Tuesday, March 16, 2021

North Main Street

Of the four streets that cross the river in Oshkosh the only one with the same name on both sides is Main Street.  It's where the first bridge across the Fox was built and was part of the main commercial route from Milwaukee to Green Bay until the 1950’s. I live a block west, on the north side on the 1500 block.

I avoid Main Street on my bicycle but I drive down it a couple times a month. A few times a year I end up walking that way, going downtown to pick up or drop off a bicycle.

I don’t intend this to be representative of North Main Street. I just picked the things I thought would make interesting photographs.

Beck’s Meats has been a butcher shop since some time mid-century, but this family has only run it since 1996. This isn’t the only business in town with a sign specifying ho-made products.

It’s been a while since anyone used one of those dot-matrix banner-making programs so this business has been here for some time. I’m pretty sure the sign is supposed to say Custom Wood Fabrication. Most of the samples are wood containers but I think I’ve seen a banjo and a cello case in there. I wonder if they could make the Evil Cube out of wood?

In beforetimes, lunch at Pilora’s was our most common outing to a restaurant. 

Ju’s is a tailor and dry cleaner operated by one woman, in her home, for thirty-six years.

Becker’s Music focuses on sheet music and rental of band instruments although they usually have about three electric guitars in stock.

After taking the picture of Becker’s, I put the camera in my backpack and collapsed the tripod and attached it to the bike rack. I then looked up and decided Crosby’s Dance Studio had some visual interest and had to immediately reverse the process.

I’ve been trying not to say that parts of North Main look pretty bleak. It’s hard to miss on the east side of the 600 block. There’s two bars on the north corner and a Burger King and a sports bar on the south, but in between it’s pretty empty. This building was a tire store and auto repair until just after the pandemic started. I bought a tail lamp bulb for our Taurus here in the 90s. Just before everything shut down, I was going to take a photograph here because they had a Studebaker Silver Hawk parked in their lot and were selling a 1973 Beetle exactly like my first new car but I never got around to it.

The west side of that block is pretty busy. This is the lot for the new UHaul depot behind a household rental and gun store, protected by a row of alternating yellow and black bollards. There are quite a few parking lots downtown.

During the heyday of wood manufacturing, Oshkosh was a pretty big deal place, the second biggest city in the state. All those parking lots were full of buildings, many of them huge William Waters’ romanesque monuments like the Post Office, City Hall, The Athearn Hotel and the Courthouse. It must have had a bigger city look then.

The Mello Ice Cream Company Building is one of the survivors. It wasn’t built until 1931. It’s gone through a succession of quirky little shops and is now a Yoga Studio. For a few years there was new age gift shop in there. The owner used to organize drum circles during the Farmers’ Market, held in the street on this block and the next.

The Oshkosh Saturday Farmers’ Market Headquarters is in an old used car lot. 

The Raulf Hotel was a pretty posh place in the 30s through the 70s. Now it’s owned by the Oshkosh Public Housing Authority. The first floor retail space includes a fancy dog groomer which gives it a bit of class.

The Oshkosh Convention and Visitor Center is across the street from the Convention Center itself. I used to go in there to get state and city maps to keep in the car.

With the 35, 45 and 100mm fronts on the 6x6cm Variable Cuboid. Ilford Delta 100 semi-stand developed in Rodinal 1:100. 

1 comment:

  1. Great images, Nick; your work is getting better all the time.