Saturday, September 06, 2014
I always enjoy doing a little bit of sleuthing on Google Maps, trying to match of vintage views with Google's "Street Views". Hopefully you enjoy it too!
Let's start in Detroit, Michigan. Back in the 1950's, it was a vibrant city buoyed by the booming automobile industry. Those were the days. I like this shot looking south from Grand River Avenue down Washington Boulevard toward the Detroit Free Press building, along with a few nice signs for Cadillac and Firestone.
Now Washington Boulevard has a tree-lined boulevard down the middle, which I would ordinarily approve of - except that it messes up my Googling! So this is about as good as I could do. The Free Press building is now abandoned. To our left, you can see St. Aloysius (also visible in the first photo)
Next we head for Columbia, California; a former boom-town from the 1850's (GOLD!) in Tuolemne County. That's near Yosemite National Park! This building (at the corner of Fulton and Main Street) was built by a man named Matthew Brady (not that Matthew Brady) in 1899. It now belongs to the State of California, and a series of concessionaires have leased the building. Notice the sign on the car encouraging folks to visit Mercer Caverns (in Calaveras County).
Google Maps was not terribly useful for this remote town (though I could find 360 degree panorama). So I went to Flickr and found this image that matched up nicely!
Most old slides are unlabeled, so part of the process involves looking for clues. In this case, the large "Foley's" building was the key. We're in Houston, Texas, looking west on Lamar Street near the corner of Main. Foley's was a chain of departments stores, headquartered in Houston. It fell on hard times in the 1980's, and ownership changed several times. Many Foley's stores were converted to Macy's, but in 2005, it was announced that the Houston store would close.
Google's Street View is a thing of mystery - just a few weeks ago I nabbed this screen grab looking up Lamar Street. There's the old Foley's to our left.
When I went back to double-check on the street name, I was startled to see that there is now a big hole in the ground where Foley's/Macy's used to be! Turns out it was actually demolished about a year ago. Goodbye, Foley's!