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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Capturing History in the Letters

Last week, before the cold front hit, my husband took me down to Sixth Street in Amarillo for a photography date. Sixth Street is part of old Route 66, and the shops cater to antique hunters, hipsters, and bikers. It’s really a fun area in which to spend an afternoon.

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We didn’t have time to poke into any antique shops, but we did stop for cafĂ© au lait (for me) and Earl Grey iced tea (for him) at the 806 Coffee Shop after I wandered the street looking for my letters. Letters on the old signage, that is. The older and grungier the better.

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The “A” comes from The Nat. It’s antique store now, but it began as an open–air swimming pool in 1922 before evolving into a ballroom, which hosted the likes of Duke Ellington and the Dorsey Brothers.

I found the “I” on the Golden Light Cafe. The owner claims it is “the oldest restaurant in Amarillo and perhaps the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the same location anywhere on old Route 66.”

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I cropped my letters tightly, removed unsightly poles and wires with the Photoshop cloning tool, and placed the letters on a 20x16–in. grid. Why 20x16? Because I knew I could print a poster in that size and find a poster frame locally.

My chosen letters: AMARILLO.

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The result is an art piece I’m going to give my mother–in–law for Christmas. I used a handwriting true–type font to add “Letters from Sixth Street” along the bottom.

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The 20x16 print cost about $12 using the photo kiosk at Wal–Mart. The frame is from Joann’s.

I like the result so much that I’m going to get another print made for me and my husband to hang in our stairwell.

I’d like to go to my kids’ universities and find letters that spell out their names. It’d make a great graduation present.

I had great fun re–exploring one of Amarillo’s treasures. I could have also gone down to the Cadillac Ranch and found letters in the graffitied cars, wandered Polk Street, hit the Big Texan for the 72–oz steak, or walked the grounds of Amarillo College. Hubby and I may need to make another date with our camera.

Anyway, from start to finish, this project took about three days. Plenty of time to get out your camera and capture the highlights of your town before Christmas.

Thanks,

Aimee

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