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Chris Crawford I am pleased to announced a long time member has agreed to help and mentor others in photographic technique. As he has long done so, perhaps this forum is a bit overdue. Christopher Crawford has been a professional artist and photographer for 20 years, most of that time spent documenting life in northern Indiana with his photographs and the stories that he writes to accompany them. In addition, Chris also creates tutorials where he teaches photography techniques, film processing, digital editing, film scanning, and printing. Ask Chris your technical questions, or to critique your photos. You can see more of his tutorials at http://crawfordphotoschool.com

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Old 08-24-2018   #2281
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This sign hangs on the fence behind Waynedale Plumbing; the 84 year old plumber who owns the store put it there several years ago.
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Old 08-25-2018   #2282
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This is an old product display at Waynedale Plumbing Supply. It is next to the new faucet display; and is one of several old displays with ancient yellowed signs in the store.

"Pipe Protection Center. Prevent Frozen Pipes with Wrap-On Electric Heat Tapes."

Waynedale Plumbing is on Lower Huntington Road in the Waynedale area of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The store was built in 1946, and has been owned by its current owner since 1950, when he and his now-deceased older brother bought it. Very little has changed there in the intervening decades!
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Old 08-26-2018   #2283
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Another ancient product display at Waynedale Plumbing Supply. This one is for "Blue Grass Hand Hacksaw Blades."
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Old 08-27-2018   #2284
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I photographed these mushrooms in my back yard Saturday afternoon.

There used to be a huge maple tree there, which was cut down after being struck by lightning many years ago. Every summer, several of these clumps of mushrooms, and other fungi, sprout up around the area where the tree once grew.
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Old 08-27-2018   #2285
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I photographed these mushrooms in my back yard Saturday afternoon.

There used to be a huge maple tree there, which was cut down after being struck by lightning many years ago. Every summer, several of these clumps of mushrooms, and other fungi, sprout up around the area where the tree once grew.
Those mushrooms are feeding on the decaying roots that are still in the ground. We had the same thing when a 75 ft tree fell in a storm. The mushrooms will recur for many years.

Nice shot.
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Old 08-27-2018   #2286
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Those mushrooms are feeding on the decaying roots that are still in the ground. We had the same thing when a 75 ft tree fell in a storm. The mushrooms will recur for many years.

Nice shot.
I figured that. The clumps of fungi are growing in a circle around where the tree stump had been (the stump has been dug out but most of the tree's roots remain in the ground).
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Old 08-27-2018   #2287
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I absolutely love stores like this
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Old 08-27-2018   #2288
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I absolutely love stores like this



Thanks, Steve. Do you mean the Waynedale Plumbing pics? I've gotten to meet so many interesting people through my photography. I have actually known Virgil for many years, but I'm glad I got to document him and his store before he closes up for good.

Waynedale, interestingly, has several other small businesses that have survived, despite the fact that big box stores have run virtually all other stores of their kind out of business in other parts of Fort Wayne. There are two appliance stores, a bakery, a vacuum cleaner shop, and a jeweler too!
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Old 08-27-2018   #2289
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Another one of Waynedale Plumbing. The old sink on the shelf has a sign in it with a price of $10. The unlit neon sign in the window used to face outward; when it quit working, they unplugged it and turned it around to face the inside of the store instead of getting rid of it!
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Old 08-27-2018   #2290
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Places like that stay open because of their loyal customer base, and because the owner usually doesn't feel the need to be a millionaire.


Good that you're documenting it for those who've never experienced the joy of shopping in such an establishment.


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Old 08-27-2018   #2291
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Places like that stay open because of their loyal customer base, and because the owner usually doesn't feel the need to be a millionaire.


Good that you're documenting it for those who've never experienced the joy of shopping in such an establishment.


PF



Yeah, a lot of these old-school small-businessmen live simply by modern standards. They were happy to have a middle class income, or even lower middle class income, since the freedom of working for themselves was worth more than any money to them.

Virgil drives an old beat-up pickup truck, though I'm sure he could afford a new one. The old one runs, so why waste the money? He did admit to having spent $1300 on a bicycle recently! He loves cycling, and had always wanted this bike, but a new one is $3000 and he wasn't willing to spend THAT much. One of his nephews helped him find one on eBay, and he bought it...then worried about whether he'd been stupid to spend so much on a bike. He said after he got it and rode it, he forgot about the cost...it was worth it.

I posted the portrait of him and some of the photos of the shop on a Facebook group called Waynedale Recollections, a group for Waynedale residents and those who used to live here. When Virgil's store opened, Waynedale was a small town a few miles southwest of Fort Wayne. It was annexed by the city in 1957, but even today Waynedale looks like a small town.

My photos for a lot of comments on the Waynedale Recollections group on Facebook. Many of them talked of going in the store to buy something and having Virgil tell them they were buying something that wasn't worth the money and selling them a better item for less money. Not many businesses where that would happen today. Like you said; he didn't need to be a millionaire.
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Old 08-29-2018   #2292
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Elmhurst Church Of The Nazarene is a small church on Sandpoint Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The church is down the street from my house, in the neighborhood where I grew up.

