Seeing And Living Changes
What's not in the photograph
The photos chosen for Accidental History: Photographs of Westerville are all taken in the last 11 years. I have more than 11 years of photos in Westerville but these were the most easily accessed and transferred to the History Museum for curation and printing.
This photo was taken during Midnight Madness, on October 27, 2017, just over five years ago making it a part of the history of Westerville. But looking at the photo can tell you a few other things.
It’s a stitched panorama made from four photos, a piece of each was used to make the final photo. I cropped it on the edges to move interest to the center of the frame. All the editing was done in Photoshop.
There are at least two visually historic aspects to this photo.
The old Presbyterian church office, the blue building at the top right, was demolished to make way for an extension of the city hall parking lot. The building had fallen into disrepair and restoring it for office space was more than the value of the building and property.
West College Street is open to traffic behind the crowd gathered in the street. Five years ago was a simpler time before it became dangerous to have open access to street festivals. State Sreet and all cross streets during Fourth Friday and Midnight Madness now have city vehicles blocking the roadway to help prevent cars from driving into crowds.
Also gone and not shown in this photo is the “Book Harbor” building on West College just across the street from the church office. I was demolished about a year ago to make way for offices and apartments.
Mario had not yet installed overhead lights over the patio of Jimmy V’s.
Most of the dancers in this photo have graduated and moved on to the next phase of their life.
It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to shoot a similar photo again. The Cockerell Building has new owners who upgraded the apartments on the second floor. When completed they installed a security system requiring a passcode to get access to the upstairs and to the fire escape where I shot this photo.
It’s easy to lament changes, especially when they are personal, when they are easily noticed in our daily lives. Houses demolished to make way for parking lots and apartments. Increased security around our normal activities. When it seems there are more losses than gains. When it happens so fast you miss it until it’s too late.
It’s always been that way, not just now.
Had a conversation today with a man about the railroad tracks across State Street and how my bike tire got caught between the tracks and the street and tossed me to the ground. Glad the tracks are no longer there and are now a bike path.
Talked with a man who has a letterpress printer stored in his collection and how important printing once was to Westerville.
Talked apple orchards with a farmer who knew of a time when orchards were a mainstay of agriculture in Westerville. Most of those tracts are now homes and schools.
We are living and working in places that previous generations enjoyed as country living. Open spaces, farmland, orchards, fewer homes, more barns, beef cattle, dairy cattle, horse hitches, mud streets, log cabins, and no modern medicine.
Now we’ve paved asphalt over brick streets, built homes every 1/2 acre or less, shop grocery stores at every major intersection of the city, multiple $3-a-cup coffee shops, two- or more car families, three high schools oddly named for their locations, and alcohol carried on the streets of Uptown. Let me repeat, alcohol on the streets of Uptown.
That’s history and historical changes.
My photographs are being donated to the Westerville History Museum to help build a record of the city, one photo at a time.
I urge you to contact the museum to make plans to add your photos to the historical record. You are part of the history of Westerville and can help make it a complete record for the next generation.
Editor’s Note: The date for my event at the Westerville History Museum is Friday, January 27, 2023. The previous newsletter had the correct day and wrong date.