South Bend’s Main Street isn’t the city’s main street. Michigan Street is, one block to the east.
One block of Main Street is paved in brick. I suppose many other blocks were, too, but they were paved over with asphalt at some time.
My brother had an apartment on this block back in the 1990s. Memorial Hospital, which you see in the distance in this photo, was buying out all of the other property owners on this block so they could raze the houses and pave a parking lot. Rick’s landlord, who lived upstairs in the two-story house, would have none of it. He made the hospital wait until he died to get his property. That was long after Rick moved away.
I don’t remember now whether the house still stood when I made this photo, but I remember a time when it and one other house were all that still stood on this block.
Today I begin a “single frame” series on brick streets and highways. As bicycles and automobiles created a thirst for hard-surfaced “good roads” in the early 20th century, brick was one of the surfaces tried. The brick era ended by about 1930; asphalt and, to a far lesser extent, concrete won the contest. Except for some modern brick streets built largely for aesthetic reasons, when you find a brick road, it is 90+ years old.
My hometown of South Bend has a large number of brick streets in its core. The main roads were all paved in asphalt decades ago, often right over the original brick. You’ll still find brick only on the side streets.
My mom grew up on one of South Bend’s brick streets, in a large house just north of downtown. My brother had an apartment for a while on the one block of Main St. that’s still brick.
As a kid, I didn’t enjoy riding on the brick streets. They rumbled the car so! I don’t mind them at all today. What I’ve found as I’ve explored the midwest’s old roads is that South Bend’s brick streets are especially rumbly. Some of the brick roads I’ve driven on are as smooth as concrete or asphalt.
This is Cushing St., on South Bend’s northwest side. I made this photo from its intersection with Lincolnway West — the old Lincoln Highway, which in South Bend was routed along the old Michigan Road.
Randolph Street at night in December Canon PowerShot S95 2017
A couple weeks before Christmas, Margaret and I had another Chicago getaway weekend. These weekends away are good for our spirits. We stayed in a boutique hotel on Randolph Street, four blocks from the former Marshall Field’s department store and two from the annual Christkindlmarkt. It was a perfect location.
We saw the Nutcracker, put on by the Joffrey Ballet. Walking back to our hotel after the show, when we finally reached Randolph Street and Daley Plaza we were greeted by the trees all lit.
Walking along downtown Chicago’s Wabash Ave. at night, the Trump hotel across the Chicago River was impossible to ignore thanks to the giant letters on its face. It was an ominous presence on this misty night.
Twenty years ago my neighbors were bakers. They made breads, pastries, and cookies for a popular deli at 56th and Illinois Streets here in Indianapolis. They brought unsold products home and gave a lot of it to us. They’d call and say simply, “Meet us at the fence.” Such sweet words! They made a flat-out wonderful challah bread that never sold well. For years we hardly bought a loaf of bread, so much challah did they give us!
I never actually visited their deli. Never once drove over to that neighborhood. It’s an easy drive from where we lived, and there were and are lots of other little shops and restaurants over there. Plenty of reasons to go! Yet it wasn’t until I went looking for subjects for my old cameras that I finally visited.
I’m not always clear on where one Indianapolis neighborhood begins and another one ends. I think this area is part of the larger Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, or perhaps it only borders it to the north. Either way, it’s a neighborhood of lovely older homes that stretch for blocks in all directions.
The Indiana Central Canal flows past this neighborhood and forms its northwest border. A concrete-arch bridge carries Illinois Street over it. This bridge is noteworthy for having been designed by Daniel Luten, who patented a particular kind of arch used in bridges his various firms constructed. Today Luten-arch bridges are considered worthy of preservation, and many are on the National Register of Historic Places. This one is not on the Register, but it is considered eligible. It was probably built in the early 1920s.
But the star of the show is the business district. Looking back through my images, it looks like I’ve photographed Kincaid’s meat market more than anything else. It’s an old-fashioned butcher shop — take a number, wait, ask for what you want from the counter, wait while they wrap it up for you. They’ll custom cut anything you want. You know, like every meat counter used to.
Many of the businesses here have been there for decades. A few have closed during the years I’ve lived here. But this strip never seems to have trouble attracting tenants.
The business district provides many opportunities to move close to details.
Another shot I make over and over again is of the northeast corner of these two streets. I love the scene.
There’s plenty I’ve still not photographed here, including that deli! Of all the places I’m leaving behind as I move, this is one I feel like I’ll still come visit. There’s no butcher shop like Kincaid’s in Zionsville!
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