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Loleta Drive & Main Street

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 23 September 2008 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Downtown Loleta, California

We are facing west here. The pastures in the distance stretch for a couple of miles, before giving way to a strip of sand dunes, and then the Pacific. The salmon colored building across the street is the Gilded Rose Tavern. The remaining stores are to the left. The (late) Loleta Dairy is at my back. The Loleta Community Church is off my left shoulder and a block south. That church will appear here tomorrow.

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

dj.tigersprout from San Bruno, CA, United States

a beautiful shot of small town living! i have been meaning to ask -- what is your connection to all of these wonderful back roads towns? you seem to do quite a good amount of interstate traveling in northern california -- quite excellent really considering i rarely leave the bay area! of course when i do, i tend to leave the continent completely! ;) do you drive mostly? my guess would be yes? and are you a california native? sorry so many questions! feeling inquisitive tonight i guess! :D wonderful shot here!

23 Sep 2008 6:34am

@dj.tigersprout: Yes, this is what I do. I look at your images and realize how much I need to shift gears and do some international travel. The last stamp in my passport is 2001. At the same time - I'll log 35,000 miles ( 56,000 km ) a year driving the back roads of California and the west. I love to drive. I spend as little time as possible on the Interstate highways - preferring the small, narrow, winding roads to places rarely seen by most people.

I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. I traveled to northern California with my roommate - on a three week vacation back in 1970. He stayed here for three years - and I'm still here. It has been a long three weeks.

Betty from New Jersey, United States

Wonderful shot of this town!

23 Sep 2008 9:57am

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

I'm beginning to get quite fond of this little town, that has so many things I love...besides red bricks it has a train...I love everything about trains, especially its mournful distant music...ahhh That at least, is not impossible lol

23 Sep 2008 10:15am

@Lorraine: More bad news I fear. On my first post in this series I reported - the rail line is dead. This track runs from Eureka - the largest city on the California north coast - all the way down to a ferry terminal just north of San Francisco. There has been a campaign to re-build the line as a passenger service. It will never happen.

The lumber industry built all of the rail lines in northern California - to get their products to market. As the lumber industry declined - the trains were discontinued. Every inch would need to be re-built. Every bridge, every tunnel, and all of the rail bed. The problem is those rains I mentioned yesterday. Landslides along the route are common. Back in their hay day - crews were available at all of the lumber camps that could dash out and clear and re-lay the track as necessary. The costs involved of getting this rail line back and running - and then maintained would be staggering. And the area remains sparsely populated. Such a proposition would not come close to being cost-effective.

As you - I love trains.

Kylie Greenan from Richmond, Australia

I can't believe how quiet this town is, I love how you have captured this, it has a very lonely sad feel, but beautiful colours!

23 Sep 2008 12:44pm

Marcie from United States

Love this small town. So incredibly quiet and sleepy..and very peaceful.

23 Sep 2008 2:26pm

alex centrella from California, United States

i just like these old rural town images..classic !

23 Sep 2008 2:44pm

willow from Chelsea, United States

Ever wonder if anyone ever thinks about the impact that the constant push to move on, build bigger and better, break new ground, has on the rest of the world? A lot of hard work went into building this little town that is now being left behind in favor of whatever is past the next bend in the road. Maybe it's progress, maybe it's just wasteful. Sorry for the little rant. This series obviously says something to me. You've really captured a message in these images.

23 Sep 2008 4:02pm

@willow: These are matters of unending reflection for me. I see inevitability in some of these changes. I also keep seeing our wealth and technology running far ahead of our consciousness. Of our ability to process the changes we cause - and the waste we create. Hopefully - this is beginning to change. That is the silver lining of global warming and economic collapse.

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Stephen, I really started to feel a little sad and somber... where have all the people gone? