In the long-ago earlier life, my wife and I moved to Houston, Texas, in 1980. The big city! There was so much to see and explore!
Having a real job and some income, I bought a used Rolleiflex 3.5E camera at Southside Camera Center (long gone). What do you do with your first medium format camera? Well, start looking for interesting urban decay topics. Back then, Houston was full of grunge and decay. (Some critics say Houston is still full of grunge, but we better not go there this time.) As you long-term readers can see, I have been doing this decay topic for a long time.
|My 1956 Rolleiflex 3.5E camera with 75mm ƒ/3.5 Xenotar lens (with fantastic resolution) - why did I stupidly sell it when I though digital might be the next great thing?|
Washington Avenue runs approximately east-west out of downtown Houston, Texas, through the former Sixth Ward. Washington Avenues in US cities are typically older streets that run through well-established and often run-down neighborhoods. This one fit the pattern in 1981. Here are some samples. Please click any frame to see it enlarged.
|Turney Motor Company occupied a 1920s gas station building. You could drive a Chevrolet Nova for $35/week - it says so!|
|Houston Junk, now possibly Rose Recycling on Center Street|
|Time for a 50¢ beer, corner of Center and National Streets|
|Historic 1872 Glenwood Cemetery, an oasis of green and peace in the city|
|June 1980 view of Houston from Glenwood Cemetery (Kodak Panatomic-X film, Nikkormat camera, 28mm ƒ/3.5 lens)|
|Early 20th century brick commercial building, 1722 Washington Avenue |
|Early 20th century wood cottages Washington Avenue.|
|This handsome old fire station is still extant|
|Gent with his laundry, 1712 Washington Avenue|
This is another example of an early-20th century commercial building. Note the formerly handsome tall arched windows. The lower floor had ventilation transoms.
I took these photographs on 120-size Kodak Vericolor II Film with my Rolleiflex on September 5, 1981. The colors are a bit muted, but all in all, the film survived the decades quite well. In those days, you could buy 120 film in many camera stores, but professional emulsions, like Vericolor II, came from larger stores with a film refrigerator. This roll probably came from Southside Camera Center on Bellaire Blvd.
Thank you for joining me for this look back to 1981. I also wrote about Main Street in 1982 (click the link).