To drive through the business district of Warren and see the number of empty buildings, it is hard to believe that it was once a thriving small town USA.
Back in the 40s just about all the buildings downtown had a business. Today there is no grocery store in Warren, but at one time there were three thriving grocery stores downtown: the Sanitary Market owned by Floyd Turner, Breedlove Grocery and Boughner Market. At one time there was a Kroger store also. Other stores included a Ben Franklin, and Myers Department Store, which had two rooms. On one side they had material, patterns, sewing supplies and ready made clothing. In the other room was a show department and floor covering. There was a mens clothing store and more than one restaurant.
At that time stores were open two nights a week, first Wednesday and Saturday and later Wednesday and Friday nights.
The main attraction on Wednesday evening was the town drawing. It was held at the corner of Wayne and Second Streets in front of the Town Clerk's office. It was held shortly before the stores were to close. The first number drawn would continue until someone got it. The last number drawn was labeled the bank prize. One name was called and if nobody claimed it money was added for the next week. It seemed the larger the bank prize, the larger the crowd. Each week some child was chosen to draw the names. They usually got a dollar. In the winter the drawing was held in the afternoon.
Before I-69 on Friday evenings there was a large amount of traffic going north to the lakes and on Sunday, the same traffic went south during the afternoon and evening.
On the northeast side of town there was a tomato factory. It was always a busy placed during the harvest season. During World War II it was converted into a potato dehydrating plant. The product was shipped to military bases.
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