Friday, August 10, 2012

Frozen in Time - Documenting Your Hometown in Photos

This has to be one of my most cherished photos and I didn't take this picture. I got it from a friend. It is a street scene of Crystal City, TX, the town where I grew up and it is the town pretty much as I remember it.

When I first saw this picture, it made me realize the importance of documenting your hometown. How I wish I had gone around back then taking pictures of places so that I could have a record of all the places around town as I remembered them from back then.

I can't show my children the hospital I was born in which me and other locals all affectionately called "The Pink Hospital",  because it has been long since been demolished.

I can't show pictures of the business store fronts where we used to shop or my schools as I remember them.

I can't show the old empty houses from the WWII internment camp that I used to pass by when my mom drove me to grade school, they are long gone now.

The first city pool where I learned to swim, it to is long gone. The first courthouse, also no longer there.

As with every city, Crystal City is a city of change and I am sure what it is now is nothing like it will be in the future.

My hope is that whoever is reading this, especially if you are a parent or grandparent, that you will take the time to document your town for your younger generation. It is a priceless gift they will cherish forever.

If you can at least start the process and then teach them to continue it, they will not only have a great gift, but you will be preserving history as well.


  1. So you were born in the ""Pink Hospital." Was there a "Blue Hospital" for little boys? :-) You're right about the need to document. Things are changing rapidly.

  2. Unfortunately for the boys there was no blue hospital; only a pink one...kind of an adobe pink and so thus named. I think it was actually called the Winter Garden Clinic but we have called it by the other name for so long I would have to ask someone else to be sure! I have managed to gather a few other photos since getting together with some classmates but I always think about the opportunities I missed just by not having the foresight to take more pictures when I could have.

  3. I wonder if the newspaper (Zavala Co Sentinel) has any old pics?

  4. Good idea Frances! They may have some really good ones stashed away and not mind at all sharing some copies!

  5. I grew up in an historic town (Marblehead, MA) and I wish I'd done that too, taken pictures of the town. There are many people from the town who did just that, though, and a Historical Commission which, I'm sure, has documented the town, but still, personal things would be nice to have on film. But back in the 1950's, who had a camera or the money to get lots of photos developed? Digital has changed all that, luckily, for the current generations.