Last August I wandered around town (Geraldton) snapping photos of streetscapes. I’m planning to re-issue my history book, Muskeg Tours, with updated information and images.
I was surprised to learn this week that one of my subjects has collapsed. When I was a teenager in the ’50s, it was known as Jim’s Pool Room. This is how one of the dens of iniquity of my youth, looked last August:
In the 1970s it had been reincarnated as a clothing store and billiard hall (pool room – same thing, just a more politically correct name), but for many years now, it has stood vacant. The weight of accumulated snow proved too much for this ancient structure; it went kablooey last Saturday. Flatter than a billiard table.
The historic photo below shows the west side of Main Street in 1937, the year in which Geraldton was incorporated as a town. The white-fronted building with the awning (centre) was Jim’s place of business. From the ’50s I remember Jim as a burly cigar-chomping presence whose word was law among his chief clientele – the bolder, brassier male adolescent refugees and truants from the high school campus.
In a local eatery the other day, I observed some of these same clients knocking a few balls around a billiard table. They are much older now, they move carefully, and they speak softly. The restaurant is smoke-free, families are welcome, and the bar is open.
On these premises there’s no chance you’ll see a brown-paper package changing hands.