The sign in front of the church says: "Sign Maker On Vacation - Come Inside For Message."

I photographed it at dusk, so that the lighted cross at the top of the church's facade, made of glass bricks, would show up well.
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Old 08-29-2018   #2293
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This fence runs along the top of a hill on the west side of Broadway, between Stophlet Street and Taylor Street, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

It is next to an antiques and used clothing store called "Little Shop of Laura's," which also owns the property with the fence. This fence has several other murals painted on it, too.
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Old 08-29-2018   #2294
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Nice store and edible mushrooms. Where I'm I could still find stores like this, but mushrooms disappeared decade ago. They are same type as back in Russia.
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Old 08-30-2018   #2295
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This mid-1960's Chevrolet C/K pickup truck is one of two old trucks sitting next to a garage on Front Street in the small town of Burr Oak, Michigan.

The truck has a license plate on the front bumper that says: "Chevrolet USA-1."
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Old 08-31-2018   #2296
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This building at the corner of Broadway and Stophlet Street in Fort Wayne is home to an antiques and used clothing store called "Little Shop of Laura's."

This is the north side of the building, facing Stophlet Street. The boxes of "Free Stuff" on the sidewalk are full of old clothing for children. The wall above it says: "Free Stuff - Love, Laura."

The store's owner, Laura Hancock, operates her shop as something of a charity. She gives away a lot of stuff to people in need who come in to shop, and she keeps boxes of clothing outside for people to take when the store is closed.
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Old 09-02-2018   #2297
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Here's the outside of Waynedale Plumbing Supply, the little plumbing shop whose owner has worked there for 68 years. I've posted a lot of photos of the inside recently, and I have a few more to go. It has a For Sale sign in the front window because the owner wants to sell it and retire.
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Old 09-03-2018   #2298
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An American flag hangs under the sign on the side of Billy's Dugout, a small neighborhood sports bar on the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Kinsmoor Avenue on the south side of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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Old 09-04-2018   #2299
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This is the back door of Waynedale Plumbing Supply. The hand-painted sign over the door says "Walkin Door." Customers often park behind the building and enter through the back door. When you go in, you walk through the workshop in the back of the store where owner Virgil Hoke repaired faucets and other plumbing equipment and fabricated parts when needed.

Waynedale Plumbing Supply has been in this building since 1946, when the store's original owner, Charles Schmidt, built it. In 1950, it was bought by Virgil and Homer Hoke. Homer died in 2011, but Virgil still operates the store by himself. The store's appearance, inside and outside, has changed very little in the 68 years that the Hokes have owned it.

The store is located on the corner of Lower Huntington Road and Bradbury Avenue in the Waynedale area of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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Old 09-04-2018   #2300
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Chris,

Thanks for these. It's a very good thing to document these vanishing institutions in our towns and cities. I've done some of that type of photography in my area and am often surprised when the subjects disappear quickly afterwards or before I get around to them. I noticed on a cross country trip earlier this year that main street businesses seem to have fared better in the midwest than here in the Boston-Washington Megapolis.

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Old 09-04-2018   #2301
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Chris,

Thanks for these. It's a very good thing to document these vanishing institutions in our towns and cities. I've done some of that type of photography in my area and am often surprised when the subjects disappear quickly afterwards or before I get around to them. I noticed on a cross country trip earlier this year that main street businesses seem to have fared better in the midwest than here in the Boston-Washington Megapolis.

Chip



I think big cities are worse off than small towns, even here in the midwest. Fort Wayne is Indiana's second largest city, with about 275,000 people. Fort Wayne's downtown has been a ghost town for decades. All the downtown local shops closed years ago, replaced by chain stores in the malls and suburban shopping centers. The city has been trying to revitalize downtown, and a lot of new businesses, are opening, but they're almost all restaurants and bars.

Waynedale is a little different. It is a neighborhood on the southwestern edge of Fort Wayne. Its in the city, having been annexed in 1957; but before that Waynedale was an independent small town. It still looks like a small town, and has a much larger concentration of old-time small local businesses than any other part of the city. Waynedale is the only part of Fort Wayne that was once a small town.

Unfortunately, Waynedale's small businesses are almost all owned by very old people like Virgil Hoke, who are retiring or dying, and most of them do not have any family wanting to take over the business after they retire. Virgil has no kids, but he has nieces and nephews and none want it.
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Old 09-04-2018   #2302
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Thanks for the plumbing shop series. Your photos let us see a traditional small town business that's becoming increasingly rare. As always, your work is carefully done and insightful. Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 09-04-2018   #2303
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Thanks for the plumbing shop series. Your photos let us see a traditional small town business that's becoming increasingly rare. As always, your work is carefully done and insightful. Thanks again for sharing.



