Washed Away

Where do you get your car washed downtown? Nowhere, anymore. There are barely even gas stations, and those are trying to appeal to foot traffic.

After the coin-operated manual car wash on Liberty closed to make way for more apartments, the Soft Cloth Car Wash on Main Street was the last bastion. But then nearly the whole block, from Madison to Mosley Street got bought to build… yup, more apartments. The Clark station was allowed to stay for some reason, but everything else came down.

The Back Alley Gourmet, By The Pound, Anthony’s Pizza, and San Fu all closed instantly, which eliminated half the lunch options near my office (By the Pound and Anthony’s moved to new locations on South Industrial and Packard Road; the family who owned San Fu retired from the restaurant business; Back Alley Gourmet is now catering-only, I guess). I didn’t manage to get photos of those, but I was walking past the Car Wash one day after it had closed and thought it looked eerie:

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Yes, I took these photos like a year before I started the blog, because I thought I would do… something… with them someday.

Teardown of 111 E. Mosley through its front window, facing Main Street. (C)A2RS

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Timelapse of the 111 E. Mosley teardown as seen from Clark parking lot. (C)A2RS

The construction of the complex is ongoing. Here’s a shot from last summer:

I assume cars go in here. (C)A2RS

On the other hand, the Shell station at William and Main has relaunched as a Mobil station. Here it is forty years ago as “Grapp and Reed’s Amoco:”

“Grapp and Reed’s Amoco, 1975.” AADL (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here it is a little later in color. Remember when service stations fixed cars?

“Amoco station (year unknown).” AADL (CC BY-NC-SA)

See below for when it was a BP, click through to see it as a Shell last year:

The new convenience store does not have a soda fountain, but it does have — get this — beer taps, where you can bring a growler and fill up:

Actually, all of my best miles were Train Hopper miles. (C)A2RS

There are still a few places to get your car repaired downtown, but you pretty much have to get out to Packard or Plymouth to get a shine on it.

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