Above: downtown on Wednesday, City Center hallway leading to the still-unopened Dayton's Project.

My wife was looking for some old photos the other day, and pulled out her shoebox of uncollected, unsorted, unscanned pictures. I don’t say that as a judgment of any kind, of course, you understand. It’s just not how I would do things, but to each his own!

(This is Minnesota nice passive-aggressive judgmentalism at its purest.)

I was happy to sort and scan and add to the family archives, which will be seen by no one except Daughter who will flick through the pictures with no interest. Can’t blame her: this, for example, will mean nothing to her.

It’s the casita in the Fiesta Americana hotel. I always take pictures of the hotels where I stay, just to fix the memory. This place was nice, for the standards of the time and the money and the country. The style was very 90s. I'll bet that table's still there..

I wonder if anyone ever turned on the TV.

Huge walk-in shower, hammock, nothing but wild terrain on the back side. I can smell the musty humid aromas of the place if I wish, a smell I always associate with Tourista Mexicano. Damp concrete. Faded painted signs. I’ve always loved that place, and if the stars aligned I’d go back tomorrow and do nothing for a week.

Why go back to a place you’ve been before? I don’t know. I’m like that. Anyway, this is not about that. It’s about this.

There is a particular cultural moment in this logo. First of all, Lund’s. They melded with Byerly’s to form the local high-class grocery store. Second: “33 minute photo.”

What an age! What a time of marvels! No more dropping off the roll at the drug store, and waiting a week to get your prints back. Why, even the idea of one-hour photo was crudely hip-checked away here: 33 minutes. That’s scientific and precise.
A phrase no one utters anymore: “I’m going to the grocery store to drop off the photos.”

When was the photo department removed from the grocery store? Don’t know. You stopped needing it, and then you might have noticed when it was shuttered, and you didn’t care, because, well, prints, from a camera, right? Who does that?

It’s not a thing.

All in all, hurrah: now we have marvelous cameras that are instantly available, and take amazing pictures. We don’t have to wait to see something get developed, to use the strange old word. The downside: we have devalued the importance of the old snapshots, because they’re easy and free. The upside: our pictures are so much better. Downside: because they are numerous and common and live in an incorporeal state, most people don’t spend the time sorting and culling and pasting, but just assume that everything is up there, out there, somewhere.

Not everyone. Perhaps not you. Perhaps you have printed off things and put them into heirloom books. Perhaps you have sorted everything into folders with quadruplicate backups. But it’s still not permanent. If I were king of the forest I’d establish some free-for-all site where everyone could add their photos, with the stipulation that they are annotated and geotagged. A Library of Congress of quotidian images. It would seem like a mess of junk today.

In a hundred years, it would be invaluable.

I’m guessing we’re safely past the Revolutionary stuff:

The artist:

François Pascal Simon Gérard (4 May 1770 – 11 January 1837), titled as Baron Gérard in 1809, was a prominent French painter. He was born in Rome, where his father occupied a post in the house of the French ambassador, and his mother was Italian. After he was made a baron of the Empire in 1809 by Emperor Napoleon, he was known formally as Baron Gérard.

A title of nobility! But Daddy, what did you do in the war?

In 1793, Gérard, at the request of David, was named a member of the revolutionary tribunal, from the fatal decisions of which he, however, invariably absented himself.

Anyway. The subject:

Madame de Recamier (born Dec. 4, 1777, Lyon—died May 11, 1849, Paris), French hostess of great charm and wit whose salon attracted most of the important political and literary figures of early 19th-century Paris.

David painted her as well. Gerard had some interesting ideas:

As recalled by two preparatory drawings kept at the Carnavalet museum, Gérard initially thought of representing Mme Récamier standing, coming out of the bath.

Ooh la la, as they say.









The pride of Cowlitz County, I gather.  Wikipedia:

The Long-Bell Lumber Company, led by Robert A. Long, decided to buy a great expanse of timberland in Cowlitz County in 1918. A total of 14,000 workers were needed to run the two large mills as well as lumber camps that were planned. The number of workers needed was more than a lumber town, or the nearest town, could provide. Long planned and built a complete city in 1921 that could support a population of up to 50,000 and provide labor for the mills as well as attracting other industries. Several buildings in the city were built from Long's private funds."

Let us wander through longland.

“Now, you’re a new architect in town so let me give you a piece of advice. Some day, and I can’t say when, folks are going to walk from one end of the block to the other on the second floor, and we want it all to be level. We don’t even want folks to have to step up or down, at all.”

"Ah, I can see you understand us well."


I’m pretty sure this was a Woolworth.

As we usually say: trees, angle parking, planting areas - that’ll bring downtown back lickety split.

Judging from the roofline, the rehab facade stretched over both buildings.

The brick looks different, but I think it's all the same. One facade, two distinct stores?

In the salady, halcyonish days of downtown, this sign said something else.

At least the business that occupied the space had respect for the sign.

And then, WHOA!

Cinema Treasures: “The Longview Theatre was opened in 1941 with 700 seats in orchestra and balcony levels, it was closed in 1955. It was re-opened on November 26, 1970.” And then? “The theatre was totally renovated in 1996 by Act 3 Theatres of Portland, Oregon. As part of the renovation, new seats, a new screen, new projection system, new digital sound system, and a snack bar were installed.” Great! And then? “The theatre was closed in the late-2000’s. Later sold and gutted to make the interior a skate park, it also had some use as a rock concert venue.”

Oh no.   Look at this atrocity.

Restoration erased those sins, and it’s a theater again.

The Officer has arrived to introduce us to the Wood building.

The Wood building had a postwar rehab, too.

Or so I presume. More likely that they reskinned something instead of building new, especially with that name.

From 1925, an all-in-one commercial building.

Doesn’t really look like a theater. The marquee does it. Threatened with demolition in 1980, but saved.

Note the old overlaying the older.


In case you were confused about how to find the entrance, they’ll explain it with simple visual cues.

All it takes to make a downtown seem a bit more elegant and sophisticated is a curved corner.


Nice work, I suppose; the red ornamentation seems a bit much, but I'll take it.

His shadow haunts us still:

Ah, there he is.

Oh screw the trees, put out some art.

A contemporary sign inhabiting an old Chinese restaurant sign.

The Police Department, with columns to suggest the majesty and power of the law.

Well, power, anyway. Not a lot of majesty and only a curt nod to tradition.


Those Yamasaki columns. Never liked them. Then again . . .

In OUMB terms, I’ll take the above over the below.

I love the 20s. That’s all.

That'll do; one more entry before we recoup and relax, and then regroup. See you around.




blog comments powered by Disqus