Saturday, December 01, 2012

Central Avenue, Abluquerque NM - 1951

Today we're heading back to October 1951, for a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico! Both of these photos were taken on Central Avenue Northwest, at the corner of 3rd Street. I've never been to Albuquerque (though my family almost moved there when I was in high school), but this street looks very much like an old-fashioned Main Street in these pictures. It is, in fact, part of historic Route 66, which makes it über cool! 

I love the look of this part of Central Ave., a bustling commercial district with everything a person needs in life. If it isn't there, you don't need it! Notice the red sign for the Kimo theater; much of that "Pueblo Deco" beauty burned up in 1961, and the building was very nearly razed. Happily, it was restored in the 1990's.

Using Google Maps' "street view", this is about as close as I could get in my attempt at duplicating the angle seen above.

Looking east from about the same spot, you can see more local business. First National Bank! Your money will be safe there. Hinkels, Given Bros. Shoes, Mayfair, Paris Shoes, the State theater, bars and hotels. If only I had a time machine...

Another contemporary view, courtesy of Google.

I hope you have enjoyed today's visit to Albuquerque!


Rich T. said...

Love all the cars! And that's the most charming bus (outside Disneyland) I've ever seen puttering away from us in the first shot.

Chiana_Chat said...

If'n I stepped from a time machine into that 2nd '51 pic, I'd stop the guy with the brown bag from following that poor lady, offer her an aspirin and I'd be set. ;)

Looks like a pretty good city. Now it looks a lot... blander.

Anonymous said...

Blatz Beer!
Meyer and Meyer - The Man's Store!
The Court Cafe just 1/2 block North!

Chiana's right - there's something in that fella's paper bag that has him in a hurry to get somewhere. Maybe he just missed the bus?

Bill in Denver

walterworld said...

There sure were a lot more shoe stores back in the day!

Love the then-and-now shots. I had already pulled up Google maps and was checking out the street view when I saw that your next pic already had it :)


Chuck said...

I love the Airmen crossing the street in the first photo. The sergeant in front is strolling arm-in-arm with his date or wife while the corporal or private (hard to see if it's one stripe or two because of the blur) is right behind, perhaps trying to catch up with the woman slightly ahead and to the left of the couple. In the coming year, their respective ranks will be renamed "Airman First Class" and either "Airman Second Class" or "Airman Third Class," depending on whether the tag-along has two stripes or one.

Their uniforms date them to the early 50's just as much as the cars and clothing styles of the civilians in the photo. Believe it or not, that heavily-starched,long-sleeved khaki shirt - worn with a tie, no less - was the SUMMER uniform in 1951. The wheel cap on both of them in a non-dress uniform is another identifier of a bygone era; that hat has been an optional uniform item since 1992 and most Airmen today don't even own one.

I'd love to sit down and have a chat with these two fellows over a nice, cold Blatz beer at the Airman's Club at Kirtland Air Force Base there in Albuquerque, although they might be young enough that we'd have to settle for an A&W.

I wonder what these guys did for the Air Force? There was an awful lot of special weapons design and testing going on at Kirtland in 1951, but there was also an air defense squadron and, of course, all of the various specialties that make any military installation run: cooks and mechanics, personnel specialists and air police, firefighters and administrative clerks, telephone operators and photographers.

Whatever they did, I'd love to hear their stories...before we lose them forever.

Anonymous said...

In the final Google image, I see the Library is adorned with gigantic books! Gotta love a city that enjoys helping people smile...

jedblau said...

My hometown! Central Ave./Route 66 is remarkably well-maintained, and the Kimo is still in operation as a live theater. Thanks for the flashback!

Major Pepperidge said...

Rich T, I didn't even notice the bus (though there is a LOT to notice)!

Chiana, in almost every instance, photos of a location from 40-50 years ago look much more appealing than photos showing the same place today.

Bill, that bag is full of egg salad sandwiches, and those things won't keep forever....

walterworld, doesn't that street look awesome? I'd definitely want to head downtown to shop back in those days.

Chuck, thanks for the details about the Airmen... I didn't say anything about them because I just don't have the knowledge. Those uniforms still look very similar to what was worn in WWII to my eyes, though I'm sure they'd been updated.

Anonymous, I think that is a bookstore, though I'm not 100% positive.

jeblau, I figured that *somebody* who used to live in Albuquerque would see this! I'm glad you enjoyed today's pix.

Pilsner Panther said...

The place where Bugs Bunny always failed to make a fateful left turn...

I don't have anything else to say about Albuquerque, but if you want to hear some old-time Christmas music that you've definitely never heard before, check out this month's Pilsner's Picks (a self-plug, if that's okay with you, Major).

Chuck said...

Major - you're right about the similarity with WWII uniforms. There were some slight variations in style and cut in the six years since the end of the War, but the biggest changes for the Air Force uniform were the new enlisted rank design and the substitution of olive drab with slate blue.

I think one of the great things about this site is you throw out some great pictures, a bit of information and witty commentary and the rest of us start filling in the blanks...or just making stuff up... :-)

Dennis said...

The Library is a bar. The books have drinking related themes.