Opinion

Jourgensen: Don’t ask, but please tell

I always love hearing people talk about Lynn’s old theaters. Every name of a bygone moviehouse conjures up mental pictures of grand places blazing with lights and smelling of popcorn and candy.

Whether it was the Uptown, the Warner or any number of theaters across the city, any mention of movies in Lynn triggers stories about 75-cent ticket prices and pre-movie trips to FW Woolworth.

How many theaters operated throughout the decades in Lynn before the last one closed? Don’t ask me, but I’m told the number well exceeded a dozen.

A resident expert says the gravestones in the Eastern Burial Ground on Union Street are near-perfectly aligned in rows — except one. John Hutchinson of High Rock Tower fame and the singing Hutchinsons lies beneath a gravestone aligned off kilter to the other graves so that it faces the tower.

Thanks to Drew Russo for setting me straight on the giant piece of machinery in the little park next to the Lynn Museum. The flywheel belonged to a company called J.S. Pennell & Company, also known as Pennell, Dearborn and Hovey.

The coal-powered machine supplied power, heat and light, according to the plaque next to the flywheel, to shoe factories on Washington and Broad streets.

Also thanks to Dick Coppinger for his recollections about bygone Lynn fire stations, including the old Engine 12 firehouse at 21 Lewis St. and the station once located at Commercial and Bennett streets. The Commercial Street station housed Engine 1 and the Highlands station was Engine 13 but became Engine 1 after Commercial Street was closed.

The Hook and Ladder bar, appropriately enough, opened on the site of the Commercial Street station. You can still drive by the former Eastern Avenue station — I think it was Engine 8 — and the former Franklin Street firehouse has been condominiums for years. Is it true bits of straw from the horse-drawn pumper days still turn up in corners of the Tower Hill firehouse? Don’t ask me.

Ralph Tyler’s reputation working on behalf of the Community Minority Cultural Center precedes him. He generously answered my question, posed last week, about Lynn’s status as an off-limits city for military personnel. “I left Lynn the day after Christmas 1966 for basic training at Fort Dix. At some point in time, I was reading the company ‘Q’ bulletin board and noticed a list of off-limit places to military personnel. It included the Lighthouse in Lynn. I don’t remember if it said ‘bar’ or ‘cafe’ but it definitely said the Lighthouse in Lynn, Massachusetts.”

Anyone remember this alleged den of iniquity? Don’t ask …

Union Hospital is sadly entering its final chapter as a local institution. Now seems a fitting time to salute the nurses and other workers who labored and gave their all on Lynnfield Street. Anyone who wants to nominate a Union Hospital employee or former employee for a quick salute in the column, please don’t hesitate to do so.

Everything old is new again, says my wife and to prove her point, she observed how Sandy’s Market, to name just one former business, delivered groceries well before the advent of Peapod and other delivery services.

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