Editor's Note: This is the first column in a series that will appear monthly in The Spirit.
If you have lived in Punxsutawney for any length of time, you can remember some of the stores and businesses that no longer grace the downtown streets.
Have you ever thought about how long some of the present businesses have been around?
The research into what is here today and what was here yesterday was a fascinating trip into awareness and a great way to spend a few lazy afternoons in the fall sunshine.
Now, can you answer the question as to how many steps it takes to get to the front door of the post office?
Some younger folks would say there are no steps, because you just walk in.
Others would say they really don't know, except it seemed a long way up, especially on a cold day.
Well, there are 12 steps up to what was the local post office, or as we now know it, the Weather Center.
Maybe the more fascinating encounter would be to discuss what has gone from our horizon rather than what is, but for the moment, we can stay with what is.
Punxsutawney certainly has a slew of beauty shops and pizza parlors, but few barbers and even fewer places to purchase shoes.
By the way, a bit more than 60 years ago, there were a dozen barber shops in town. Guess it would be best to confess that there was the same number of beauty shops at the time.
Now, why would anyone start off a column with ice cream and banks? Well, the other day, I needed a treat after I went to the bank, so I took off for Country Cone.
To me, it was a newcomer in the area, but I soon discovered that it had been around since 1986.
Its present owner, Denny Emhoff, has been selling 24 flavors, and then some, of his soft ice cream since 1993.
No one, of course, can ignore a Dairy Queen treat.
To my surprise, when I finally did make it there, I found out DQ had been in its same spot since 1956. The Weaver family has owned it for more than 30 years.
Both these businesses begin their season in March and close up show in the early weeks of October.
Also, there is Joe's Drive-In for more soft ice cream and other food treats. It has been in Punxsutawney for almost 45 years.
Its big change has been the senior part of Sekora becoming the Joe junior part.
Uni-Mart in the east end of town, has been around since 1983, while the unit on the west end has been around even longer than that.
Bet most of you bank in only one bank, but there are seven of them in town, and one even has a branch. Who came first is a real jigsaw puzzle because of their name changes.
The S&T Mahoning office opened in December 1971, and the Hampton Avenue one came along in November 1984.
In February 1970, S&T acquired the Farmers and Miners Trust Company that had been in town since June 1901.
CNB in the Punxs'y Plaza really came to town in early 1980, but it came in as Western States. It went on to become First Federal, then PNC, and finally, County National Bank for a time before it came to its present name.
The Community First Bank came to town in July 2006, first along Mahoning Street, and then it moved to its present home on the bend across from the IUP Culinary School in 2008.
Confused yet? Marion Center Bank made its home on West Mahoning Street in 2000, and right after that, in 2002, the Indiana First Bank by Walmart came along.
In 1997, First Commonwealth Bank came to town, and two years later, settled in the Punxs'y Plaza.
You can say PNC is the newest bank in town because it came in November 2009. The only thing is that it replaced National City that came after Integra, and before that it was Keystone National Bank. And the beginning of that was Punxsutawney National Bank, which was organized in January 1901.
To digress a bit, one of the neat things about reunions is one never knows who will show up.
In this case, it was a "haven't seen you in a coon's age" cousin. He was traveling in California and decided one day to take in a flea market. While pawing through a box that just looked like junk, he came across a check encased in plastic. It was dated June 1913 from the Punxsutawney National Bank.
Let's leave you with a teaser.
What building in town started out as the Mahoning House and later was called the Jennings' House?
Oh, I feel another teaser coming on. Do you remember an article on Ladybug Day by Spirit Editor Zak Lantz earlier this month? The date it appeared was 10-11-12.
Now, the teaser: What date coming up later this year will never happen again, and I do mean never?
By the way, don't forget to exercise some R&R next month. Translation: Don't forget to vote, because in this country, it is your right and responsibility.
Did you know all this? Well, now you do.
Roberta Dinsmore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .