Driving up Reading Road

Take a trip down memory lane, north, up Reading Road from Walnut Hills ... 
This will probably only be of interest to a limited number of readers.  It contains my recollections of businesses and landmarks along Reading Road dating back to the late 1950's.  Memories fade and sometimes play tricks, but perhaps other readers will offer additions and amendments.  Be warned, though, that what follows is quite a memory dump.
Heading north up Reading Road from Walnut Hills, with diversions up to a mile in either direction:
The journey begins below the picture.  Scroll down, roll down your window and enjoy the ride!!

Sites & memories ...
The Alms Hotel, near William Howard Taft, now gone.  The place aged gracefully, shutting down one building at a time.  Probably rivaled the old Vernon Manor in splendor, at one time.
The Cabana Club, on one of the cross-streets off of Reading, possibly William Howard Taft.  This was an outdoor swimming pool, completely shielded from the street and city noise by what seemed to have been some large wooden balconies and a storefront entrance.
The Mandarin, Chinese restaurant, between Dana and Paddock.  The food was Cantonese style.  Moved to Section Rd.  in the late 1970's.  Name later changed to Ahn's Mandarin Gardens.
Next door, to the north, was an auto repair business, possibly named Lennox Motors.
Across from the Mandarin was Loretta's restaurant.  Cannot recall what they served.  Probably closed in the mid-1960's.
Daisy Donuts, just north of Victory Pkwy.  The name was later changed to Daily Donuts, ca.  1962, although the Daisy trademark remained.  Branches appeared around town - no idea whether this was the original.  The chain disappeared around 1980, I think.
A tad south, on Victory Pkwy, a high-rise apartment building opened around 1970.  There was a restaurant on the first floor which closed several years later.
Just north of Daisy Donuts was Natorp Nursery.  Natorp's may have had several branches around town.
Sugar n' Spice, more or less across from the nursery.  Now a breakfast place but, as a child, I can recall having dinner there.  Parents of some friends claim - and I have no evidence to back this up - that Sugar n' Spice was also once a trendy after-hours meeting place, frequented by radio personalities from WLW's Crosley studios.
Howdy Car Wash, east side.  One family owned this business for many years.
Next door to the car wash was the Smorgasteria, billed as a cross between a smorgasbord and a cafeteria.  Basically a large salad bar, in business during the mid-1960's.
Capri Pizza, adjoining the fruit market at the southeast corner with Tennessee.  Capri moved to Norwood in the late 1970's, probably closed down a few years later.  The pizza was very much in the New York style; the sauce had a unique flavor I have yet to experience anywhere else.
Across from Capri to the west was a drycleaner.  To the north was a paint store with a large orange sign - very 1950's.
Just south of the Norwood Lateral exit, west side, was a Frisch's Big Boy.  This particular branch was known by employees as the "Mt.  Vernon" store - no idea why.
Across from the Frisch's was Richard's (?) electronic supply company.
The Norwood Lateral opened in 1960, and originally extended from Reading Road to the Mill Creek Expressway.  The overpass was completed in the early 1970's, when the road was extended to Norwood and Oakley.  Construction of the overpass necessitated a traffic revision in which the west end of Catalina Avenue was cut off from Reading.
The Twin Drive-In, just north of the Norwood Lateral.  Replaced by indoor theaters in the 1980's.  Residents of Lawn Avenue could see the two-sided screen from their backyards.
St. Aloysius orphanage, across from the Twin and north.  Held a carnival every summer.
White Castle hamburgers, northwest corner with California.
Just to the west of the White Castle was a small building with an old cannon in front.  Possibly a VFW hall.
West of the White Castle, along California, were several businesses and the Bond Hill Elementary School.  The Tom House offered Chinese carry- out, and may have had seating.  At the northeast corner with Paddock was a butcher shop and a stamp dealer.  Around the corner, on Paddock, was a Pure Oil filling station (slogan: "Fire up, with Firebird").  There may also have been a Bonded station on that block.
Across from the White Castle were a collection of businesses and a synagogue.  Lowenthal's pharmacy was there for many years.  Alber's supermarket also had a store there in the early 1960's.  Just south of the synagogue was the original Chili Time - late 1960's.
