|Photo courtesy of Dave Hoekstra's blog.|
Two buttons pushed by Central Camera, a wonderworld of old cameras, with rows of boxes of film, and odd ephemera to be expected in a shop now in its third century, all under a gloriously retro cool logo. I loved walking in, noting the glowing green neon "Since 1899." I only went in a few times: curiosity, if I recall, one of the boy's photography class projects, with a friend seeking a certain sort of film, showing off the place to visitors. The clerks, I recall, were knowledgable and nice.
So as much sorrow as Saturday's riot unpacked, seeing the smoke pouring out of that little shop touched upon how our current crisis, a dumb beast, tramples on the lives of all sorts of Chicagoans. My longtime Sun-Times colleague Dave Hoekstra says it far better than I could, so I am going to defer to him, and let his blog take over, with his kind permission. But not before reminding you to click the GoFundMe link and give money. I did, and in case you overlook it in his story, here is the link again.
I was at the historic Central Camera Co., store, 230 S. Wabash on Friday afternoon.
I waited outside the door to pick up some prints at Chicago’s oldest camera store. My friend and long time clerk Timothy Shaver came out. We did an elbow bump and I gave him condolences towards the recent passing of his mother at age 99. Third generation store owner Don Flesch arrived next. He offered me a piece of candy as he does with most of his customers. He pulled his face mask down a bit to reveal a smile that would never be denied.
We began talking about the pandemic and all the things Central Camera has survived since his grandfather Albert Flesch opened the company in 1899. World Wars. The Holocaust. The Great Depression. Digital photography.
And a little more than 24 hours later Central Camera was torched in the downtown riots.
The store was looted and set on fire Saturday night.
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