Summertime in Belmont

Summer in The Olden Days

As I was driving down the streets of Belmont today I noticed one thing missing: Kids! Where are they? In day camps, sports camps, nature camps, computer camps, math clubs, etc?  Good or bad, times have changed. I remember back in the old days the streets would be full of kids playing Whiffle Ball, Hide-and-Seek, One Foot Off the Gutter, Football, and Red Rover. In backyards we were building forts and trying to dig holes to China. We left the house in the morning, sometimes came home from lunch, and were always home for dinner.  After dinner, we'd go out and play until the streetlights came on. Everyone knew each other, and my friends' moms were like my moms. We had sleepovers, during which we would sneak out and try to scare the girls at their sleepovers.  The ice cream man came around every day-and although we couldn't hear our mom when she was right next to us-we could hear that ice cream truck coming three blocks away! If we wanted to see a movie, we could go to The Belmont Theater or The Starlite Drive-In.  Yes, we had a drive-in in Belmont. The Starlite was located on the east part of Harbor, on the block between Harbor and O'Neill.  It was built in the late 50's and operated until about 1971. It held 550 cars. It was the place to go, either as a kid wearing your pajamas or when you were a teen--especially if you had a trunk that could hold several people. If you lived at the O'Neill end of one of the E,F,G,H,I,J,K streets (Elmer, Furlong, Granada, Hiller, Irwin, Judson, and Kedith) you could watch the movies free from your bedroom or front yard. The theater closed and was demolished in 1973, but that's not the end of the story. How many of you remember what was built next on that property?  It was huge, but only there for a couple years.  Please comment with your answer and any other memories of The Starlite.

Next Time:  Mayfair Market, Summer Rec, The Belmont/Bel Art Theater, and Jorgensen's Dairy.

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Kathie McNulty July 20, 2011 at 02:29 AM
I remember the Starlite! Our dad used to take us there all the time because he was a deputy sheriff and we got in for free. Many of our summer days were spent at Belameda Pool (library site) where you could swim all day for 25 cents and on the walk home spend an extra 5 or 10 cents on penny candy at Dean's Variety. Evenings were for playing neighborhood games of "kick the can" until it got dark. Not sure whether I'm feeling nostalgic or old!
Jodi July 21, 2011 at 01:03 AM
I may not have been a resident of Belmont during those days but I can remember growing up in a neighborhood just like that. We ran the streets until mom called us in for dinner. Do you think days like that will ever return?
Sherri Garoutte July 22, 2011 at 12:49 AM
We moved to Belmont in 1974 so we just missed those things! But we grew up doing all the same things :-) But Terri, I thought we are "Belmonsters!"
Senta July 29, 2011 at 09:53 PM
i grew up here since 1971 and didn't know there was a drive-in! i do remember the coke bottling plant tho. i recognize a lot of you who responded, all from different places!! this local belmont patch thing is pretty awesome.
Steve Leyden October 18, 2012 at 01:05 PM
A cool thing about the Starlite Drive in was that it had "Dusk to Dawn" shows. You could watch movies from sundown until sunrise. Does anyone remember the 49-star flag raising ceremony at Nesbit School in 1959 when Alaska became a state? This ceremony was repeated in 1960 with a 50-star flag when Hawaii became a state. We were told at the time that Puerto Rico would soon become a state and we'd have a 51-star flag. It never happened. In the summer we played baseball all day long at the school, in parks, and in the street because Belmont didn't get Little League Baseball until around 1963. Kathie didn't mention above how humid it was inside Belameda pool on hot summer days. That place was like a steam room! You'd pay your quarter to get in and then store your towel and shoes in a locker. Each locker had a large stainless-steel clip (almost like an oversized saftey pin) which you'd clip to your swimming trunks so you'd remember the locker number where your stuff was stored.


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