Way Back When: The Duck Pond
For most of us locals, the Duck Pond was a very special place way back when.
Our collective memories would most likely look like this: sitting in the big backseat of our parents’ car, going through the drive-up lane of Clymer’s Radio Drive-In and gawking at the billboard menu sign, hand-painted with a teenage boy and girl sipping from each side of a giant 7-foot-tall milkshake while listening to the lady on the other end of the crackling speaker take our order.
The fun was just beginning. Off we’d go to just across Highway 50 to Duck Pond Park, where we’d sit on the grass, eat those delicious Flying Saucer burgers that were wrapped in wax paper and served in red-and-white-checkered cardboard trays along with french fries or onion rings or both.
Or maybe you had ordered the Radio Burger, so called because Clymer’s had bragging rights to being the first place to take your order over the speaker system without ever having to get out of the car.
Or maybe you were going to have one of their 25-cent malts or shakes or sundaes with the 2 Cow Burger, two patties on a bun, way before the modern-day double stacker, and the bun was always smaller that the beef.
Sitting on the grassy slopes around the pond, you’d toss bits of fries and buns to ducks who were nearly brave enough to eat out of your hand.
The fun didn’t stop there. In the middle of cold winter nights, the city crews would use the nearby fire hydrant to flood the top of the pond. The nice, new, smooth surface brought out the ice skater and hockey player in everyone.
Jo Spangler Perez grew up near Duck Pond Park. She shared these family photos taken in 1950. The top photo shows her father, Jay M. Spangler, Jo and sister Betty Spangler Chafin and the children.