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Letter: A Trip Down Memory Lane

What do you remember about the Solano Avenue of yesteryear? Share your thoughts below. Have an idea for a letter to the editor? Email albany@patch.com.

[Editor's Note: Albany Patch would love your 300-word letters to the editor. Learn more here. Do you have historic photographs of Solano Avenue? Please share them with this post.]

Wondering how many locals remember some of the old Solano Avenue landmarks? 

Dinner with the grandparents at The Red Barn Restaurant on today’s Pharamaca site. 

Get a hammer and nails and great toys for friends’ birthday parties at Thousand Oaks Hardware and Variety near the Upper Solano Post Office.

Thousand Oaks Pharmacy just across the street from the Oaks Theatre.  

Stamps School of Dance just next door to Gordo’s and the five and dime store a block below (was it McClarty’s or was that at Shattuck and Vine?). 

The original location of Poppy Fabric where Greetings is today. 

A visit to Discounts Unlimited at San Pablo and Solano was a must for outfitting one’s first apartment. 

Cherry phosphates or an ice cream cone at Ortman’s on the first and last days of school (today’s Starbuck’s site) and the best malts and butter pecan ice cream at McCallum’s (Peet’s), not to mention their Blue Moon ice cream and monstrous concoction called The Sink, big enough for a family of ten! 

The old Foster’s Freeze at Solano and Pomona. 

Riding your bike all the way down Monterey from Colusa to Hopkins before there were stop signs to break up the run. 

Seeing the big, bright McCallum’s sign beckoning all the way from the top of Colusa and Monterey and hoping Dad would take us there before we screamed all the way through the tunnel and a had a thrilling ride up the big Marin hill in the back of the pickup after dinner. 

We certainly were lucky to grow up here!
Jeanne Gray Loughman, Albany

Marcia P June 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Didn't there used to be a gas station on the corner of Solano and Colusa where Mechanic's Bank is now?
Peggy McQuaid June 05, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Yes, there were 3 gas stations at that intersection - a Chevron, the 76 and the one where Mechanics Bank is now. I can't remember what it was, but want to say Flying A
Winifred Owen June 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
The antiques store (circa '70s) was called The Salvation Navy (I think, not 100% sure), and had a variety of dealers inside the large space. I still have the antique oak sewing machine I bought there as a decorative table, and probably a couple other things.
Denise Valdivia December 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I also remember riding in the cart at Dagna's, clutching a cold hot dog from the butcher!
David Wills December 24, 2012 at 08:00 AM
I recall in the early sixties,there was a Shell gas station on the northwest corner of Solano Avenue and The Alameda, and the Park & Shop (Andronico's) supermarket on the south side of Solano. Now, what was the name of the supermarket on the north side of Solano Avenue? I think it was Sid's. I think that store got their deliveries from behind on Station Place. I also recall walking with my mother from my childhood home (two doors north of the Northbrae Community Church) on The Alameda to a fish market underneath the hotel at Solano and The Alameda. Does anyone remember that market? The name "Fish Heads" comes to mind. Or maybe I'm wrong! My parents even tried to get me to ride on the Key System "F" train, but I was afraid of it. Of course Larsen's Bakery, Gersh photo, Ortman's, Thousand Oaks School, The Oaks Theater, and others are all part of my memory of this wonderful part of the Bay Area. My favorite thing to do after school was to get a triple scoop marble fudge ice cream cone at McCallum's and head up to Contra Costa Rock and watch the fog roll across the bay and over Albany Hill.

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