Tuesday, July 1, 2014

lst of 12 Transforming Davis Color Photos: G Street 200s Circa ’60 (156)

This is the first of twelve posts reporting recently discovered color photos of major Davis business locations taken in the “transforming” period of Davis history. The context of the photos is explained in DHT post number 155, “Twelve Color Photos of ‘50s-‘70s Transforming Davis: Series Introduction.” 
1. G St. 200s Looking East Circa '60
In the photo book Davis 1910s-40s, about a dozen black and white pictures showing at least parts of G Street between 2nd and 3rd streets are presented.

This block is featured for the good reason that it was the center of--and pretty much all of-- the Davis business district from village founding in 1868 to after World War II.
2. '60s Views & Today

These assorted 200s block images might seem to show a quaint and well-maintained old-fashioned downtown main street. The images numbered 6 and 7 reproduced from that book suggest these qualities.

The first of the twelve newly discovered color snapshots of Davis public areas--taken about 1960--begins to tell a different story, one of creeping and even creepy postwar blight.

This is seen, I think, in the entire photo (number 1), but especially so in the enlargements of the image’s left, middle and right segments, here labeled 3, 4, and 5.

The wide view shows that there are two empty lots on the east side of G Street and the scene is uninvitingly bleak, in my view.

The three enlargement segments reveal ill-maintained businesses and even a seemingly empty building on the far right (image 5).

It was not until I looked at this photo that I  began vividly to understand what local business people after World War II were saying about the downtown being a problem. This is a block in clear decline.

The second image in this pair--the subject of the next post--shows how Davis movers and shakers had responded to this decline by the mid-‘60s.

3. Left Detail
4. Center Detail
5. Right Detail