A couple of years ago, longtime HB resident Diane Valoff shared her rare images with me for this piece I wrote about the demolition of the historic Carnegie Library. At a recent book event I did, Diane told me she had some more interesting, rare local images. They are photos she took wandering one summer day almost 30 years ago, in 1989. Main Street was getting gutted and she decided to document part of it. We met at the Sugar Shack for breakfast to look at the images and Diane described that day she saw the many building coming down. “The Alpha-Beta market, a hardware store, even a rock shop – Main St. used to be designed for locals. It was small and quaint, similar to Seal Beach today. Today there are a lot more bars. I think that has changed the environment down here a lot. But there are still some great local businesses down here and we need to support them.”
In a way, her images are a look at the last gasp of a small town. The transformation of Main Street remains one of the most controversial issues in city history. Many people miss how it used to be. Others seem to believe that the myth of Main Street is somewhat romanticized and that it needed cleaning up. Whatever you think, it’s a very different place today and images like this are vital because they help us document the changes that have occurred here. They give us a reference point and something to compare things to. Thank you Diane, for once again providing such interesting images. We are thankful for your sharing your peeks at the past; back when taking pictures required a lot more effort than it does today.
Who remembers these places? Who else has old photos? Who misses the old Huntington Beach?