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OFFBEAT: Readers share their own memories of famed former NWI landmarks
BREAKFAST IS SERVED - - Tasty candy canes frame the entrance to Sauzer's Waffle House at the corner of U.S. 30 and U.S. 41 in Schererville, Ind. in this 1959 postcard. The famed eatery closed in 1990 and the Sauzer's Kiddieland amusement park, which was also part of the familiar landscape closed a few years later in 1994. (Times Archive Image)

Thank you to the many readers who wrote to me Wednesday after my front page nostalgic news feature story "Erased & Replaced: Northwest Indiana Landmarks."

Thank you to the many readers who wrote to me Wednesday after my front page nostalgic news feature story "Erased & Replaced: Northwest Indiana Landmarks."

I received e-mails from as far as South Carolina from people sharing memories and personal stories about the favorite places for eating and entertainment in Northwest Indiana.

At the top of the list for most, was Sauzer's Kiddieland in Schererville, Ind.

Even though I didn't "technically" grow up here in the region, since our family farm is about 35 minutes south of Valparaiso, I did grow up going to Kiddieland with my family. In addition to his farming, my dad Chester worked for Jack Gray at Jack Gray Transport for 38 years, and each year, the annual company picnic was always at Sauzer's Kiddieland, where we enjoyed many long rolls of provided tickets for the rides and attractions.

Here are some of the other reader comments I thought I'd share:

Quite a few readers remarked about the "current" photo published of the corner of U.S. 30 and 41, mentioning that we should have ran a shot of the spot a bit farther down to be exact as to where the amusement park once stood. Because of space, I fear the photo published was cropped quite a bit and not the original expansive overview landscape perspective, so I apologize.

Philip,

What a nice blast from the past! But the picture accompanying your story about once-popular attractions on the front page Wednesday is incorrect. The strip mall pictured was already there WITH Kiddieland and housed Big Top Grocery Store and May's Department Store. You should have taken a picture of Culver's restaurant and the Holiday Inn Express located just west of this center which was the location of the Kiddieland entrance area.

Thanks,

Bob Volkmann

Good Morning Phil!

What a magnificent piece in today's newspaper. Your column conjured memories of other restaurants like "The Red Lantern," "The Spa," and "Stan's Steak House," "San Remo's" and "Louis Bon Appetit" (which I reviewed on WTTW's "Check Please!" as the first NWI restaurant featured on the show).

My dad and mom used to pilgrimage their 10 children to "Kiddieland" on an annual basis. We did not have much money so our visit was considered a "vacation."

Curiously, the oldest restaurant on "The Lincoln Highway" is not Strongbow Inn, but rather Semento's (two years older) which remains a family enterprise now run by Americo "Joe" Semento. I am blessed to be close friends with both Russ Adams who owns Strongbow's and Joe Semento. Hannon's Drive Inn was also a staple on The Lincoln Highway (curiously, it's a Walgreens now. I wonder how many cherished landmarks are now Walgreens drug stores? Even Tiebel's has one on their property!)

Keep up the great work! I enjoy your work, but my mother-in-law is a really huge fan of yours.

Gratefully, Bob Wichlinski

Hi Philip,

Loved your article this morning! A nostalgic step back in time. I first came to this region in 1951, and my boyfriend...now husband.......used to pick me up and take me to Sauzer's Waffle House for breakfast with Pecan Waffles! Early this morning I had an e-mail from my son, Peter, in Indy, who reads The Times online. He asked me why no mention was made about The Merrillville Kiddieland in Merrillville at 61st & Broadway. It was a really big deal to all the parents and children who settled in Merrillville back in the 1950s. Our hearts were broken when this great family area was dismantled for a strip mall. My best to you, your sweet Mom and great Dad! - - Maryanne Battistini

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.

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