Monday, September 21, 2015

The archaeology of roads

            Pasco, Washington, is a grubby little town in Eastern Washington. It’s plagued by a steady flow of illegal immigrants. The schools are poor quality. The police force is a mix of experienced officers who do their jobs well and self-entitled trolls who do not respect the laws they were hired to enforce. (I’m thinking of one officer named after a recreational area.) Still, it has its attractions. When we drive up to Uncle B’s, I always stop in Pasco, assuming I have time. For a store … with used books and junk. The store is as grubby as the rest of Pasco, but it does have books. So I stop.
            Probably someone familiar with Pasco is mentally protesting. There are ‘nice’ neighborhoods in Pasco. Yes, sort of, mostly low-cost but newer houses. I won’t discuss that with you. Pasco is a pit. A big smelly pit.
            But elsewhere on this blog I’ve mentioned my interest in road archaeology. I find abandoned and changed-use roads fascinating. I walk long disused trails, logging roads, dead streets and ghost towns. It’s relaxing and fun. Pasco has interesting ‘road bits.’ The main route through Pasco is Lewis Street. Back in the day US route 410 (long since abandoned or re-designated) ran through Pasco using Lewis as its route. On the east end one can find a series of motels and cabins from the 1940-1950 era modified into apartments. Rerouting traffic around the village killed the motels.

2015 E. Lewis

This motel was updated at some point. Many of them were given new siding and a coat of poor quality paint. This one is full of Mexican immigrants, families that stuff themselves into a single room.

The old gas stations are mostly gone. This one (at Cedar and E. Lewis) remains, though they no-longer pump gas. It was a salvage yard for a while, and some of that junk remains. Pasco tolerates the mess. They have other things more urgent to tend to, such as the mentally ill street people that are dumped into residence homes and left to wander the streets, steal beer, and throw rocks at cars.

This is all that remains of a gas station directly across the street from the one pictured above. It appears that the tanks have never been remediated.

This is another of the old motels, now apartments. Vacant lots testify to others now demolished. Every city has its blighted areas, I suppose. Pasco has more than its share.

 Lewis Street (Hwys 395/410) Looking East. Late 1940s

 Lewis Street - Hwy 410. East.
 Fourth Avenue near Lewis. About 1950

1 comment:

  1. Pasco is indeed a pit and until our culture disinvests itself of the policies that encourage illegal immigration that creates a shadow labor force that is downtrodden, it forever shall remain a smudge compared to what it used to be during the height of the Inland Empire.