Saturday, March 16, 2024

I Love a Parade

There's just something about a home-town parade. They used to have an annual parade in the town where I spent my high school years, but it went the way of the dodo a long time ago. But I can still enjoy old photos of other parades!

This first image is from November, 1977, so perhaps it was a Veteran's Day parade? I was having some trouble figuring out where this picture was taken (I thought it might be Calgary, Ontario) , until I saw the Hotel Fontenelle in the distance (you can just read the sign beneath that kooky tower to the left). That means that this is Omaha, Nebraska!

I tried to find a contemporary view using Google Maps - the previous parade went along South 18th Street. Boy oh boy, does it look different! In the distance you can still see the"Century Link" telecommunications center tower, though it is now dwarfed by many taller buildings.

Next, we are in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I've seen lots of photos of parades along the A.C. boardwalk, so I can only assume that they were a daily occurrence. Or perhaps they did them often during the tourist season. However, the overcoats on the folks in the background tell me that it was a chilly day. I love the "classic Americana" feeling of this photo.

And finally, here's a photo of a military parade, from a slide labeled "1955 Stockton" (that's in California). "I don't know but I've been told - Otter Pops are mighty cold!". I tried pinpointing this location using obvious clues such as Martinson and Dervin Army Surplus, or the ABC Hotel (in the distance), but had no success. But I didn't cry! Much.


Nanook said...

The billboard in the 3rd image shows a 1956 Chevrolet, with the copy declaring: Chevrolet... now hotter for '56 That might be nice on a cold day; I'm a bit uncertain how that 'feature' is a plus during hot weather...

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Hmm, looks like the main difference between Omaha in '77 and Omaha now is, Omaha in '77 was a vibrant place. Omaha now, while nice-looking, appears to be dead. There is a paucity of cars and people. Or is that just Google being Google?

Nanook, that Chevrolet billboard looks like it says "1954" to me(?) Could that car be a '54 model? And the lighting tells us that it's either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

In the last pic, there is someone on the roof above the yellow and red bus with a camera tripod. I wonder if he's from a local TV station? The Army uniforms look... drab ;-) They should be more colorful, like the ladies off to the right. Some of those ladies look like they are wearing old-style nurses hats.

Thanks for putting on these parades just for us, Major.

Chuck said...

Happy St. Patrick’s Eve, everyone! I hope you had a pastry-perfect Pi Day and avoided those backstabbing co-workers who want your job on the Ides of March.

While I lived there 20 years later, that is still recognizable as Douglas Street in Omaha. It’s also US Route 6, and it was kind of fun to realize that my dad grew up and my parents went to high school and were married on that same street (albeit in NW Ohio). In the rear right, you can see the old Union Pacific HQ building (look for the “Union” on the roof). It was torn down in 2008. The new HQ, Union Pacific Center, opened in 2004 across the street, about where the Avis sign is visible behind the Army Reserve static display.

According to the 1955 Stockton Phone Book, Martinson & Dervin Army Surplus was located at 7 W. Weber Street (oddly, the ABC Hotel is not listed). This area has undergone significant redevelopment over the years; all of the buildings visible in this shot were turned into vacant or parking lots by 1967. That, in turn, was followed by more development that saw the construction of a Howard Johnson’s (now a Hotel 6) on the site of Martinson & Dervin by 1982 and the Stewart-Eberhardt Building, home of the City of Stockton Public Works Department, on the site of the ABC Hotel sign by 2002 (researched via Historic Aerials, enter “37.9535259, -121.2914686” in the box where it says “geo coordinates or street address”). Here’s what that intersection looks like today. In a perfect example of how a camera angle can mislead the viewer, this isn’t all a densely-packed urban landscape. There is actually a substantial lake that connects to the San Joaquin River behind where the photographer is standing.

Thanks again, Major!

JG said...

I see there was a Hilton in Omaha as well as the Hotel Fontanelle. Downtown historic hotels went into the valley in the 70’s and many were lost. I hope the Fontanelle is still going. I like the wall graphic of shirts and ties.

Two beautiful buildings in Atlantic City, so much detail and decoration, but still tasteful. Better than a parking garage. And who can resist pretty girls with firearms?

The Stockton Parade is very appropriate, soldiers marching outside the Army Surplus shop. If they forgot anything, it’s easy to run in and pick up a replacement. Stockton used to be on one of my routes, but I never saw downtown, just “strip city” between freeways.

I’ll bet the ABC Hotel was named to appear first in the Yellow Pages.

Chuck, thank you for the research, and Major for the photos!


Chuck said...

JG, sadly, the Fontenelle checked out its last guests in 1971 and was torn down in 1983. But the Hilton survives as a Doubletree by Hilton (having been eclipsed by a newer Hilton connected to the Convention Center by a skywalk).

K. Martinez said...

The military parade pic with the Martinson & Dervin Army Surplus building is great. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the good thing about a hot car is that you can cook a frozen pizza while driving. Think about it.

JB, in almost all cases, photos of cities from 40 or 50 years ago appear to be vibrant places where it would be nice to live and work, and modern photos look kind of sterile and depressing. That contemporary Omaha photo looks like a scene from “The Omega Man”. “The Omaha Man”?? I saw that guy on the roof in the third photo, it does seem likely that he was working for the local news station. I hope he had a zoom lens, or else those marchers were going to look like ants.

Chuck, clues like the Hilton, the Woolworth’s, and the “Union” building didn’t help me much, they were a bit generic. I was lucky that the sign on the Hotel Fontanelle was legible. Though perhaps you would have figured it out anyway! I never thought to look for old phone books on the Interwebs, what a good idea! Boy, that part of Stockton sure has changed, you can’t hardly tell that it is the same place. I sure love it when they tear down buildings and leave a vacant lot! Thank you for figuring out the exact location!

JG, sadly, the Hotel Fontenelle was demolished in 1983. The site is now a parking lot, hooray! I’ve seen so many photos of parades on the Atlantic City Boardwalk that I wonder if they were a daily occurrence? I would think that at least in the peak summer season they might have regular parades, but I’ve seen at least one photo of a parade in what appears to be icy cold winter. I’ll bet the ABC Hotel was mad when the Aardvark Hotel opened.

Chuck, hey, we did the same research! Well, OK, you probably did more thorough research, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that I have some delicious candy.

K. Martinez, nobody laughed at my “Otter Pops” joke though. So much for my career writing jokes for The Academy Awards.

JB said...

Chuck, thanks for the 'then, and now' link. About the only similarity I can see between them is the streetlamp on the corner of the intersection... And it's not even the same one!

Major, and then the Aardvark Hotel was mad when the AAA Hotel opened.
And your "Otter Pops" marching song made me smile. (Even though I didn't mention it. So there's still hope for your Oscars joke-writing career!)

Nanook said...

@ JB-
It's not necessary to read the copy to clearly see that Chevrolet is a 1956 model year. So, barring a HUGE, blunder on the part of the advertising/marketing department(s) or a bit of clairvoyance - 1956 it is.

JB said...

^ Still looks like a "4" to me. ;-) Only a time machine will solve this life-and-death dispute!

Chuck said...

JB, I’m on it.