Saturday, February 14, 2015


Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! 

Today I decided to do another "Then and Now" comparison, using a vintage photo of a location, and then finding the same view (or as close as I can get to it) on Google Maps' "Street View".

This first one is from the 1950's, and shows a shot looking South on Main Street (towards 7th Avenue) in the little town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Stillwater is pretty much in the central/northern part of the state. It is home to Oklahoma State University, and is also smack-dab in the middle of "Tornado Alley", for added fun. Chester Gould, creator of "Dick Tracy", was from Stillwater!

I love this look up the prosperous little Main Street, with plenty of cars, indicating shoppers, and diners at the Grand Cafe. Check out those cool old-fashioned highway signs. Across the street you can see the Aggie Theater.

Here's the current view on Google Maps. I wonder if, someday, this view will seem as charming to folks as the first picture is to me? The old Aggie Theater closed years ago, and is apparently occupied by a law firm.

Next we'll head east to York, Pennsylvania, at the corner of Market Street and George Street (sometime in the 1950's). The stately First National Bank is on our left (I'd keep my money there), while the G.C. Murphy Co. (a "Five and Dime" store much like Woolworth's) is next door. It's Christmas time! 

Here's how the same corner looks today. The First National Bank has left the building, but I couldn't quite discern what had taken its place. I miss the 1930's-look of the G.C. Murphy Co. - which has been replaced with a black glass Susquehanna Bank. The funny little booth structure on the corner is still there, though (with changes), I wonder what that thing is for?

I hope you have enjoyed today's "Then and Now" photos!


Update: GDB reader Chuck has done more research than I ever had the energy to do, and tried to leave it in the "Comments"… but Blogger seems to be rejecting it for some reason. So I thought I would "copy/paste" here. Nice work, Chuck!

Interesting shots today which took me down a fascinating rabbit hole of research...

The Northeast corner of the intersection of Market & George Streets in York, PA, is actually fairly significant in early American history. According to the blog "Only in York County" (, this area is known as "Continental Square" and "was the site of York’s first courthouse and the capital of the U.S., Sept., 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778.” The Continental Congress relocated to York from the Pennsylvania Statehouse 100 miles away due to the British occupation of Philadelphia.

Beneath Continental Square are a currently closed underground complex consisting of public restrooms, a beauty salon, a barber shop, and a shoe shine station ( According to one source, the complex, built in the 1920's, was constructed because Prohibition had closed the bars which, in turn, led to a dearth of public restroom facilities downtown (

Here's a description of G.C. Murphy's from a former employee, 1956-57: "The part next to Commonwealth Bank was the toy dept. Downstairs in the main building were dishes, pots and pans, kitchenwares and clothing. When you went in the front from Market St., there was the candy counter and to the left the lunch bar." (

G.C. Murphy's no longer exists as a company, portions having been merged into several other department store chains, but its charitable arm, the G.C. Murphy Co. Foundation survives today ( I also found an oblique link to my family: the "Murphy's Mart" - a K-Mart-like department store - in my parents' hometown was owned by the same company.

Finally, that booth on the corner, locally known as the "Teapot Dome," was built as a shelter for trolley conductors. Since the trolley stopped running in 1939, it's been used as an information booth, a police substation (note the blue & white carparked next to it in the 1950's photo), and as a kiosk for mailing letters to Santa (I'm assuming that's Santa Claus and not Santa Anna). Removed in 2004 because of its dilapidated condition, it was restored and replaced in its historic location in 2009 (, 


Nanook said...


Nice images today. Too bad we can't quite read the marquee on the Aggie Theatre, but those fabulous highway signs more than make up for that.

But the real keeper has to be the G.C. Murphy Co. building. What a beauty-! It's nice the "booth" still remains, although it certainly appears to be empty inside.

Thanks. Major.

K. Martinez said...

The Stillwater image is cool. I like the Grand Café sign. The Murphy building is beautiful. I love the front corner entry doors and clock above it. The old cars really give the photos an extra punch. Old town Americana always does it for me.

Happy Valentines Day to you, Major and to all the GDB readers.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

WOW. I did a little digging-around last night trying to learn more about the "Teapot Dome", but got a bit side-tracked with the Charles-? Department Store. The 'underground' in York is decidedly snappier than what remains of Seattle's. (Now I know where I can get a trim the next time I visit York-!) Thanks.

Chuck said...

Let's see if Blogger lets me post this time...

Thanks, Nanook. Completely missed the "Ch**les Department Store" sign, but sounds like that was a research dead end.

You're a car guy, right? Can you identify the car next to the "Teapot Dome" in the 1950's photo?

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

I'm gonna say it's a 1953 Mercury. It could be a Ford, rather than a Merc, but I don't think so.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, my brain may be biased (in fact, it definitely is), but I'm often amazed at how often old photos of theaters reveal that they are showing Disney films. It makes me sad that so many old theaters like the Aggie have gone belly-up.

K. Martinez, I was almost sure that Stillwater was going to be a Route 66 city, but it is just a bit north of the Mother Road. Oh well. It still has that great look!

Nanook, there is something about underground structures that makes them cool! The 64 World's Fair had an underground house, and while I love sunlight, it was still kind of like a neat modern Hobbit hole.

Chuck, Blogger let you through this time! So weird about earlier.

Nanook, I don't know how you car guys do it.