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11 Things Only People Who Grew Up In Chemung County Remember

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CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – People who have grown up in Chemung County have seen change. 

From the bustling department stores of the 1950s and 60s to the addition of the Arnot Mall; from the devastation of the Flood of 1972 to the revitalization efforts underway today, the county has said goodbye to some things that are now only a memory.

We asked our readers what things only people who grew up here would remember. Many of the items on this list are retail and department stores that used to thrive in the Southern Tier. However, this list is not exclusive, and readers provided dozens of other memories.

Here are 11 of the most common responses:

1. Sears Roebuck in downtown Elmira

One of many retail stores that used to populate Elmira, Sears opened a downtown location on North Main Street in the mid-1950s. It closed nearly 30 years later in the early 80s as it moved into the Arnot Mall. The former retail giant then closed its doors in the mall in early 2020.

8. Hills Department Store

One of the most popular memories outside of the City of Elmira, Hills Department Store was open for almost 30 years in Horseheads. The store on Lake Road closed in the late 1990s when the company was bought out by…

 

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What's something different you remember, or, what do you remember about the places on their list?

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I never heard of the Planters store at all.

I remember Granny's restaurant and when Ames was in the old Artistic plaza. 

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I was just telling Andy about that the other day, and I was trying to remember all the stores: Ames, Great American, Rite Aid, OTB, the pet store ( Animal Kingdom? ), Rent A Flick and I think a recruiting station.

I miss Hills though. Man if they didn’t have it you didn’t need it.

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Acme, Harold's Army Navy, Pete's HotDogs when it was downtown and still tested good.  I think we had a Grand Union grocery store also 

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Harold’s was a great place for mens clothes.

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On 8/26/2022 at 12:44 PM, TwinTiersLiving said:

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What's something different you remember, or, what do you remember about the places on their list?

I remember going to Sears in downtown Elmira in the late 50s and early 60s with my folks (I was a teenager) and riding the escalators up and down while they were shopping. We were simply amazed by those moving stairs.

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I vaguely remember Sears when it was downtown where Weis is now. 

And Ames was never as good as Hills. 

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On 8/28/2022 at 9:20 AM, banjoman said:

remember going to Sears in downtown Elmira in the late 50s and early 60s with my folks (I was a teenager) and riding the escalators up and down while they were shopping. We were simply amazed by those moving stairs.

Same here , my mother worked there so it was a country boys day at the amusement park ,  like “ moving Stairs “ who’d u thunk it ! And they had a small cafeteria for employees upstairs that made great milkshakes . 

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How did Nichols Discount and Dog-n-Burger not make the list? Five burgers for a buck!!! Can you believe it? We've come a long ways baby. (:(

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Good Lord , if I sit here and think enough I bet myself and others in my … ahem , age group , could recall close to a hundred anchor stores that turned into other short term stores then finally just went away IE Nichols discount became Pharmhouse  the poof … gone ! 

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4 hours ago, banjoman said:

How did Nichols Discount and Dog-n-Burger not make the list? Five burgers for a buck!!! Can you believe it? We've come a long ways baby. (:(

When i started at the Old EFA there was a burger place on the point by school was that a Dog and Burger and turned into a Carrols ? Burgers 15 cents and the place was always full of kids , kinda like Als on the TV show “ Happy Days “ good times for sure !  

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17 minutes ago, Hal said:

When i started at the Old EFA there was a burger place on the point by school was that a Dog and Burger and turned into a Carrols ? Burgers 15 cents and the place was always full of kids , kinda like Als on the TV show “ Happy Days “ good times for sure !  

I don't remember a Dog-n-Burger by the EFA - there was one on south side at Bulkhead and another one over by Ernie Davis school. We used to leave the dance at the Hayloft and race right over to bulkhead to catch Dog-n-burger before they closed for the night. yum yum

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4 hours ago, Hal said:

Nichols discount became Pharmhouse…

Pharmhouse was no Nichols, but it wasn’t bad either. I remember working at The Feed Store and on Fridays going over there to rent some movies. The lady there had the same name as Mom, which always cracked me up. I may have called her “mom” as a joke now and then.

 

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4 hours ago, banjoman said:

I don't remember a Dog-n-Burger by the EFA - there was one on south side at Bulkhead and another one over by Ernie Davis school. We used to leave the dance at the Hayloft and race right over to bulkhead to catch Dog-n-burger before they closed for the night. yum yum

Yessir you are correct ! It was in transition from EFA to Ernie Davis and i had just started there for 7th grade . It was on the point … then it wasn’t , memory being fuzzy but I believe during the transition the School Board bought the property. I do remember that we had closed lunch periods just before it disappeared. Shame though as it was a fun little place . 

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I remember going to the Sears a few times, but mainly I remember sitting in the parking lot for the parade that American LaFrance put on for their 100th anniversary and then a huge even in the field just south of the building. I remember my mom entering a raffle to win a fire truck.

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While a walk down Memory Lane is always cool, I feel like they overstated the "only people who grew up in Chemung County" theme when half of the list are national or regional chains that people all over the country remember. They could have carried off the "Chemung County" storyline better if they'd skipped those and stuck to the local stuff.  LOL

But then, I suppose a lot of the local journalists from outside the area don't know the difference.....since they didn't even acknowledge that Tommy Hilfiger's People's Place and Iszard's actually were businesses that only local folks would remember. 

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The Southport Carnival was always a good time. I'd say it rivaled or was better than the county fair, even back then. 

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