2007-05-11 / Columnists

An Image Of Central Avenue Way Out Northwest

Commentary From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

At the latest postcard bourse, and having completed my search for postcards of the Rockaways, I began to look through many unsorted cards held by dealers for collectors with patience!!

At times I have found cards of the Rockaways in these mixed-up boxes, so to speak, and I began to look forward to the intrigue. I could almost hear the Rockaway cards calling out in muffled tones (from being squeezed in the long boxes), "Yoo hoo! I'm here!!"

Once in awhile, and literally speaking this time, you will hear that famous little voice in you speak out and move you to check out a subject unknown to you, and voila! How did this Rockaway card get in this box? Honest, folks, it does happen, and has probably happened to you at times!

Now, as I fingered my way through this box of unsorted real photos, the one appearing in Views today set off many bells in my head! I remarked to myself, Wow, this looks like Central Avenue in the old days. There was the cobble stone and Belgian block-covered street, the single trolley track going from Central and Mott Avenues down to Cornaga Avenue and beyond to Brookhaven Avenue. The street sprinkler, which consisted of a giant wooden barrel on wheels with a sprayhead on same, and going the opposite way to all other traffic, was wetting down the dried out horse manure on the ground so the wind would not blow it around. The next time you breathe in vehicle exhaust, think of this awaiting your nostrils! A few bicycles are seen on the sidewalk, and many stores line both sides of the avenue. Many flags and buntings are displayed and this photo was probably taken on or near the Fourth of July, at a time when our citizens were patriotic!

But when I turned over the card, after devouring the picture totally, yours truly got a shock! The postmark read…Centralia, Washington…1913.

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