History of a Painting - Bonnie Doon, S. Mich. Street, South Bend, IN

Real Estate Agent with Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC RB14037276

History of a Painting -

Bonnie Doon Drive-in, S. Michigan Street,

South Bend, Indiana.

Acrylic Painting by Larry Johnston©

Bonnie Doon Ice Cream started in 1941 and in 1944, opened up their first drive-in.  One of their most popular locations was on S. Michigan Street, in South Bend, Indiana.  At the time, when I frequented that location, there were 5 locations in the area.

During my High School days, Michigan Street was a one way street going north and the next street over, Main Street was one way going south. Bonnie Doon and Azar's Big Boy sat next door to each other, so they became the hang out as the cars would drives through both establishments, go around the block and back through, over and over, eventually referred to as the marry-go-round.  The teenagers would sit on their cars in the parking lot and watch the cars go by. I remember the cars stopping along Main Street to meet. I'm sure many romances started at Bonnie Doon's.

I decided to bring back some of these buildings that have since become vacant or torn down. This painting, which is the building on S. Michigan Street, brought back many memories from the people that saw it..  I asked if they could find the Corvette Stingray in the painting, which most couldn't find, until I pointed out the reflection in the side of the car in the foreground.

Of the 5 Bonnie Doon locations that I remember, I have painted 4 of them.


Blogs About Some of My Other Paintings and their History:

Armuchee House,....  The Corner Shelf,....  Loew's Jersey Theatre,....  Marathon Gas Pump,....  Calloway's Round Barn,....  River Street, Savannah, GA,....  Court House, Crown Point, IN,....  Pooles Mill Covered Bridge,....  Steak and Shake,....  The Peanut Shop,....  Hot Diggity Dogs,....  Wrigley Field,.... Piano Through a Window,.... The Coconut Tree,....  Barber Tonics,.... Pelican Diner,.... A & W Drive-in,.... The Lantern,.... The FOX Theatre, Atlanta,...  Tri-Way Outdoor Theatre,...  Rexall Drug Store,...  A Family Homestead,...  The Palace Theatre,...  Angel's Diner,...  Krispy Kreme, Gainsville, Florida,...  Bonnie Doon US31,...  Ross Diner,...  The Gag & Heave,... A&W Root Beer Barrel,...  Bonnie Doon, Lincolnway, Mishawaka, IN,...  Train Depot, Cartersville, GA,...  Dairy Queen,...  Firestone Store,...  The South Shore,...  The Gathering Place,...  4-Way Lunch,...  Mustard and Ketchup,... McDonald's,...  Lost Mountain Store,...   The Big Chicken,...  Euharlee, GA. Covered Bridge,...  Juliette, GA Church,...  Fried Green Tomatoes House,...  Whistle Stop Cafe,...   Whistle Stop Train Depot,...  Tilley Park,...   Jimmy's Hurricane,...   Barber Chair,...  Fire Truck,...   Rosies Diner,... Judge Roy Bean's   


If you know someone who wants to Buy or Sell a Home in Elkhart County, have them call me:

Larry Johnston, 574-304-7577

Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC

Elkhart, Indiana

or email larry@larry-johnston.com


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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Fabulous.  I love the painting.

Being older than dirt, I can remember the drive-ins and those with curb side service. 

In fact, we owned one of those 57 Chevrolets.  Ah memories.  Thanks Larry.

Jan 30, 2015 11:19 PM #2
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Hi Larry - what a wonderful painting and love the history as well. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 31, 2015 01:31 AM #3
ba`B Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

WOW, what talent Larry. You are most definitely a romantic of past times and it shows in your work. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 31, 2015 01:41 AM #4
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

This is a wonderful catch of nostaliga, Larry. Even with you explaining how to spot the Stingray, still required an effort. 

Jan 31, 2015 01:53 AM #5
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Your talent is amazing....painting a Stingray as a reflection is mind-boggling, Larry.  Your creativity is boundless and your talent is ..... I don't even know what to say!  Thanks for sharing this beauty with us, too!

Jan 31, 2015 04:57 AM #6
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Larry excellent job in how you captured the night light in this painting.

Jan 31, 2015 06:00 AM #7
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Larry, Bonnie Doon sure looks like a fun place to hang out!   

Jan 31, 2015 08:40 AM #8
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It's Arnold's Drive In from Happy Days.  Very traditional piece of US history as well.

Jan 31, 2015 08:46 AM #9
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

The colors in this piece are amazing, Larry...and I love that you have the stingray in the reflection.  Classic cars, classic drive-in...really classy artist!

Jan 31, 2015 09:43 AM #10
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This is the most popular painting of the four Bonnie Doon's you painted.  I can see why!

Jan 31, 2015 10:33 AM #11
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing this painting and the related history.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Jan 31, 2015 10:48 AM #12
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Larry, yes i remember the old drive-ins, they were the cool places to go to in my early years.

Jan 31, 2015 11:00 AM #13
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I love it when you feature your paintings. You know what amazes me is that you can take on so many different scenes and makes them all look different. It's almost like you use a different style of painting for each scene. 

BTW...I finished the challenge this month, too. I got in all my posts for Lynn's challenge, but I only did four phone calls. I did leave you a message through AR about calling you, but I guess you didn't get it. 

Jan 31, 2015 11:09 AM #14
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Good evening Debbie Laity , It's not to late to get that 5th phone call in.  As you can tell, I am at my computer.  Give me a call if it's not too late for you.

Jan 31, 2015 12:02 PM #15
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Larry, you are a master! If they revive "Grease" in your area, they ought to use your painting for the poster!

I love the story you wove for us, too....such a simpler time. 

Feb 03, 2015 01:49 AM #16
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Larry Johnston ! What a wonderful post! This brings back a lot of memories for me too! We had the Triple X drive-in's here the Seattle area and the 1st one opened here in my hometown, Renton... Love the painting. I missed the corvette until you mentioned it. Meeting at the drive-in on Friday or Saturday evenings with friends was our social scene!

Feb 10, 2015 01:47 AM #17
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Larry,  Today, I have *FEATURED* this localism post in myTuesday Travelogue blogpost.

                                    Travelers in the Rain!


Travelers in the Rain logo-Vineyard at Gales Creek Oregon-Gayle Rich-Boxman Copyrighted All Rights Reserved 2013

Feb 10, 2015 01:53 AM #18
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 ,  Thanks for highlighting me in your Travelogue blog.  Thanks for the nice comments.

Feb 10, 2015 05:51 AM #19
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 was right, I didn't find it and I'm usually so good at that.

Feb 10, 2015 11:27 AM #20
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Larry, what a wonderful painting and it reminded me of one of the opening scenes in American Graffiti  when the times were simpler and cars were cars even down to the little Vespa Scooter!  The drive in was sure an icon of American Culture in the post war years to early 70's, and you have captured that spirit in your wonderful painting of the Bonnie Doon in South Bend!!!

Feb 11, 2015 01:00 AM #21
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Larry Johnston

Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN
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