About a mile north of California was Swifton shopping center, already well described in a previous posting.
To the west of Swifton was Woodward High School.  Small prefab buildings were set up around 1970 to accommodate student overflow, during the peak of the Baby Boom high school years.
On the northwest corner with Seymour was the Red Barn, an early McDonald's-like fast-food place.  Probably in business for about ten years, beginning mid-1960's.  McDonald's really did not expand heavily into Cincinnati until around 1972 - before that, all I can recall were the Kenwood and Westwood stores.
To the west of the Red Barn was the Seymour Lanes, bowling alley.
Around 1970 Zayre's, a discount retailer, opened a store to the north of the bowling alley.
To the north of Swifton was the Crest Hills Country Club, which moved to Amberly in the 1970's.  The site was razed and replaced with a small shopping center and a middle school.
About one mile east, on Losantiville, there was a small plaza with a delicatessen, Stanley's.  The plaza also contained the Bucheim Bakery and the Plotnick pharmacy.  All are long gone, although I think that the family owning the bakery now owns Maya's restaurant in Blue Ash.
On the north side of Losantiville, west of the plaza, was the Vernor- Wagner bottling company.  They supplied several obscure soft drinks, including Luv Ya cherry cola and Kickapoo Joy Juice.  They may have also been the local supplier for Vernor's ginger ale - not sure.
At Section and Reading, on the southeast corner, was a shopping plaza with a large drugstore, possibly a Rexall.  The drugstore had a soda fountain and a newsstand.  Also in the plaza were a tailor, Garson's clothing store, Brenner's grocery and various offices and shops.  A Baskin-Robbins opened there around 1970.
On the northeast corner with Section was a gas station, probably Citgo.  Around 1970, the gas station was torn down and Chili Time opened its main store on the site.  This store survived until a few years ago.  Only the St.  Bernard branch remains.
Further north was an Empress Chili.  This branch opened in the late 1960's and did not survive long.  At one time, Empress was the premier brand of Cincinnati chili.
Adjoining or near to the site of the Empress was a furrier, Stanley Rich.
In the early 1960's, somewhere north of Section on the east side, was a business, probably a bar.  The business was advertised by an ornate display of some sort in front, possibly a large copper pot.  The place may have been called "The Gypsy".  I could use some help with this one.
The Valley Shopping Center, on the west side of the street, had about twenty businesses.  The big draw was the Valley Theater, one of the few theaters besides the RKO affiliates (Albee, Keith and Grand - all downtown) to show first-run movies.  There was a supermarket toward the western edge of the center, probably a Kroger's.
Just north of the Valley was the Fortune Cookie Chinese restaurant, also called Wing and Hing's.  They stayed in business from around 1970 to 1990.
On the east side of Reading, across from the Valley, was the Essex House apartments, built in the mid-1960's.  I cannot recall what preceded it.
Just south of the Essex house was the Blue Fox night club, circa 1970's.
To the north of the Essex House was a pair of grocery stores sharing a parking lot, Bilker's on the north and the A&P on the south.  The A&P is long gone and Bilker's has moved to Blue Ash.
North of Bilker's, somewhere, was a carryout seafood place.  I think the name was The Fish Fry.  They served deep-fried shrimp and smelt, among others.  No one I know can remember this store, but I can place it in the late 1950's to early 1960's.  I believe that it lay on or near the sites where Old Town ice cream and Squire Jack's fish-and-chips later appeared.
Across from Bilker's, on the west side of the street and somewhat to the north, was Sand's restaurant.  Sand's probably closed in the mid-1960's.  Decorative baskets hung from the ceiling.
Somewhere near the site of the old Sands, in the late 1960's, a jazz club opened.  It may have been part of a hotel.
On the southwest corner with Summit was a building with offices and Lenhardt's restaurant.  There were two Lenhardt brothers who opened Hungarian restaurants in Cincinnati.  One brother opened across from the U.C.  campus; his store is currently operated by a descendant.  The other brother, Kristof, owned this Roselawn store.  When Kristof Lenhardt sold the business in the mid-1970's, Len Berke, the new owner, kept the name.  The business closed in the late 1970's and was replaced by Cheng Du just as Sichuan food was becoming popular.
