Downtowns centered on Main Streets are still around, and they often provide a view into the past. And sometimes there is a perspective into transition between the past and present as well. In Hendersonville, North Carolina, there is a vibrant downtown with music instrument stores, bars, knick-knacks shops, ice cream counters and delis. Including this old pharmacy with the dog treats, cigarette receptacle, and kiddie horse lined up outside the front door.
I see this photograph as a document of tension. I tried to limit the surrounding context to a minimum, although I did sneak in the historical plaque on the left wall. Between that decoration and the tiled entryway, what is original? We see a proclamation of this “new” ownership, management, whathaveyou — “The old ‘Justus Pharmacy’ ” — so somethings haveÂ changed. Maybe the Coke barrel by the door, probably the dog biscuit offering — those are certainly new. The neon sign could go both ways — maybe original? Our reflected awning is likely original, if not restored. But the horse — what of the horse? Definitely weather-worn, and from an earlier day when the motor casings were still metal instead of shock-proof plastic. I’ve no idea if it works or not — unfortunately I’m always bereft of loose change.
Is the restaurant merely trading on nostalgia and reputation? Do they have genuine respect for the history of such a space, or are they leveraging the horse to hook tourists into spending some quick cash? I should say that I don’t know at all — but I would imagine that the new owners are probably on the “respect and restore” side of the coin than the “appropriate and abuse” the past viewpoint.
This photograph was made on a rainy afternoon in June 2015, with 35mm Superia X‑TRA 400 in my Leica M3.