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Port O Call: 1940

Port O Call: 1940

August 1940. "Souvenir shop, Provincetown, Massachusetts." 35mm negative by Edwin Rosskam for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

The belt, the pitcher, and other things

First, the belt -- very cool look in those days, but also practical. Back in the 1970s, my husband also wore his buckle to the side because he was both an auto mechanic and a bass guitar player. So there.

I love the pitcher -- in fact, I love lots of things in the window -- but most of all, I think, I love the Don Quixote figurine thing in the extreme upper left window. Ceramic maybe? -- can't tell -- but I wish I could hold it in my hands right now.


My husband still wears his belt like this.

Still all the rage (for at least one)

"Odd way for someone to wear his belt." (Hawk777)

My father, born in 1936, grew up on Long Island. Doing the math, he was 15 in 1951 and is now 75. To this day, he still wears his belt with the buckle approximately 45º to port.

When I asked about it when I was a kid (born in '62), he replied that when he was in his teens and 20s it was the style in the New York area, mostly for young single guys he thought. He liked it and never dropped it.

Ponte Vecchio of the Cape

As lindbergh previously noted, not much has changed after 72 years. The following description, from 1919, portrays a Commercial Street hardly different than today.

Motor Travel, 1919.

Over the Highways to Windmill Land.

A Trip to Old Cape Cod.
Florence M. Pettee.

The one street, as narrow as those of Venice, is edged with quaint houses, closely huddled, between which curious boats poke their interested noses. Hotel and humble fisher-cottage jostle pier and fruit-stand. This commercial street is the Ponte Vecchio of the Cape with its ever-present souvenir shops and food-purveyors. The running-boards nearly scratch the sidewalks, and passing another car has to be charted in advance. Wary pedestrians dodge hither and yon.

Currently for sale

79 Commercial Street is currently for sale for $1,795,000. Other than that the front of this building still looks the same, minus the pitcher & bric-a-brac.

The Sideways Belt Buckle!

Great photo!

Some guitar players still wear belts that way, so the buckle won't scrape against the backside of a nice guitar.

You'll see used guitars sold that are in great shape except for "slight belt-buckle rash" on the back.


In a hurry

This is exactly the kind of bric-a-brac store that I would walk quickly past and pretend I did not see, if I were on vacation with my wife.

The belt

Yes, style of the day. Auto mechanics and gas station attendants (remember them) would wear their belt buckles on the side to prevent scratching a car as they leaned over it while washing the windshield.

Time Travel Hunting & Gathering

I'd love to have that shiny modernist pitcher (whatever it reflects) for sale in my showcase at the antique mall right now, along with several other of the Port O' Call's then-humble souvenirs: the pair of stylized horses, the frosted-glass art moderne Jesus(?), and, in the left window, the crystal ball. They'd make a composition of distinction, even if they didn't sell right away.


Odd way for someone to wear his belt. Was this common back then?

[It was the style of the day. - Dave]

How much is that pitcher in the window?

It appears that the camera caught the young gentleman right after lighting his pipe and letting out a puff of tobacco smoke. More interesting, is the shiny pitcher in the window three shelves up. I zoomed in as close as possible to use the reflection in it as we did the Christmas tree ornaments. Across the street, it seems to split into two roads, with a building in the center. Alternatively, perhaps a stone wall to shelter a large home with large black metal gates in the center. I'm wondering if anyone has a magic program for closer inspection. And yes, I do have better things to do, but sometimes Shorpy can be addicting.

[From the full-size LOC tiff.]

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