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Old 06-18-2009, 08:25 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,118 posts, read 20,954,648 times
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Default Charleston in the early 1980s (video)

I stumbled across this video on youtube completely by accident yesterday and thought I'd post the link to it, as I found it very interesting.

I grew up in Charleston as some may know from past posts, and was in Charleston High School during the early 1980s. The video below represents my actual memories of Charleston as this was the time period when the guy shot it. It was the "pre-renovated" days before Capital Street was redone. Much of it before the mall opened. Back when throngs of people walked the streets downtown, etc etc.

Anyway. Thought it was interesting, so, here it is...

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Old 06-20-2009, 01:57 PM
 
Location: NE Georgia
2,779 posts, read 6,740,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
I stumbled across this video on youtube completely by accident yesterday and thought I'd post the link to it, as I found it very interesting.

I grew up in Charleston as some may know from past posts, and was in Charleston High School during the early 1980s. The video below represents my actual memories of Charleston as this was the time period when the guy shot it. It was the "pre-renovated" days before Capital Street was redone. Much of it before the mall opened. Back when throngs of people walked the streets downtown, etc etc.

Anyway. Thought it was interesting, so, here it is...

Rather amazing and sad on how so many places have changed so much over a short couple decades. Actually reminded me of downtown Martinsburg, WV during the same time.
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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Sad? Urban landscapes seem to have their own capitalist seasons.... stores sprout up, peak, then another store pops up in it's place. Montgomery ward went back to catologs. A&S, Gertz, woolworth (remember those soda jerk counters?) are defunct. Soon Filenes will follow suit I heard. Whether that's progress or not remains subjective I suppose.

Downtown is clean & revitalized even if it appears there's less pedestrian traffic. I noted my own habit of traveling through buildings from the parking garages. I think they did a decent job managing the project because the traffic & people flow well.

Greg do you think the people really changed all that much as a result? I wasn't here to know a difference.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:26 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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Originally Posted by harborlady View Post
Greg do you think the people really changed all that much as a result? I wasn't here to know a difference.
Well, remember, I moved to Atlanta in late 1984, and though I visit from time to time (more in the past than these days), I wasn't there full time after the full downtown renovations in order to maybe judge how people changed.

I will say this - people's HABITS changed. They used to just go downtown and do their shopping, business, etc., walking from store to store, and maybe discovering new stores along the way. The mall "compressed" the stores into a smaller area with few changes over time, so it for sure took away that "walking on main street" kind of experience. Especially at Christmas. It's just neat to walk in chilled air, with street decorations and lights up, as opposed to mall decorations. ugh.

The same people who built Town Center also built "Town Center at Cobb", a shopping mall in the suburbs of Atlanta, roughly around the same time. Their theory was innocent enough - build a mall downtown (Charleston), and then people HAVE to go downtown to go to the mall, so, the downtown won't die like it has in so many other cities (like Atlanta) due to the shopping going to the burbs. Sounds good.

One problem.... the parking garage. Once open, all people did was drive into the parking garage, walk into the mall, shop, then walk back out to their car in the parking garage and leave to go home. They never set foot "downtown" again, because they were enclosed in a contained environment - garage-to-mall-back-again. What the developers SHOULD have done is built a slight smaller mall (no need for 180 stores), and then built a large street surface parking lot in-between the mall and Capital Street somewhere. A standard downtown parking lot that would have been shared by mall visitors and downtown visitors. That would have encouraged people to visit the mall AND walk downtown as well. Both would have thrived better if the mall were smaller and there was that outdoor surface parking instead of a garage. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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Greg that trend seems to have happened across america. I know on long island 5 million strip malls were just a nuisance for all parties concerned. That same strip mall example can be seen in crosslanes today where anywhere else in WV people are generally considerate and let you make a left turn. When traffic is bumper to bumper stopped in both directions they become less considerate. Maybe it was coincidence it was Crosslanes rush hour? Haven't been back since. Lewisburg by contrast is far more welcoming because the scale of the town and store facades have awnings inviting your attention. More down home flavor.

