Friday, July 24, 2009

Mixed Medium

If you drive past the corner of Mission and Fremont, you'll notice a huge corner lot that has been fenced in, tarped up and plastered with For Sale signs for as long as anyone can remember. If you park your car, walk over and pull back the plastic to peek through the chain link, you'll see a big dirt hole with weeds and a few forgotten objects. In reality, it looks like construction was halted on a project at some point after bulldozers had started digging for an underground parking structure.

But in a photographer's fantasy, it looks like a still life arranged by Andrew Wyeth.

32 comments:

Cafe Observer said...

It's fascinating to be able to go back in time by looking at this old photo and see what the area was in primitive pre-So Pasa times. Before development ruined it all.

Mister Earl said...

Great photo of the Old West, Laurie.

Back in pre-historic times it was a Mobil gas station. Not that long ago really. That intersection once housed 3 gas stations and a restaurant. The Chevron station at the SW corner, and the Mobil station at the SE corner are now gone, and the Shell station at the NE corner is now a Chevron station. The restaurant remains. The previous Chevron station was run by a friendly lady, and they also did repairs. Haven't thought of them in a long time. The Mobil station was good, too, and had a nice snack shop.

Judy Williams said...

It is as if a giant hand just dropped all of these things like Monopoly pieces, to fall where they may. I rather like the abstractness of it all. I was particularly struck by the golden color.

Wayne said...

In a word, it looks parched.

WV is achropse, not enough letters for parched but close.

Margaret said...

It does look like Andrew Wyeth! Very cool.

alex said...

Wow, who knew that empty lot could look so rustic through the proper lens? I do remember the time when it was a Mobil Station (though I'm apparently too young to recall the old Chevron; it's been a lot for selling pumpkins in October ever since I could remember). I'm pretty sure once the economy rebounds, this little piece of Mayberry will be snapped up and built on.

TheChieftess said...

I'm still laughing at Mister Earl's "back in prehistoric times it was a Mobil gas station"!!! Laurie...only you can make a vacant corner lot into something romantic and mysterious!!! Love it!!!

Petrea said...

It seems like the "crash of 2009" happened so quickly that it took a lot of construction projects by surprise. Many a field lies fallow. Would that they all looked like art.

dbdubya said...

The Mobil Station Mr. Earl described closed about 5 years ago. The property sold and a developer planned a mixed-use retail/residential building with underground parking. Money ran out and it went up for sale. Rumor has it the property sold and the project has been resurrected, although nothing's happened in the few months since that supposedly happened.

WV: blessi - a spiritual cow

Trish said...

ditto what earl and db said...tho there was a gal at the Mobil station for a while after chevron closed...big gal, blonde, nice as could be but I wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley or if she were drunk! She's always wash my windows and check the oil if I wanted, even at self serve...I suspect ulterior motives on her part...but that's ok.

restaurant has been a carrows for, uhm, well, lets see, at least back into the 80's...not that I've ever been there.

Mister Earl said...

The Chevron station's been gone for 10-15 years, and as Alex said, it's been a pumpkin and Christmas tree lot since then. No one's done anything with it.

Remember the gas crisis of 1975 where people were waiting in lines to get gas for hours, paying people to sit in their cars for them? Since then, they keep taking away more an more gas stations. If we ever have another gas crisis, forget about it. I've never understood why the government does not appear concerned at the loss of filling stations.

WV: vatout - as in no gas.

dbdubya said...

And even and odd days where you could only buy gas if the last number on your license plate was even or odd and matched the day of the month. Horrible times.

TheChieftess said...

I remember those gas lines...and back then, gas was only 23 cents a gallon...my VW could fill up on a couple of bucks!!! Mr. Earl, I also find it interesting to see so many gas stations go out of business and no one blinks an eye, and yet there are no gas lines and no even/odd days...and more traffic than we ever thought possible!!! Me thinks there just might be a great conspiracy theory here!!!!
BTW...anyone remember what started the gas crisis/lines/odd-even???

Double "D" said...

All that's missing is Christina and the old farm house.
I miss Andrew Wyeth. I would be thrilled if I were half as good. A wonderful complicated man.

