Saturday, May 04, 2019

Old Cities

I have a couple of random old scans today, from places 'round the USA.

We'll start with this 1952 photo from Central City, Colorado (pop. 663). That stone and brick edifice is the Opera House. The City of Central was founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush - you all remember that. We all went a little nutso! Everyone knows that a respectable city has to have an opera house. 

A Google street view screen grab shows the area remarkably unchanged over the last 60+ years. But times are tough - gambling was introduced in nearby Black Hawk, and was such a hit that Central City has seen the light and has now removed height restrictions on buildings in the historic districts so that they too can have giant, ugly casinos. I understand that a city can't necessarily be treated like a museum, but it's sad to think of what might become of these old neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, I'm not against gambling, it just surprises me how many people are apparently really into it! To the tune of billions of dollars a year. I'll save my money for valuable Beanie Babies, thank you very much.

I found this neat photo in a box of random old slides. Other than the fact that it is date-stamped "July 1958", I had no information. It almost feels like a colorized photo from the Civil War era. I didn't recognize the city, but there were clues. The steamship "Avalon" is near the shore, and I was trying to discern the words on the roof of that long building. Greene Line Steamers?

Well well well, if it isn't Cincinnati, Ohio! The tallest building is Carew Tower (completed in 1930). 49 stories. To the left of it is the stately Union Central Tower (now called the 4th and Vine Tower) from 1913. The building to the right with the pyramidal roof is the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company building (1929) - now the Duke Energy Building. The Greene Line Steamers structure can be clearly seen.

I also found this nice vintage color photo online, probably from the 1960's. Say, ol' Cincinnati looks like a pretty swell place!

I hope you have enjoyed these old cities.


Nanook said...


Central City looks like a real gem - and I see it's also 'respectable'-! Cincinnati is a 'pretty swell place'. I've visited there many a time. In fact, it's possible somewhere in that 4th image, I may have attended a performance of The Music Man right there on a real paddlewheel steamship, anchored in the Ohio River. You haven't experienced live theatre until you've seen it onboard a ship, when it starts 'to rockin' when the performers start dancing-!

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

Those buildings in Cincinnati with the pointed tops remind me of the Gulf Tower here in Pittsburgh - it has a similar top, but it's more like a step pyramid. The cool thing about that is that it allows it to put on a cool light display at night. It tells the weather, and each level represents a different weather category, with various colors alluding to different measurements of the category.

K. Martinez said...

The photo with the long building "Greene Line Steamers" is really nice. Love the bridge over the river and church on the hill. Of course the steamboat ads a nice touch. Very picturesque. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, your mention of The Music Man is funny, because every time I read “Central City”, my brain heard Professor Harold Hill singing those words instead of “River City”. It is true, I never saw a broadway musical on a paddlewheeler, but I did get to watch a broadway revue on a cruise ship. I bet my brother a million dollars they would sing, “Hot, Hot, Hot”, and they did. He still hasn’t paid up.

Penna Andrew, man, that building does a lot of stuff! I looked up “Gulf Tower, Pittsburgh” on Google, so I see what you mean about the resemblance. I like it when buildings have cool lighting at night, it’s just that little extra something. When I have my own skyscraper, I’m going to have it make barnyard noises. Everyone will love it!

K. Martinez, I would have loved it if I could have found a modern-day view from that same angle, but darnit, I just couldn’t. I’m sure that Cincinnati has change a TON.

JC Shannon said...

Great random pics today. I agree that gambling is kinda iffy. One could easily spend money on important necessities like Disneyland posters and ephemera or a skyway gondola for the backyard. We have a large historic district in the town where I live, so future generations can enjoy the cool old buildings. Thank you for the tour of America today Major.

Budblade said...

I’ve lived in Cincinnati most of my life and my first thought on seeing that third picture was that it looked similar to Cincinnati, but I was confused at all of the river pictures because I didn’t see the Roebling suspension bridge that opened in 1866. It was a bit of a proof of concept on suspension bridges and looks like a scaled back version of the Brooklyn bridge. It should be out of the frame to the left of all the river pictures, and was likely the spot from which the third picture was taken. The Greene line streamers operated an excursion paddle wheeler down the river to Cincinnati’s Coney Island, which was the predecessor to kings island....that was visited by the Brady bunch and GDB in an earlier post.

Budblade said...

I forgot to mention that the steamer to coney was named the “Island Queen” and the other famous steamer they operated was the “Delta Queen” which plied the Ohio River until it’s special exemption was not renewed by congress in 2008.

TokyoMagic! said...

To the left of the Opera House (in the vintage pic), there appears to be a few small pine trees in the space between the buildings. Could those be Christmas trees for sale? I guess they could have been just growing there.

Anonymous said...

Left my home town of Cincinnati in 1956 at the age of 5 with very little memories of the town...grimy, lots of brick buildings and the Ohio River flood gates. We were heading West to California and never looked back until I passed through one very rainy day in 2012. I heard the city had really cleaned itself up but unfortunately it wasn't a great day to enjoy it. :( BTW...the Delta Queen was originally a Sacramento Delta riverboat. Its twin is permanently berthed in Old Town Sacramento. KS

Anonymous said...

Major, these "old city" posts are always fun.

First, for the photos themselves, and second, for the memories of the readers.

The closest I have come is Louisville, which was my first guess, then St. Louis, so I am all wet, and in the wrong river.

Thanks everyone for the Cincinnati stories.