Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Best Place in Town - J. J. Newberry's

On the corner of Third Street and Dakota Avenue, the busiest intersection in town, sat J. J. Newberry's Department Store.  In many ways, it was the hub of downtown - it offered a little something for everyone.  Below is the only picture I have of the store, sitting prominently on it's corner perch, probably sometime in the 1940s.

I'm not sure when Newberry's came to Huron, South Dakota, but it was before my time.  I would love to have such a store available now - where you could purchase a variety of things without breaking the bank, have some lunch, socialize over a cold coke, or just browse in a comfortable environment.

I can still see the wide staircase leading to the basement, where the toy department was, and still feel the thrill.  We didn't go there often, but it always paid off when we did.  There was a lunch counter where my little brother learned to drink out of a straw - but not before he blew through that straw as hard as he could and soaked the waiter and everyone around with splattered Coke.  And the cafeteria!  Where you could just walk the line and pick what you wanted, and there it was, immediately!  Later, when I was in Junior High, we would frequently walk there and sit in the cafeteria, boldly smoking cigarettes and drinking Coke, watching people go by through the huge glass windows in the front and side of the store.  I remember nearly spitting Coke myself when one of my cohorts exclaimed, "Look at the boobs on that old lady!" and looked up to see it was a relative of mine walking across the street.  I never did say anything...

I don't remember exactly when Newberry's closed, but I believe the building is still there, and the space has been converted to some other use.  It will always be Newberry's to me, and hold some of the best memories.