9.15.2014

Classic Kodachrome Monday #11


Every Monday, I'll be spotlighting a different classic Kodachrome slide that I've picked up, and trying where I can to detail the who, what, when, where, why, and how (much) of the image:

This Week:

What: Street scene with lots of imagery.


Why: Because it's a street scene with lots of imagery.  More seriously though, this was the jaw dropper of a group of 150 slides I picked up in a case lot on ebay.  In looking at the listing, I could see that the color in the slides for sale (mostly nature shots) had remained remarkably true despite being from the 1940's.  I took a chance despite the subject matter being outside of my usual collector genre in hopes there may be a few images more urban in nature.  This one was definitely the "money shot" of the group to me, complete with an inviting sunlit setting filled with classic cars, neon signs, and historic architecture.    

When: This vivid photo dates to the Summer of 1948 based upon the box the group arrived in.

Where: Calgary, AB. I knew I needed help on this one pretty early on, as it was the only slide like it in an entire batch labeled "Boston to Vancouver 1948." Aside from this, the only clue offered by any other slides in the batch were some clearly showing this trip being made by train on the Canadian National.  Lacking much of any knowledge of Canadian cities, I enlisted the help of my friend Dave, who, within a morning, was able to pinpoint the location based on the aforementioned clues as well as the visual clues in the photo itself.  Using some vintage postcard images found on the University of Alberta's website, he spotted the telltale steeple, as well part of the Hotel York sign, and was able to discern the image to be looking north on Centre Ave. from 9th Ave in Calgary.  In looking at old maps, this makes perfect sense for the image, as it is precisely where the CP Depot used to be, leading me to believe it was snapped during a service layover on the transcontinental trip!  Further, the "9 A" visible on the partially obscured pole at right almost certainly reads "9 AVE"


Looking at the Google Street View of the same location today, one can make out little to tie this image to its current location.  However, due to the extreme wide angle of the Google camera, one has to set about doing some "exploring" to find the clues extant today.

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Travelling one block north to 8th Avenue, one is greeted by the same building with the rounded windows that can be spotted above the green car dominant in the image from 1948.

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And a view two blocks further north at 6th Avenue shows the last prominent and discernable building on the horizon in the 1948 image, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

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Who: While no one in the image is at all recognizable, there is a name prominent that I had hoped would lend some help in determining the location, that of Harry McConachie.  Interestingly, for all the promotion about Harry here that would lead me to believe his name should be a household word, the internet only provides some vague clues to his prominence.  He is featured in a 1954 image making an annual appearance at a Curling tournament, and another reference is made to him being in a bonspiel of 1941, but little else in the way of substantive clues tying him to Calgary in such a popular fashion exist.  

How (much): As mentioned earlier, this was the pick of the litter from a lot of about 150 original slides in a set I picked off of ebay.  Most of these shots were of nature, with maybe 10 showing some sort of context of the era.  Given that I paid $30 for the lot, one could say I paid $3 for this slide, though the nature shots were admittedly amazing as well, and gave me further appreciation for both Kodachrome as well as the photographers who could make some exceptional images from it.  Further, I turned around an sold one of the images of the lot on ebay for more than I got the entire lot for, so in that respect, this photo and all that came with it, were free!