Downtown’s Everyday Hubbub

Downtown Elgin, Texas 1916 (source: Elgin Depot Museum)

Downtown Elgin, Texas 1916 (source: Elgin Depot Museum)

“Housewives rushing home from errands, husbands bent on getting home to a decent meal, neither lingering nor lollygagging – downtown’s everyday hubbub is a difficult obstacle course we must traverse. Despite being early evening now, the day’s still gaining a heat that blunts your senses.

“Passing open street-level lobbies containing easy chairs, passing shops advertising everything from summerwear apparel to convenient personal services, home-cured pork loins to live mules and pretty much everything in between. Suffering an organ ailment? Street hawkers proclaiming snake oil remedies for whatever ails you abound. Buggies and wagons and carts, clattering to and fro, the odd motorcar, navigating the hard-baked clay rutted roadway. Dust is everywhere. Barbecue smoke mingles with the equally redolent horseshit fumes wafting along this here crumbling sidewalk pavement our tipsy main character’s now stumbling over. He spots two flatbed motor carriages at the heels of mutinous mules being driven by popping whiplashes. He smirks before dodging some kids getting chased for stealing drugstore candy. Several pedestrians stop to render judgment about the decline of today’s youth. More would’ve, probably. But it’s too hot. And there isn’t any shade.

“You can almost taste that pent-up need for release disturbing this very oppressive atmosphere.”


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