Let’s celebrate Historic Preservation Month locally with three cheers, one for each stunning storefront retail space in the renovated Eagles Building which returns this block of First Street once again to an inviting streetscape of community reflection and commerce.
For a long time the building’s storefront windows were covered or severally reduced, unconsciously creating an unfriendly streetscape. Just as is the ongoing case with American Legion Post located in the historic Wilbur Drug Store Building, 1201 First, which I wrote about in December 2012.
The Design Standards for the city of Snohomish reads: “Display windows in commercial buildings … shall be the predominant surface of the first story, typical of original Snohomish commercial buildings.” (Section 1, B, 5. Windows)
Why is this important?
Glass windows reflect the community back upon itself, as we stop to window shop or simply grab a glance of ourselves and others passing by. They reflect the changes in the sky, the passing of day into night, and are like tiny altars to the seasons. Storefront window displays manifest our economic faith in our town.
Looking closely at this month’s historic image and noting, in particular, the richness of the frontier window displays – I am in awe of our human endeavors captured so precisely on a glass plate by the photographer Lee Picket, who lived in Index.
Stories inspired by these historic storefront windows display still present reflections of ourselves over a hundred years later.
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Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, May 15, 2013