Sunday, August 24, 2008
One building, different eras
Here's a 1952 shot of Saginaw Street taken from the second story of Baker's Drug Store looking south. The old Vogue store, which later became the second home of The Copa, is the last light-colored building on the right.
If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see two giraffe heads poking over the construction scaffolding in front of the Vogue, as well as the sign for Robinson's clothing store.
Notice the trolleybus, perhaps built by ACF Brill, rolling along on juice from the overhead wires. Detroit had similar trolleys, which were eventually sold to Mexico City. After all, who needs electric-powered public transit when you can use gas?
My mom remembers that a favorite prank of the boys at Central High School was to jump on the back of the trolleybus, hit the support wires that ran down below the back window, and disconnect the big arms on top from the power lines. The boys would then "run like hell" while the driver got out to reconnect to the overhead lines and the passengers sat and waited.
Another thing she remembers about Flint is the sheer number of people who were on the streets. The photo gives you a sense of the heavy foot traffic downtown in those days. People are spilling off the sidewalks and into the brick street.
The old Vogue store was recently torn down — with no immediate plans to replace it with anything — offering a lonely view of the Capitol Theater from Saginaw Street. Uncle Bob's Diner used to sit near the trees to the left of the theater, if I remember correctly, and James Incorporated clothing store resided in the lower level of the theater building.
A special thanks to the photographers: The 1952 photo is by Mary Fisher. The shot of the partially torn down Vogue store is by Becky Pettengill. And the shot of the Capitol and the rubble is by Grumkin.