Homer Bale opened a sandwich shop known as Wimpy’s, 7340 Madison Street, in 1936. Before long, it would change its name to Homer’s and become a fixture on Madison Street for half a century as a restaurant, lounge and banquet hall. In the 1940s it boasted air conditioning and was open until midnight. In its heyday, it was the gathering place of politicians, business people, out-of-towners, locals and occasional celebrities, including Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimmer and actor who played Tarzan. A “massive blaze of suspicious origin” hit the restaurant in 1987, just hours before it was to be sold.

Jill Wagner  

Picture: Homer Bale in the early days of Homer’s and one of his waitresses behind the counter with signs on the wall offering coffee, milk or chocolate milk for 5 cents and hamburger for 10 cents.