Monday, September 04, 2006

East Madison Street, Then and Now

Here are some comparison photos of the south side of East Madison Street in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

This first photo is a postcard (der) and it was mailed in November 1910, so using my brilliant powers of deduction, this shows how East Madison Street looked in about 1910! Dirt roads, what looks like a brand new cement sidewalk (replacing those dangerous wooden sidewalks that always had people breaking legs left and right), and some horse and wagon. (Horse and wagons? Horses and wagons?)

The building labeled "Drugs" was built in 1874. Don't quote me on it, but I believe that this building includes that storefront plus the two storefronts left of it plus the section to the right of it, on the corner -- I could not find any other dates on the rest of that building, anyway, to prove otherwise.

The small section of building to the right of the white-ish building (it looks like it belongs with the large section previously mentioned, but it has slightly different brickwork) was built in 1880-something (either 1883, 1886, 1888, or 1889 -- the date is quite worn down, and I was unable to determine the last digit).

The white-ish building was built in 1896.

The next buildings beyond the gap on the left are part of the "Becken Block," which was built in 1897 by Chas. F. Becken.


Now, here is that same view (or close enough!), as seen in April 2006:

Much better roads and lighting, but the buildings are looking pretty dreary. Don't miss that storefront in the center... I know you're all thinking it, so say it with me: OMG, that shade of green! The dark green paint isn't so bad, but that bright green? Honestly! What were they thinking? And the rounded section of building at the corner is in dire need of a new paint-job. I think that sometimes, when you live and work in the town, you tend to not even notice how run-down it's starting to look.

But wait! There's more!

What follows are a series of pictures of these same buildings... from the back-side! First, a long-shot:

Now some closer-up shots:

It looks like whoever runs this red building is at least trying, so kudos to them!


This one isn't SO bad, but it still needs work.

Holy rusted metal, Batman! Does anyone even use this anymore? Does anyone even know who owns it? Has anyone looked inside of it ONCE in the past fifty years? I doubt it! Probably everyone in the 'hood just assumes that someone else on the block owns this pile of junk and wonders to themselves every day why nobody cleans it up. Gross.

I've heard it said that when Waterloo hosted their big Homecoming celebrations back in the early half of the 1900's, that the entire town got together to make everything look spiffy and clean. I'm thinking that another Homecoming is just what this town needs!