In an old town like Chesterton, Ind., the storefronts have changed hands frequently, as storefronts will. But the buildings persist, and if you know where to look, you’ll discover ghostly landmarks hiding in plain sight.
Take, for example, The Factory, 1050 Broadway, built in 1902 and home to a glass works, later a china works, then a long line of machine and tool shops.
It endures still as an eclectic mix of businesses: The Chesterton Brewery, offering its own craft beers and a fine pub menu; Gilbert’s Candy & Confections, a candy shop like the one you remember, with retro sweets and more; Duneland Deli Station, selling exceptional subs and soups; and South Shore Tattoo, whose artist-operator, Nic Bender, has established a regional reputation for his creations.
Then there’s the grand edifice at 101 Broadway, raised in 1898 by Smith & Son as a dry goods store. It survived the Great Fire of 1902 and for most of the 20th century kept the families of Chesterton stylishly clothed. 101 Broadway now boasts Running Vines Winery. Sample one of its exceptional vintages and enjoy an Italian bite.
The Aron Theatre, 219 Broadway, Chesterton’s picture palace from 1942 to 1961. Later it became a Ben Franklin, then a framing gallery, and in its current— magnificent—incarnation, ISO Unique, an outstanding curation of antiques.
The Atlas Roller Rink, 109 S. Third St., built in 1943. Today you’ll find inside it the cozy digs of (219) Taproom and something eminently sippable plus gastro delicacies.
Finally, the New York Central freight depot, 123 N. Fourth St., for much of the 20th century the hub of the Downtown, lovingly restored by Rich Riley in his Railhouse, a bed-and-breakfast for train buffs with accommodations in vintage cars.
Visit Chesterton, Ind., worn smooth and comfortable by the past.