Thanks. I have a few more photos of the plumbing shop to post this week. I love documenting places like that and the people who run them. Its a part of our history and culture that is often forgotten and overlooked, but it deserves to be remembered.
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Old 09-05-2018   #2304
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Homer's Desk

A while back, I posted a portrait of Virgil Hoke, the 84 year old owner of Waynedale Plumbing Supply, sitting at his desk behind the counter.

There is a second desk sitting right next to Virgil's, which was his older brother Homer's desk. Homer and Virgil bought the store from its original owner in 1950 and ran it together until Homer died in 2011. I don't think Virgil has moved much on his brother's desk since then.
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Old 09-12-2018   #2305
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This sunflower is one of a long row of them growing on the edge of a field on State Road 101, south of Woodburn in rural Allen County, Indiana.

This is the first of two photographs that I made of this flower. The sun came out just a few seconds after I made this photograph.
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Old 09-12-2018   #2306
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Here's the second photograph that I made of the sunflower on State Road 101. This was done just seconds after the first one, but looks very different because the sun came out and the clouds began to open up to reveal the blue sky.
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Old 09-12-2018   #2307
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Quote:
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Here's the outside of Waynedale Plumbing Supply, the little plumbing shop whose owner has worked there for 68 years. I've posted a lot of photos of the inside recently, and I have a few more to go. It has a For Sale sign in the front window because the owner wants to sell it and retire.

Chris, this is my favorite of everything you've posted in this thread. I often feel that your photos have mostly shown details, like the sign on the side of a building, rather than the whole building. With this image, I like seeing where the building is situated. I feel like it gives me a much better sense of what Ft. Wayne is really like. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 09-12-2018   #2308
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Mono no aware.

With best regards,

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Old 09-12-2018   #2309
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Chris, this is my favorite of everything you've posted in this thread. I often feel that your photos have mostly shown details, like the sign on the side of a building, rather than the whole building. With this image, I like seeing where the building is situated. I feel like it gives me a much better sense of what Ft. Wayne is really like. Thanks for posting it.



Thanks, Jamie. This is really different than most of Fort Wayne. Waynedale used to be a small town before it was swallowed up by the city, and it still looks like a small town. There's really nothing like this anywhere else in Ft. Wayne. When it closes, the loss will be great
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Old 09-13-2018   #2310
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Thanks, Jamie. This is really different than most of Fort Wayne. Waynedale used to be a small town before it was swallowed up by the city, and it still looks like a small town. There's really nothing like this anywhere else in Ft. Wayne. When it closes, the loss will be great

The Waynedale Plumbing store photo reminds me of the work of William Christenberry... the images he made in the South.
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Old 09-13-2018   #2311
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Is that WWII fighter plane model on Homer's desk a P-51? It has the earlier greenhouse style canopy, not the later bubble canopy. Was Homer a WWII USAAF pilot? I think you said earlier that Virgil was not a WWII veteran, having been too young.

Thanks for sharing your work, what a wonderful chronicle you are creating.
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Old 09-13-2018   #2312
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Here is Homer Hoke's obituary: WWII vet yes, pilot, no.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/fo...?pid=149655054
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Old 09-13-2018   #2313
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Here is Homer Hoke's obituary: WWII vet yes, pilot, no.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/fo...?pid=149655054



it is a P-51, I think. I knew he was in the army, but didn't think he was a pilot.
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Old 09-13-2018   #2314
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In August, 2018, Sears announced that they were closing their store at Glebrook Square Mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I made this photograph a few days ago.

This store, which was one of Glenbrook's original stores when the mall opened in 1966, is the last Sears store in Fort Wayne. The other one, located at Southtown Mall, closed in 2002, shortly before Southtown was closed and demolished.

Sears is one of the oldest companies in the United States, and was once the largest retailer. In recent years, the dying company has been closing stores at a rapid pace. They've been unable to weather competition from discounters like Walmart and online stores.

It is a shame to see Sears in this condition. My family shopped there all the time when I was young. I still have some Sears Craftsman tools that my father bought for me when I was younger, and he still has some he bought in the 1970s. They were great tools, but sears moved production to China several years ago and we quit buying.
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Old 09-13-2018   #2315
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Yes, I remember those early, great tools. Sadly, I also remember when a Sears garage in Calgary charged me $$$ for work that hadn't been done. Thanks for the picture.
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Old 09-14-2018   #2316
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^ And for the last few years you couldn't find an employee to save your life ! Good riddance , Peter
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Old 09-17-2018   #2317
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This house is on Rohman Road, just east of Bruick Road, in rural Allen County, Indiana. A hand-painted American flag in a wooden frame hangs in the front window.

The little sign behind the flowers in front of the house says: "Bless This House."
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Old 09-18-2018   #2318
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This scene is right across the road from the house in my last post. I made this photograph a few minutes earlier, before the sun had come out.
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Old 09-21-2018   #2319
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Another photograph of the "Emoji Chair" in front of Fire Station #10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The firefighters change the face on the chair periodically. When I made this photograph, it had a kissing face.
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Old 09-22-2018   #2320
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The "Emoji Chair" at the fire station now has a Sad Crying Face on it. I photographed it Wednesday morning.
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