Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Favorite Place

The New River Trading Company was located at 117 South Main Street, and eventually became a very popular bar. We'll talk about that one later. This great little store sold Levis and other clothing in 1970. I bought a lot of jeans and corduroys there, for about 5 bucks apiece.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Unique Time

My wife and I have talked about it many many times.
What was it about the late 60's and early 70's? Was it because we were impressionable teenagers? Does every adolescent think they grew up in a unique time in America, or the world?
Or does this time period truly stand out in history, and we were just fortunate enough to be a part of it? We tend to believe the latter.
There was nothing unusual about Blacksburg then, not to us anyway. Need shoes? Go to the shoe store. Need aspirin? Go to one of the several drugstores. Need a hammer? Which hardware store downtown is closest to your house?
The only thing unusual in Blacksburg might have been from the perspective of the long time residents. The college students were changing. Their hair was long, their clothes were strange, they talked funny. They were protesting against a war that had taken many of their friends or young relatives. They were questioning everthing about the status quo. It didn't take long for the look of downtown Blacksburg to reflect those new ideals. Record stores started selling "head shop" gear - like bongs, rolling papers, pipes, and roach clips. Soon it was easy to find blacklight posters and day-glo paint, leather goods made into sandals or headbands, waterbeds, homemade jewelry, books and magazines about being self-sufficient on the land or about other cultures and religions to consider. And music .... oh my God the MUSIC .... it was as if true musical artistry and expression was exploding and showing up week after week on black vinyl with often surreal outer jackets. The world started changing after 1965 and the ball was still rolling steadily forward into the 70's.
I hope some of you might enjoy the upcoming trips down memory lane (aka College Avenue, Main Street, and others) as we continue to talk about the times, and the shops, that made up our little town in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia.

Another View North

The photographer was standing in front of the National Bank of Blacksburg at the corner of Main and Roanoke Streets. This shot is from the mid-70s I believe. In the foreground left is Tech Calculator and to the right is Credit Way (got a couple of loans there when things were tight!!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Looking North

This shot is from the center of Main Street near the Post Office, looking north. In a lot of ways it looks the same today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another Downtown View

Someone stood in the median up the hill, perhaps near Cooks Clean Center, to get this south facing shot. The whitish portion of the building to the right is, of course, Corner Drug. This was one of at least three drugstores that existed downtown around 1970. I wish I had a nice closeup of Corner Drug ...... anyone reading this that may have such a shot please email it to me so I can include it on this Blog. Thanks.
In the front of Corner Drug, facing College Avenue, was a lunch counter that had pretty decent food. I remember going in there during summer days and getting a chocolate milkshake now and then. You could get a "Thicka" shake or a "Bigga" shake if I am remembering correctly.
Also, they had the usual sundries that a drugstore would carry and a true pharmacy in back.

A View of Downtown

This is a view of downtown Blacksburg way back when cars could park on Main Street. To orient yourself, see the post office in the distance just left of center with the flag in front. The bank, which is now Wachovia, was the First National Exchange Bank. This picture seems to be taken near the front door of Corner Drug (currently "Moe's") looking south.
If you continued walking in the direction of the photo, the next place of business would have been Ridinger's Hardware (currently "More Than Coffee"), followed by the College Inn. I personally loved College Inn and ate breakfast and lunch there quite often. Friendly folks and good down home cooking. Arno would often greet you as you walked in the door, while leaning on the back counter smoking a cigarette. The two others I remember are Mrs. Smith and a sweet lady who waited on me often, by the name of Ruth.