45 Cage's Hardware
This Cage's on Leopard & Lester had all sorts of great stuff. The employees were really friendly except they would tend to stalk us kids. Probably for good reason as some of us went in lighter than we came out. I didn't steal from here, as my dad shopped here.
Besides your normal hammers, saws, and things, they also had ceramics, and collectibles, in front windows, not sure why, maybe to hit with hammers. I saved my dimes and bought a lighted UFO frisbee here, would later buy a different same at Auto Center, but this one had 2 small AA batteries, and some little lights on top, so when you tossed it, it would spin and light up! Wow! Sure could not toss it more than 15 yards due to weight but who cares, was heavier than regular frisbee. One of my favorite pastimes was chasing Missouri Pacific trains a block away, anytime I heard the long soulful whistle, grab bike and off Bootsy & me went unless dark, rain, of homework. Well I had this crazy idea to put little nails on railroad track, train smash them, they looked like Cross of Lorraine swords now. Ten I would take to Cathedral and sell them to kids. Cage's was part of my evil plan, as they had several cool scales hanging from ceiling, you load in nails, and get price from clerk, usually the old lady with cat eye glasses. So for 10 or 20 cents, could get little brown bag of nails to flatten. Also got nails from here to use on skateboards we made, as had unlimited amount of Coke, Sprite & other bottlecaps to nail into the wood upside down to keep shoes on. This place also sold bicycle things like tires, tubes, and even television tubes that glowed and poppa was repairing televisions on the side so this came in handy.
Photo #1 Inside Cage's Hardware on Leopard street, they had more paint than modern places like Home Depot. And friendly staff to boot. Plumbing, whole toilets, lights, fixtures, LOTS of tools like hammers, screwdrivers, could build whole house just using stuff bought here. Actually we tried that after hurricane Celia. Epic fail, not on Cage's part, but had huge hole in old roof from 500+ lb fan from Coca Cola it destroyed the whole house.
Photo #2. Cage's Hardware inside, not best lit place, had big glass windows facing Leopard Street, of which have long since been nailed shut. The hanging lights inside, were pretty much same UFO looking ones Sear's up the road had, and even in some stores downtown like Litchenstein's. Note the big trash cans for sale lower right of photo. Towards back, some of these were filled to brim with popular nails! And.. you had ice scoops to scoop them out into bags. But where the hell fun is that, as a kid, stick hand in there and grab them, he who gets most cuts wins.
Photo #3 Cage's Hardware in 2018 is now a York Air Condition place, the windows all boarded up. Boo! But Cage's once had larger windows, not these child portion ones. And looks like subdivided also, not sure what the hell that is in right. But the little alley there next to it, is where could go down that alley, go up stairs, and spy on people in apartments up there, the apartments long since removed too. I wonder how many kids that couple in 1960s we saw ended up with? Probably not as many as me.
Photo #4 Looking past the time ravaged Coca Cola company that was next door to our crappy house for decades, I took this photo from atop The Hill of Death facing south summer 2018. Antelope is foreground, Lester street on left with Leopard in background. Central Office Supply was once a furniture store, don't remember name, on left was Beil's Grocery Store. To right of it was Cage's Hardware. Behind Coca Cola shown here was Mario's Barber shop & Noe's Café.