Our next show….
Our next show….
Preston Coiner was “retired” but you’d hardly have known it. He worked every day: on volunteer work in his community, on renovating old buildings, and on art and woodworking projects at home. When his feet stopped moving and there was someone nearby to talk to, he could tell stories and share recollections for hours (no exaggeration) of the “old” Charlottesville where he grew up.
Preston spent his career in the junk business, salvaging metal from demolition projects and processing metal materials at his scrap metal business, Coiner’s, on the east side of town. Preston was a big man from his teen years on, with the strong hands of someone who never shied away from work. His stories often included experiences (adventures, even) in the junk business. The tales usually had a humorous twist or some significant tie-in to C’ville history.
He kept an office on East Market Street for years and in late 2011 moved it to a beautifully renovated building on High Street. He lived close enough to walk to and from the office. He was still hands-on with a lot of the renovation work, indeed it was an accident on an historic preservation project that led to his death in September 2012.
His stories were funny and clever but Preston often wove in a bit of wisdom or advice on working and living well. He never seemed to mind his humble background as a junk man without a college degree. It kept him modest, certainly more modest than is typical of someone with even a fraction of the accomplishments Preston has had. He was successful in business and turned that success into useful volunteer work and dedication to historic preservation, something his widow, Julie has continued with the 2012-14 renovation of the Young Building on Carlton Avenue. Preston loved to tell the stories but did not necessarily discuss his achievements. It took many months of me asking before he revealed the impressive range of properties he had owned and restored.
Rarely does a day pass that I don’t think of something I wish I could ask Preston: “What was that building before?” “When did they use that material?” “Who lived here back then?” As I have learned more about local history and done research at UVA and through other local resources, I want to share these new discoveries with Preston: “Did you know that restaurant used to be here!” “That was the same owner as the building three blocks over!” “That family goes back to the early ninetieth century in Charlottesville!” Tid-bits that might bore anyone else, but things that I know he would appreciate and store away, adding to his vast knowledge of his life-long hometown.
I miss our long walks on the downtown mall, sharing observations, and I miss driving the backstreets of town trying to piece together some architectural mystery.
But if I had just more more day, one more afternoon with Preston, I think I would just sit there on the front steps of his house in North Downtown and listen.
“Listen to your junk man…” –Bruce Springsteen from “New York City Serenade”
More pics can be found in this post I did a year ago.
Color photos by Steve Trumbull. B&W images of Preston courtesy the Coiner Family. Main Street photograph by Ed Roseberry.
Less than an hour south of C’ville on the historic estate of Oak Ridge in Nelson County, Lockn’ 2014, a four-day music festival took place in early September. C’ville Images was there to capture a bit of the sights of the musicians on stage and the festival-goers on the lawn that made for an entertaining and lively weekend. Here’s our photo essay of the event. Mostly crowd shots, a few band pics (highlight: Del McCoury Band playing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band). By day four we bagged the camera and just enjoyed the music.
75 years ago today, September 1, 1939, was the beginning of WWII as Germany invaded Poland. Just a couple of years later the United States would join the Allies in that war. In Charlottesville, we have a monument- often overlooked- dedicated to the men and women of Charlottesville and Albemarle County who served in WWII (as well as those that served in WWI).
Two of our friends (and contributors to C’ville Images), Buddy Voshell and Ed Roseberry, both served in the Pacific during WWII. Take time to thank and acknowledge those who served back then and stop by the monument sometime as well. It stands on the grounds of the former Lane High School and current-day Albemarle County office building.
The stone and plaque have been moved around town at least a couple of times. This photo from our archives shows it at the east end of Main Street (1970-80s) and we also have an earlier photo (1950’s) at the bottom of Beck’s Hill (where High Street meets Preston Avenue) not far from where it stands today.
Unidentified sailor from Charlottesville has his picture taken in a front yard along West Main Street. Businesses in the 500 and 600 block of W. Main including the old Albemarle Hotel (far left) can be seen behind him.
© C’ville Images 2010-2014. All photos are all from C’ville Images digital photo archive and cannot be used without permission.
September 2014 is shaping up to be one of the busiest months for C’ville Images since we’ve started.
The September slideshow at C’ville Coffee will be held on Thursday, the 11th, 7 pm. The program, called “Signs of C’ville” will feature signage and storefronts from Charlottesville over the past 100 years or so. Just a handful of tickets still available. Reserve yours now!
Even as we put the finishing touches on the September show we are also looking ahead to October’s program and scanning dozens of postcards from the postcard collection of former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris. We were fortunate to acquire Dave’s extensive collection a couple of years ago and are now thrilled to have him join us and take us on a narrated tour of the collection. The detail shown above is from a photo postcard of West Main Street from a century ago.
This week, however, we are working with C’ville Images supporter and contributor, Lisa Bergstrom, who is writing and researching a story for the website. The subject is from the Grounds of UVA (Hint: It’s NOT in the photo above) and one that has been overlooked or misunderstood by many who have come across it. We are currently gathering additional images and will post this extensive piece next Sunday. You won’t want to miss it!
Another event this month will be the screening of “Giant”, the 1956 film starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Parts of this epic movie were filmed near Charlottesville and frequent C’ville Images contributor Ed Roseberry was on the set. Ed and I will be presenting an introduction to the screening at the Paramount on September 28th showing a few of his behind-the-scenes photographs. Details forthcoming. The screening is sponsored by Karyn Trumbull who is a real estate broker with Nest Realty and the primary financial contributor to C’ville Images.
And, as always, C’ville Images will continue its work scanning vintage images, documenting current-day Charlottesville, and telling some interesting bits of C’ville history through our website and Facebook page.
Thanks to everyone who shows their support by attending our programs, purchasing prints, and making small donations through the website. All this helps us continue our work here at C’ville Images.