We did not and still do not have a recognizable downtown area. There are small pockets of a limited number of businesses. FOR EXAMPLE: Reitman’s Garage/Camp Springs Volunteer Fire Department and the Corner Bar; Camp Springs Grocery by itself; Four Mile Inn joined later by the Camp Springs Ballpark. Four Mile Road served primarily as a connector between Silver Grove and Alexandria. The closest we had to a retail area was Camp Springs Grocery and that alone.
Our nearest shopping location was Alexandria. It was always mentioned that we went UP to Alexandria and it was technically south by the compass but in actual elevation it was higher or UP. There were at least ten businesses in old town Alexandria in the 60’s when I was growing up. Just to mention a few: Art’s Grocery and Meats/Bank of Alexandria/Post Office/Dr. Howe’s Office/Carmack’s General Merchandise/Central Café/Neiser’s Café/and a few more. My favorites were Western Auto and Decker’s 5 & 10. These two were my favorites because they sold toys. Western Auto was located in what was later Schnitzler Carpet. The pickings of merchandise was quite sparse, maybe because they were just opening or were preparing to close. My interest there was the model car kits. The store later moved to Washington Street. However, my favorite was Decker’s 5 & 10. It was jammed with anything and everything that a young kid thought he needed (notice, I said needed). A customer was required to move stuff to see more stuff that was hidden below. Most merchandise was small and inexpensive dime store stuff. Things were on tables, counters, shelves under the counters, on the floor, on the walls and suspended from wires stretched from wall to wall. It was like walking through a jungle of toys.
Usually and fortunately for me I was able to convince my parents that Decker’s had a least one item that I could not live without. Most of my shopping time occurred when my Mother had an appointment with Dr. Howe, whose office was located directly across Main Street and while my Dad patiently waited in the car. This was by his choice. Decker’s 5 & 10 later closed and the space was then taken by Country Cousins Bakery Shop for many years until it also closed in about 2015 and remains empty today. During these early times there was limited commercial businesses along US 27 through Alexandria.
Today, it can be a last minute thought to drive to Alexandria from Camp Springs, however, when I was just a kid it was a big adventure. This is evident by the fact that sixty years later it remains a fond memory that I will never forget.