On a whim this week, I found myself curious about the town of Allegan. I spent a late morning and early afternoon photographing there. It’s an interesting, pleasant town. It seems to be a mix of blue collar and artsy. It’s not bougie like Rockford. But more than most of the other small towns and villages I’ve photographed this summer, it’s decidedly artsy. It seems like a good place to live.
It looks like in the nineteenth century Allegan was a wealthy town. It has a lot of grand old Victorian era homes, some stone or brick, others wood siding. A good number of them are BNBs today, suggesting that the town gets some tourism. (It also has a nice riverfront area, with leisure activities and restaurants and pubs.
As usual, for the past few months, I’ve used a Polaroid style of film, with soft shadows and highlights and often saturated colors. Most of them also are 1×1 in format. But where the square format did not do justice to the scene, I went with whatever worked best for the image. [As always, click on the image to see a larger version.]
Something of the artsy can be seen in the lovely old theater, which has been rebuilt more than once. I spent some time photographing it and the alley beside it. The “You Are Loved” graffiti by the theater suggests a vein of progressive-inclusive sentiment in Allegan.
Another more business-oriented expression of the arts in Allegan is in clothing and weaving businesses. The old mill district in the city has a weaving, spinning, yarn, and fiber arts studio. “The Sassy Olive,” shown below, makes and sells headbands. The next image is a reflection of the same store in a store window across the street.
Allegan’s business district is chock full of wonderful old buildings, like the I love the building that houses “The Sassy Olive,” an old hardware store become hipster headband store. An old hotel–the first image below–and an old livery are now pubs. Here are a few of my favorite buildings, some from the front, others from the back. The third image is my favorite in this series. The last is a panoramic shot stitched together from three photographs. I love the beat up Pizza Hut sign. It completes the odd mix of architecture in the connected buildings.
The last three images are a grab bag. With the first one, I was framing the reflection, thinking it was not all that interesting, when the guy on the electric skateboard motored through the scene. The fading paint on the second caught my eye. And the lines and rectangles drew my attention in the third. In that one I went black and white because the colors were boring and seemed a distraction.
It was a fun couple of hours walking around downtown Allegan and photographing on a quiet day. The weather is also great this time of year, for walking around and photographing. The worst of the heat seems to be gone. I’d like to got back and see what the area looks like lit up at night and to try the food at some of the brewpubs and restaurants. I’ll wait on the last until COVID-19 dies down and (hopefully) the pandemic truly ends.