Great photo and thought starter Laurie.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I wonder why it remains vacant all this time?
Is the owner crazy?
Sure the economy isn't the best right now. But, it appears So Pasa is economically strong enuf to support at least one more "good" bizness. Or, maybe I'm mistaken on the current economic health of the city/residents despite the lot appearing to be a good location.

dbdubya said...

It's not the economy in the city, it's the availbility of financing. South Pasadena's redevelopment project, about 7 years in the making, is falling apart because the partner who was providing the funding backed out. Banks still aren't lending money which has hurt development all over, regardless of how well residents and cities are doing.

21st century Hobo said...

Interesting discussion on the history of this vacant lot, and as a metaphor for the economic problems facing your city.

Your photos & narrative dance together well.

Laurie said...

DB, so the South Pas redevelopment that ended up being voted on last year has fallen through? Wow, that's a shame. I wondered why the planning signs were taken down by the site, next to the Dynasty Iron Doors building. (That is now vacant. Sigh.)

Laurie said...

Double D, I love your paintings. Different than Wyeth, but I don't think Wyeth could paint your subjects with the same joy. Part of Wyeth's charm, to me at least, was the fact that everything looked like it was filtered through the mind of a chronic depressive. I have no idea if he WAS depressed -- I've never studied him personally -- but I find his images to be more than just stark. They seem lost and sad. Maybe it's just me.

Laurie said...

Welcome, 21st Century Hobo! Thank you for your kind words.

Mister Earl said...

But the economy doesn't explain the lack of development of the SW corner that has been vacant 10-15 years, does it?

dbdubya said...

The redevelopment project is not dead, Laurie, but it's on life support and I think they're waiting for the family to authorize pulling the plug. Theoretically, it could be resurrected, but it needs a lender and they have all gone underground.

Mr. Earl - Apparently the owner of the lot at the southwest corner of Mission and Fremont has been content with the lot being rented out as a pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot, and as a base camp for filming. But I've noticed a for sale sign, so maybe he is ready to sell. That would be nice since it's an eyesore in its current state.

Dixie Jane said...

Christina's World gone bad. It does look like a desolate Andrew Wyeth painting but the straw color has its charm. I had the privilege of seeing one of his, "The Old Soldier" at the Dallas Museum. You could almost smell the moth balls permeating the old World War I uniform. He was truly one for detail. You could see the fuzz on the uniform. Thanks for this submission, Laurie.

Dixie Jane said...

HEY EVERYBODY! IT'S LAURIE'S BIRTHDAY. JULY 25TH. JOIN ME IN SONG.
hAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR LAURIE
CAN'T DO WITHOUT YOU?

Laurie said...

Well, looks like my mom let the cat out of the bag! Thanks for all the comments today, everyone. And Mom, you know I love your songs!!!

dbdubya said...

I knew tomorrow (Saturday) is Laurie's birthday, and I was going to wait. DJ has an unfair advantage being two hours ahead of us. It's Saturday for her so it's only fair she gets to beat everyone else to the punch.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAURIE!!!

Shanna said...

It's July 25th in Austin, all right, Dixie Jane. It's 11:45 here in LA. I've been waiting to get in the first birthday wish to the birthday girl. Since Laurie was born in Austin, it is official!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURIE !!!!

And how about a big HAPPY BIRTHING DAY to Laurie's mom, Dixie Jane !!!!

TheChieftess said...

It's after 12 here in good ol' So Cal...Happy Birthday Laurie!!!

Laurie said...

You guys are awesome!

Cafe Pasadena said...

Happy 25th B-Day, LA!

What are your favorite birthday songs??

Trish said...

another happy birthday to Laurie!

the gas station problem is not new for a few reasons.

-if it was an OLD station and the tanks leaked, there are so many environmental issues, few want to take on that sort of property.

-if it is newly closed--there were regulations put into effect July 1 that stations needed to comply with. If they didn't, and continued to operate, they'd be fined some unG-dly amount per day. Most chose to shut down

-considering that most station owners make almost nothing on the sale of fuel, many have gone under with the varying prices of fuel.

Am sure the town is not exactly helpful in development, but toxic crud in the land makes it a tough sell for anyone.

ryanpainting said...

According to the a hearing of the Planning Commission that I watched this week, the new owners of this property are looking to move foward. They asked for a few modifications to the previous owner's plans and they were given approval for those by the Commission. They indicated an interest in getting it going next month (I would say "breaking ground" but that has already happened as you can see!).