More Santa Clara, 1962 to the present
Continuing from my last "then and now" post, here's another pair of pics showing the evolution of a place from 1962 to the present day.
The most obvious landmark here is the church down on the corner. From what I can tell, it's the Elim German Community Church, circa 1904. It looks good in any time. There is an interesting footnote for that intersection. Here in 1962, that's Monroe at Liberty. Liberty changed names a few years later, apparently. It also seems to be relatively low-traffic at this point in time, since there are no signals.
Aside from a doomed house at left behind that car, there's not a whole lot else to see here. The people are indistinct and unidentifiable. There is a whole lot of oil on the ground there, even though it's a red zone. It's probably a bus stop.
Welcome to August 2011. This picture was taken from the same spot, or as close as I could get at the time. It's pointing the same direction, and it's clear much has changed. First, the shopping center at right is far busier. It seems to be doing better as a bunch of small businesses rather than just one grocery store.
At left, we can see a bunch of new trees hiding Franklin Square, which is part of the wannabe-strip-mall type thing which went up after everything else was bulldozed. About halfway down that block (behind that building, not pictured here), you can find a really neat old post office which might not be there for too much longer. Local businesses don't seem very happy about that, given the calls for letter-writing left outside, attached to a construction sawhorse.
This street also seems to have picked up street lights along the way, and no utility lines cross it at this location. Oddly enough, that telephone pole seems to be in the very same spot as 49 years prior. It might even be the same pole, for that matter.
Way in the back, there's our 107 year old church, still keeping watch over the corner. It now seems to be Our Mother of Perpetual Help Oratory. This time, it's Monroe at Homestead, since the name changed from Liberty at some point. It probably happened when all of the weird street bending was put in: Lafayette over to Washington, Lincoln to Winchester, and all of that.
Okay, time for a bonus picture. Last week I mentioned how that old Safeway building was rather long, but wasn't very wide at all. Here's a picture of it taken in the summer of 2010. It's about as wide as two cars are long. Compare that to the massive storefronts you see today and just try to picture what it must have looked like inside.
Maybe it used to be a bowling alley?
August 29, 2011: This post has an update.