I think the foot traffic you're talking about where people lolligag and window shop requires people be interested in what i call 'getting lost'. Try out an odd flavor of ice cream, see new cultural trends, check out a bistro with an outdoor cafe when sidewalks are large enough to permit it. Most americans nowadays don't seem to have the patience to get lost. Too goal orientated? People have changed past few decades without a doubt but I get the impression the buildings changed to suit their new attitudes about leisure time, or lack thereof. I also remember people had a much stronger sense of community & that seems to have gotten rare all across America, even rurally. An army of one don't you know. It's lingering in WV, but I wonder how long before it either becomes painfully absent enough to know something is missing or goes by the way of dodo bird entirely.

I remember reading an article years back about a german civil engineer. He was designing roads and traffic schemes to go through a town and had somehow figured out a way to create an environment where cars instinctively knew the right of way was meant for pedestrians. No speed limits, no misc cluttered traffic signs distracting drivers, no traffic lights were necessary because it tapped instincts. The tone of the article you'd think livestock could safely cross the road by themselves. He rounded the corners of the streets (because cars and trucks don't operate in 90 degree angles and neither do people), removed the lines, and made the sidewalks rather vague. Zero pedestrian fatalities, everyone got more mindful of one another, and that main street became more inviting for all. Never did see a follow up article, and can't find the original anymore. Sounded too good to be true.

Doing the same in a mass metropolis equivalent? I'm imagining crawling along behind a rickshaw in Bangkok shopping through the car window like a 5 mile long drive through. NYC & Boston created cultural regions like little italy, soho, and quincy market but narrow streets and cars have been a problem there since they were invented. Most nyc residents opt out of having a car at all, preferring to be run over by a taxi than bankroll a parking space. Sounds like san fran's fishermans wharf & jersey shore boardwalks are more in keeping with what you'd like to see. Seattle blog over pikes place 3/4's of customers favor blocking off passenger vehicle traffic, but merchants don't. Irony- they're fearful of losing a customer. It's not as if you can reason with that mentality.

Old or new, I think one thing no one is ever likely to see in Charleston-- street musicians & mimes spontaneously popping up. If they ever resurrect candid camera they should pull their stunt here. This is probably the only city I've been where it's unheard of, too staid, and makes me wonder if performers in clay center are like visiting a zoo because we can't be allowing them roam freely without official announcement. Maybe everyone was waiting for someone else to go first so as to not be impolite. I heard a rumor AliceT was going to bone up on her dulcimer, but her publicist booked solid until 2012 with bigfoot/ mothman gig. End times prophecies create an unquenchable demand and there's only so much time in a day.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harborlady View Post
Old or new, I think one thing no one is ever likely to see in Charleston-- street musicians & mimes spontaneously popping up. If they ever resurrect candid camera they should pull their stunt here. This is probably the only city I've been where it's unheard of, too staid, and makes me wonder if performers in clay center are like visiting a zoo because we can't be allowing them roam freely without official announcement.
That's not a Charleston thing - it's like that here in Atlanta, too.

Growing up in Charleston I never saw "street performers" either, even though as though that video clip, there were tons more people in general walking the streets downtown. Funny - even during the old Sternwheel Regatta festival I don't ever remember seeing street performers either - other than bands on stage.

But here I am in Atlanta, and honestly, in this metro area of 5 million people you can go downtown and guess what? Poof - NO street performers. 10,000 bums? Yes. As a matter of fact, people half-jokingly say that vagrants should be the official City bird. , but you do not see street performers. Maybe it's the City's permitting department or red tape that prevents it. Maybe it's just that Americans in general don't get into that kind of stuff the same way as folks in major European and Asian cities do. Not sure.

I wonder what would happen on Capital Street today, if someone put on the gray/white body makeup and did one of those "living statue" things and just stood frozen still for 8 hours? Would people watch, ponder, and tip them? Steal their money bucket? Pee on them? Hmmmmm.
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