Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Praise of Alleys..

I think,in general,alleys tend to get a pretty bad rap.
Alley cats,..Tornado alley,..like that.
But I've always been fond of them.
Not just as handy escape routes shortcuts through town,but for the fact that by their largely unattended nature,they can often give us a nostalgic glimpse into times past.

Shortly after the world became round,O-Town thrived as the center of gold mining operations in the Feather River valley.
Grizzled prospectors would stumble into town in order to stock up on supplies,raise a little hell,and solve crimes.
By neglect and design,one small well-trodden passage upon which these pioneers navigated our bustling hamlet,has been more or less preserved in O-Town's historic 'Miners Alley'..





The Birdcage theater is still in operation..I wish they hadn't dressed up the back stage entrance,but what'cha gonna do?..


This is more like it!..Even a task as mundane as bricking over a window,was worth giving a little artistic flair by the 19th century mason assigned to the task.


Long shots were a little hard to come by,what with it being an alley and all..


..But this one is very representative of the architecture of the day.
I can imagine the miners conducting their official business downstairs,before heading upstairs to conduct business of a different sort.


This is a favorite of mine.
'Eats..Beer & Liquor'..
Don't confuse the '1966' with the year it was built,..it's the address.


I suppose I can understand the original intention behind the two murals in the alley.
They may very well represent some typical activities of the era,but I can't help feeling that they just end up detracting from the historical flavor of the place,which is best left on the palate of the traveler.




Of course,there's always the possibility of encountering unsavory characters when exploring dark neighborhood alleys,..but I figure anyone that runs into me,can take their chances like everyone else..


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15 Comments:

At 4:41 PM , Blogger jan said...

"Eats, Beer, and Liquor" You don't get straightforward signage like that any more.

 
At 5:26 PM , Blogger booda baby said...

Oooh. Alleys. I want to say they're bastions for people who know why alleys are the best routes, but they're not bastions at all, are they? They're ... alleys. Don't you love that, that alleys don't really have a better analogy or whatever those things are?

Those are great shots of great preservation. Too bad about them trying to Disney-fy it up. hmph.

 
At 5:53 PM , Blogger secret agent woman said...

I especially like that bricked-over window shot.

 
At 7:08 PM , Blogger Random Thinker said...

Old is so much more interesting than new. Contrary to popular opinion.

 
At 8:14 PM , Blogger YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

west is planning on painting czech murals on the alleys of our main streets..where the old bars and hang outs were..and they are keeping the adverts that were painted on the brick buildings...i love alleys..i drive up and down them when i go to old corner drug and to caritas..i can come out of the alley and go eitehr way and find a parking space.. i love these pictures..reminds me to go take the pictures of the rest of west that i promised.

 
At 8:50 PM , Blogger Sling said...

Jan- Back then they had to keep it simple,because folks weren't all that ejumacated.

Booda Babe- Bastions are the impenetrable fortifications of the rich and powerful!..Alleys are the easy way in and out.
And yes,I could do without the Disneyesque intrusions. :)

Secret Agent Woman- Who knows what clandestine activities those bricks were meant to conceal?
After some consideration,I think they may have been installed during prohibition,but I just don't know.

Thinker- I like old,it's solid and dependable.
New almost always needs to be plugged in before it works.

Yellerdawg- Ah!..A fellow alley cat! ;)
I would suggest they keep the murals confined to the street side of the entrance and exit,..but that's just me.

 
At 11:37 PM , Blogger Willym said...

I love those old adverts painted on the sides of the buildings. And I love alleys - of course I live in a city where alleys could be easily confused for streets.

 
At 6:42 AM , Blogger Sling said...

Willym- I was thinking about where you live when I was writing this.
Many places in Germany are the same way(but you knew that)..You can drive down the street,and knock on people's front door from your vehicle.

 
At 8:17 AM , Blogger billy pilgrim said...

it seems everytime i watch a cop show the crooks toss their guns into a dumpster in an alley.

the sweet smell of urine wafts through lots of our alleys.

 
At 8:45 AM , Blogger sageweb said...

Love the pictures..very nice. I have always been an alley lover. they have so much character.

 
At 11:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:49 AM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Great pictures! :) I love the Eats - Beer and Liquor sign.

Well, you know Iwanski and I love alleys--a Chicago alley walk that we took a few months or so ago was fun. :) I'm glad that we're not the only weird "alley stalkers" in the world! *smiles*

 
At 1:54 PM , Blogger rosemary said...

Alhambra where I grew up is filled with alleys....still. I used them to get everywhere....bicycling then driving and walking too. A lot of the old buildings had cool garages along the alleys. i liked to look in them when I was a kid.

 
At 2:03 PM , Blogger Middle Child said...

Sling, did you ever see the Deadwood series? It was a favourite of ours for some reason - life may have been simpler but it was a lot shorter for some - great photos - I should take my own camera walkabout - I forget to take it with me,but you get so many interesting shots from just taking it with you

 
At 5:19 PM , Blogger austexgrl said...

Goodness, I am ready to RE-LOCATE!!

 

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