A little 'liquid gold' from Sherwood's wild past
I can't help but wonder if the building at Railroad and Main will ever be finished and fully occupied.
The street floor is still under construction and some of the units above are still vacant. Some have sold, but there is already a "for sale by owner" sign hanging on one of the balconies. This could have been designed properly for the Old Town area, to fit with the existing neighborhood and contribute to the historic look of downtown. This could have been such an asset to Old Town. We need development, but the kind that will help the existing businesses grow, too. Towns with an old town area can be a prime attraction for visitors and customers, as well as the community itself. In the future, hopefully we can enforce codes to protect our Historic District that didn't exist when the McCormick Building went up. Our historic district is a huge cultural asset.
With spring and sunny weather, more people are on the streets. It's a welcome sight for businesses. Those that depend on walk-in traffic have had a lean winter. The streets and traffic in Old Town have been more of a problem than we anticipated, and it will take some time to recover. We all hope for a busy, productive summer. There are always huge crowds in town from the special summer events, and many of them will return to shop and visit if our downtown streets are easy to navigate, and if they can find a place to park. People will walk a mile for our Fireman's Chicken or to see Robin Hood and classic cars, but they need to be within a block or two of shops and restaurants.
Sherwood used to have a big problem with dogs running loose all over town. People are much more responsible now, and many people can be seen in Old Town, walking and jogging with their dogs on a leash. It is much safer for the animals too. In fact, there seems to be so many animals around that it might be fun to have a pet shows at the Robin Hood Festival this year! This was a popular feature of the festival in early years.
Pat Bither at Whistle Stop Antiques has a fascinating tale to tell about prohibition in Sherwood in the early part of the century, I have heard stories about the remnants of old stills being discovered in buildings in the Sherwood area, and in fact, saw what could have been part of an old still in a crawl space under the Carlson and Sherk building, which occupied the corner of Railroad and Main. Pat's story is much more detailed, and includes the fact that Pat and her father actually found some bottles of the "liquid gold." Sherwood was pretty much a wild town in the early part of the century, but prohibition was "enforced" from 1916 to 1933. More of Pat's story will appear in the nest edition of June Reynolds book on Sherwood History. We'll have to wait another year or two, but it will be worth it. In the meantime, stop by Pat's shop and ask her for the details.
Many people still have questions about the streets and the direction the city is taking. City council and planning commission meetings are good places to ask. You can get the schedules by calling City Hall. We encourage you to do so.