunderson) worked there or not. Maybe. I could pass this along to the BCHS group if you like.”
Thanks, Bob and Mary. Hope to hear more from you.
By the way… for a list of all BCHS alumni, see: http://www.beloitcatholichigh.com/ and click on Alumni Directory. Don’t know if there’s an equivalent listing for BMHS — probably would be way too long. The official BMHS site is: http://www.sdb.k12.wi.us/ .