Early resident's fond memories

by LindaK,

Fran Stanley Schroder has fond memories of growing up in Lafayette in the late 1930s when it was a “country town” and a great place for kids to roam and play.

“We were lucky because Lafayette was a secret for a long time. We lived in the country, yet we had all the good things of the city nearby. We had fruit trees, pears, and apricots. There was lots of land around us. There was a creek behind where the Park Theater is now that used to be a swimming hole for all of us kids. We had a big rope we’d swing on and jump into the water. We collected pollywogs and snakes. There was a path all around down by the creek, and we strung tuna fish cans with wires and tried to talk to one another.”

“My father loved lumber,” Fran remembers. “He knew all the trees. He went back to school and got his contractor’s license. He was always building,” Fran says. “We’d move to one house and he’d get the urge, then all of a sudden, overnight we moved. We lived in three different houses.”

Fran’s parents owned the Stanley Building, original site of the Lafayette Drug Store. “It was two doors down from the Roundup, near the Garrett Building (now Postino),” Fran explains. “We could always just run downtown and get whatever we wanted. The Plaza was where the grocery store was. There was a hardware store up the street, too. My parents never worried about us. I think of myself going hiking alone on the hills, and my parents just said, ‘Be careful of the cows.’”

“My father was really concerned in the earlier years when they put in what they called ‘the freeway,’ which was the main road through town and developed all the businesses along the strip,” Fran remembers. “He felt that was bad. On one side there was nothing, but when they started building on the south side, he thought they should have made the businesses more centered instead of spreading it out on the long street.”

Lafayette did a good job of holding onto the small-town feeling,” Fran says [in the 2004 interview]. “I have a lot of friends in Lafayette. That’s what’s nice about being around for a long time.”

Excerpted from Voices of Lafayette by Julie Sullivan, available for purchase in the History Room.

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