On the northwest corner was a Parkmoor drive-in.  Parkmoor, a St.  Louis chain, also had a store at Daly and Galbraith.  These drive-ins were popular in the early 1960's, but both folded.  Perhaps the fare was too similar to Frisch's.
The lot housing the Parkmoor eventually became a strip mall with a United Dairy Farmers store.
Across the street from this lot, on the east side, was a Denny's.  The Denny's probably came in during the mid-1970's.  It did not last that long: in the 1980's one of Cincinnati's first Thai restaurants took the building.
Near the Denny's was a Perkins Cake and Steak restaurant.  Perkins began as a pancake house in College Hill before becoming a large chain.  The Cake and Steak trademark came after the pancake houses were already well established.
This part of Roselawn was part residential, part light industry.  There was a Pepsi Cola bottling plant just off Summit, and plenty of small businesses nearby.  Somewhere in the mix was a Putt Putt miniature golf park.
Bounce Land – the trampoline place was also near Frisch’s, Putt Putt & the Pepsi Bottling plant. 
To the north of the Parkmoor was a motel, Schuler's.  It had a swimming pool in front, and may have had a small restaurant.
Across from Schuler's were the Summit Lanes, a large bowling alley.
To the north of the Lanes was a Howard Johnson's soda fountain.  It probably closed in the late 1960's.
Thriftway, a local supermarket chain, had a branch in this area, on the east side of Reading.  The only other Thriftway I can remember in town was in Norwood.
On the west side of Reading, close to Galbraith, was the Carousel motel.  It was actually a complex of buildings that grew around a much smaller motel.  At one time the complex included a restaurant, La Ronde, which may have featured fine dining.  Maybe there just isn't the demand any longer for accommodations in north-central Cincinnati, but the place has definitely seen better days.
Across the street from the Carousel was a professional building, a health club and a movie theater.  All opened in the late 1960's.
North of the professional tower was Stillpass Motors, a used car dealer.
North of Stillpass was the Upper Krust, a delicatessen.  The restaurant opened in the mid-1960's and probably was in business for ten years.  Took a major hit from the 1969 tornado but reopened.  They mainly served sandwiches, and were quite popular.  Al Morse's Ribs King later opened on the site.
At the southeast corner with Galbraith was the Wishing Well, an Italian restaurant and Cincinnati landmark.  Closed maybe in the late 1970's.
Across the street, to the north, was the Rocket drycleaners.  The store had a rocket-shaped entrance.  Their slogan was something like "Cleaning that's out of this world."
The corner of Galbraith and Reading also had a Sinclair station.  Their logo was a large green brontosaurus.  Rumor had it that the dino was once stolen and placed atop Woodward High School.  Closed in mid-1960's.  Nowadays, you only see Sinclair stations in the central and western U.S.
To the west, on Galbraith, was MacIntosh's, a family restaurant.  They featured a sort of sloppy-joe sandwich called the "Highland Dandy".  MacIntosh's opened a larger, more upscale, store across the street around 1970.  Cannot recall when they closed.
Just west of the original MacIntosh's was the Rob Paris photography studio.
Then, Reading, Ohio started ...
There was – and still is – a White Castle in Reading. 
The Glass Barn was located near Benson St.  on the east side of Reading.  They featured the odd china or porcelain close-out at popular prices.
On the west side, near Cooper, was Peewee Valley, an amusement park for smaller children.  The park featured rides and had a small pinball arcade and snack bar.  A popular birthday spot, probably closed in the mid-1960's.
Jo Jo's, an Italian restaurant, was located on the east side of the street beyond Cooper, not too far from Bypass 50.
Also near Bypass 50 was Rink's Bargain Barn, a discount retailer.  Rink's was like K-Mart, but preceded the latter by a few years.  There were other large discount stores in Cincinnati at the time, for example Arlen's and King Kong.  The memorable thing about Rink's, besides the devastating fire in the late 1960's, was their weekly advertising spot on the local Big Time Wrestling broadcast.  Impresario Willy Thal (one-time host of the old Midwestern Hayride) and another actor, dressed as a law man, would pick up sale products, call out their prices and then hurl them off the set.

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