Riding to Emerson Jr. High In The 1940's

Dear Editor.

I am writing regarding the article, "Can the Worst Be Avoided," published in the July 12, 2011 Lakewood Observer.

I attended Emerson Junior High School 1942- 1944 and rode my bike there every day, including on winter snow days. No problem. My route originated at 1494 Cohassett Avenue, (where my sister still resides- she mailed me the article), then north on Cohassett to Detroit, west on Detroit to the crossing in front of Garfield School, crossed Detroit with crossing guard (a regular cop at times), west on the north side of Detroit to Clarence Place, north to Hazelwood, west on Hazelwood to Nicholson, north on Nicholson to Emerson, crossing Nickel Plate Road Tracks where there was a crossing watchman weekdays and finally, west on Emerson to Emerson Junior High School. My neighbor, Jim Greene, 1486 Cohassett, often rode with me. He was one semester behind me.

At that time there ware about 20 to 26 trains a day on the NKP. Of these, three each way were passenger trains, two of them to/from Chicago (one daytime, one nighttime) and one to/from St. Louis (going in the evening, arriving in the morning). All were steam powered at the time. The line was double tracked through Lakewood. To the best of my memory, all crossings had flashers, none had gates. I do not recall any difficulties. Most of my classmates lived south of the NKP, so most of us crossed the tracks someplace. 

We had to be careful that when a train passed in one direction that one was not approaching from the other direction. We knew enough to, "Stop, look and listen," like the crossing sign said.

I am pleased that consideration is being given to students' safety in going to and from Emerson, but the amount of fear reflected in the article was, and still is, of concern. It was no big deal to walk or ride our bikes to and from Emerson. Today's students ought to do so as well.

Yours truly,

Bill Vigrass

J. William Vigrass

LHS January '48

Bill Vigrass

Bill Vigrass, grew up at 1494 Cohassett Ave Lakewood, Oh 44107, attended Garfield, Emerson grades 7 8 9 and Lkwd High School 10 11 12. Walked or rode bike to school. No problem! Moved to NJ in 1968, worked for transit agency. I'd like to submit comment on student access to Emerson Middle School (6-7-8). How do I do that?  (I did it.)

Bill Vigrass, native Lakewoodite.

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Volume 7, Issue 17, Posted 8:32 AM, 08.24.2011