Sunday, March 29, 2015

Busy Irvington Intersection in 1962 and Today

Journalist and photographer, Frank Widner, photographed McShane's Parkway Tavern at 501-03 North Emerson Avenue sometime in 1962.  The popular lounge, run by Thomas and Roseline McShane, was frequented over the years by many east side residents.  Although Irvington proper remained dry until 2000, nearby bars like McShane's served as a spot where folks who did not subscribe to the temperance philosophy, could go for a drink after a long day at work.  Sadly, the historic building was torn down about five years ago.  In the older photo, you can also see the properly maintained houses in the 500 block of North Emerson Avenue.  Residents kept their yards and shrubs trimmed and the houses appeared to be in good order.  505 and the double at 509-11 North Emerson Avenue can not be seen in the historic image as they were behind the building and the tavern sign.  The first home visible in the 1962 photograph at 515 North Emerson Avenue belonged to Mrs. Nola B. Coe, the widow to Ralph. Next to her, in the bungalow at 517 North Emerson Avenue dwelled Merrice and Mary Horton.  The Snell family dwelled at 521 North Emerson Avenue and Mrs. Lola Christman lived in the two-story home at 521 North Emerson Avenue.  A contemporary photo reveals the two homes not seen in the 1962 image and the homes listed above.

Intersection of North Emerson Avenue and East Michigan Street in 1962  (Photograph by Frank Widner)

Intersection of North Emerson Avenue and East Michigan Street in 2015

The historic photograph is courtesy of the Widner family via Tumbler.  


  1. Tom McShane and my dad were good friends. Mom & dad used to stop in there a couple of time a week for a drink after work. For a time he also owned or rented space in the building on the east side of Emerson, which was a family restaurant (this would be the early-to-mid '60s); I don't remember whether alcohol was served there, but I think it was.

    I do remember Mr. McShane telling dad that the drawback to running a largely cash business was that, if he took time off, the cash flow tended to dry up; bartenders would take the cash but not ring up the drink. (He apparently discovered this by actually taking time off and discovering the cash flow issue.) On St. Patrick's Day, he had a tent on what was usually a parking lot. In the early '60s, his St. Pat's Day bash was widely recognized as the biggest and best in town.

  2. Don, thanks so much for sharing these interesting memories. The St. Patrick's Day celebration sounds fun!!