History: Boy on a bike, a snapshot in time
GJ History Columnist
Shown is a photograph, a window in time, of 5th and Rood. A boy rides by the camera lens of local photographer, Frank Dean, in the distance past of Grand Junction, Colo.
A study of the undated picture inclines one to wonder of that boy and the people caught in time of days long gone.
We know the Odd Fellows Hall, now Roper Music, was built in 1906, the Dalby Wendland Building or then the old bank on the corner of 5th & Main was built in 1910.
And the trolley cars — notice the trolley car down the block were built and in use in May 1909, and the shoe repair shop was in business in 1913. The Fair Store on the corner of Main and 5th streets was built in 1905. The street is still unpaved, that went on until at least 1914.
Note the number of buggies on the street and that there are no automobiles on the streets. Also the people are wearing heavier clothing, indicating fall or winter weather.
It’s before World War I; the United States is just starting to react to the invasion of United States in New Mexico and Texas by Pancho Villa. However, on this day in Grand Junction, people are shopping at Bailey’s grocery store, going to the shoe shop, riding the trolley home for lunch, or maybe just eating downtown.
We can, through eyes of our time, ask how much did this boy spend of his hard-earned money to buy this bike? Or was it a special gift? Did First World War claim him as a soldier or affect his family with the flu of 1919 and the depression of the 1920? Did his children fight in the second World War? Did he live to old age and die a happy man surrounded by his family?
I know from the time of this photo, my grandparents are about the same age, my father and mother are not yet born, and hope and joy for this boy on the bike is bright at this place frozen in time. He has everything a boy needs at this moment, his bike.
The sun is over head, no shadows on the street, must be noon time. It’s a clear day for Frank Dean to set up his camera in the middle of 5th and Rood to catch the little boy who just happened to ride by. I wonder where he is going — to play? To fish? But he is dressed up a little better than usual; maybe he’s going to a special event or church.
As he rides by on his bike, on his journey from here to there, we hope he found what he was looking for and had an outstanding, wonderful life.
He is our “Forever Puck,” our dreams, our vision of childhood, our dog days of summer where there is a merry-go-round, a fair, friends, picnics, football games in fields, eating ice cream and having loving parents where nothing bad will ever happen. Mom and Dad will always be there to make the hurt go away, and we will never grow old, just like this boy on a bike.
Thank you, bright-eyed boy on a bike, for reminding us of that time, of a special moment of our childhood.
Sources: Museum of Western Colorado, Loyd Files Room, Mike Menard, Snap Photo.
GJ Free Press history columnist Garry Brewer is storyteller of the tribe; finder of odd knowledge and uninteresting items; a bore to his grandchildren; a pain to his wife on spelling; but a locator of golden nuggets, truths and pearls of wisdom. Email Garry at email@example.com.
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