Thursday, September 1, 2011
Hoge’s Restaurant-A Lasting Chunk of Calcutta History
You never know where you are going to find information about an area. I went into Hoge’s Restaurant in Calcutta see if they knew anything about the little buildings on the property beside them. They couldn't help me there, so I asked if there was any history on their building and they gave me a copy of the front of their menu, which has the Hoge’s Restaurant history on it. I was pleasantly surprised!
Ella and Kenneth Hoge started a small sit down restaurant with curb service on Dresden Avenue in 1945. The current owner, Pearl McHenry, started working there in 1946, at the age of 13. Business was booming and in 1947, Mr. Hoge found the current building which is Hoge’s today. While that is a story in itself, the building is what my story centers around today.
It was built in the early 1900’s and was known as the Lincoln Lodge. During the days of speak-easies and prohibition it was known as the Chatterbox. It was very popular, perhaps because you could find things like gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution there. In Calcutta? Who would have thought?!
After someone was killed at the Chatterbox (something we are researching) and also at the Club Plantation (Itchy Walker in 1940. Unsolved), the Women’s Tempest Union worked to get the township declared dry, and succeeded. That remained so until 2008.
For a while the building was a market and a feed store when it was bought by Paul Estop. He would grind his own flour and feed in the back building. That brings us back to 1947 when Mr. Hoge bought the building and turned it into Hoge’s Restaurant. In the 1950’s it was a very popular place for family nights out, after football games or dances too!
Today it is owned by Don and Pearl McHenry, who bought it from the Hoge’s in 1969. Considering Calcutta hasn’t got much of their historical buildings left, I think that makes this one an awesome place to visit. There is even a large stone fireplace in the dining room!
Of course, it does help that their food is excellent and so is the service!