Cleveland of 50 years ago

The North Coast Harbor...upper left...the stadium that once (sigh!) housed the new Baltimore Browns.  Right middle...City Hall.  Just in front of City Hall, the longer Public Auditorium (don't we Clevelanders have imaginative names for everything?).  And between all the buildings, Malls A, B, and C (again, those clever, picturesque names).  All the fancy Greek architecture was put up by some dude named Van Sweringen or something...and he lost his lease on life sometime before putting up the whole show, leaving a few gaps in the master plan that, to this day, aren't filled up with much (except parked cars).  Right there where it says Society for Savings, is a big sky-scraper that now holds the headquarters of one of those really exciting, multi-state, modern big banks and eclipses the Terminal Tower (funny, I haven't found any pictures of that, but you get so used to seeing it, why would you bother to take a picture?).  Fact is, this was probably shot from the observation room *at* the Terminal Tower, which would be immediately behind your back.  A note to historians...I've only lived here 44 years, and one gray building looks pretty much like another...sorry for any imprecision identifying things.

A note on the origin of these pictures.  My father, Frank Louis (above), was an avid photographer 'way back when; also, it seems once you are born around here, you tend to stay.  Every place else seems to offer some things that are better than here, but some more that are worse, too, and it seems like you just can't make up your mind to go until centuries pass.  These negatives were carefully(?) preserved in a tin box until I discovered them in the basement a few years ago.  I found that, with the right tools (a hand scanner and a photo retouching software package), you could scan the negatives, clarify them, adjust them, and make surprisingly good lenseless digital enlargments.  Of course, they can only be seen here in cyberspace.  The larger negatives (egad) are amenable to recording on 8mm camcorder, and with another hunk of hardware, you can capture the video frames and blow them up quite nicely.  Your results may vary...different browser, different monitor, etc, and they are almost unreadable.  Almost as irrecoverable as the memories they record!


Another view from the Terminal Tower, looking East along Prospect/Huron...with the site of the new arena and ballpark generally indicated.  Knocked out a lot of stuff to put those sports things there!


Sterling Linder Davis in the summer

The premier shopping experience (Halle's, Higbee's, May's, Bailey's, Taylor's, and Federal's excepted).  This department store had an elegant atrium, pictured above, that was the site of the largest Christmas tree you would ever remember;  at the base was the best-stocked toy shop any kid in this area had ever seen.  But in these modern times, we have the same stores you do...Sears and Penneys and Walmarts...wherever you are.  The place closed about a decade after women no longer routinely purchased white gloves.  For most of my life, where you shopped defined your caste in local society, even down to the particular floor (there was always a "bargain" floor) you got the dry goods from.  A Halle's bag trumped a Higbee's bag at every trick...but Sterling Linder Davis was always the grand-slam!


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