“Kitterman International,” the Dairy Queen and the Old Laundromat

We haven’t had a reader column for a while. It’s time to correct that!

Going way back to November, my Anonymous Friend commented that the column on Sheridan’s Blackhawk Airport stirred up memories of his four years studying aviation at Noblesville High School with Don Roberts.

He recalled that Don used to take his aviation classes out to the Kitterman family’s grass airstrip east of State Road 37 (in the general area of today’s Meijer) for their first airplane rides.

My AF said Don jokingly referred to that airstrip as “Kitterman International” because — in Don’s words — “We’ll let anyone from anywhere fly in here.”

That sure sounds like the Don I knew — the man whose truck sported a “I’d rather be flying” bumper sticker (or front license plate. I can’t remember which.)

Pam Davidson wrote that she had some wonderful memories of Noblesville’s original Dairy Queen. Her grandparents lived just two doors down from the store and she said she would walk to the DQ for an ice cream cone when she visited them.

Pam ended by saying, “Those were the good old days!” (I agree!)

Pam Ferber, who gave me the “Remember When?” clippings that inspired that column, was curious about the old laundromat that used to sit on the east side of 10th Street, immediately north of the newer Dairy Queen.

I’m glad she asked because I’d been thinking the column on 10th and Pleasant was incomplete without a mention of the laundromat building, the OTHER commercial property at that intersection that was razed for the Pleasant Street project.

I enlisted Nancy Massey’s help to try to trace the history of the building, but we were only partially successful. (I guess laundromats don’t make very exciting newspaper copy.)

The first mention I found of a commercial venture at that address was in 1954 when the Weaver Upholstering Co. opened there. They stayed about a year and half, then in December of 1956, Quality Cleaners, a drive-in cleaners and laundry, moved in. Quality Cleaners operated there until the fall of 1961.

In December of 1961, James Deering opened a coin-operated dry cleaning business in the building. (An 8 pound load cost $1.50 — AND they gave out S & H Green Stamps!)

I’m not sure when Deering left, but in 1965, the business was advertised as “Harry Wiggins Coin-Op Dry Cleaners.”

After that, it really got difficult to trace the building’s history.

Nancy Massey found evidence the Sunshine Center laundromat was there from 1983 to 2006, but we have no exact dates for that business, so it’s unclear if that was the only laundromat at that location, or if there were others.

One thing is certain — the building sat empty for many years before being torn down.

Now a little housekeeping . . .

Does anyone know anything about our Sensational Centenarian, Melford Pearson?

Joel Fowler wanted to know if Mr. Pearson is still with us and I’m not sure. Joel pointed out that, if Mr. Pearson is still alive, he’d be 106. I was fairly certain he had to be over 100, but until Joel contacted me, I’d had no confirmation of that, so I didn’t feel comfortable noting it on the Notable Nineties list.

Joel said he was curious because Mr. Pearson had been married in Joel’s Vermont church in 1943.  (The marriage was to Adelaide Pelley, the daughter of controversial journalist, author and political activist William Dudley Pelley.)

Neither Nancy Massey, nor I have been able to find an obituary for Mr. Pearson, so at this point I’m assuming he’s still living. I’d like to know for sure, though, because I try to keep the Notable Nineties list current.

Thanks to Nancy Massey for her help with this column!

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at [email protected]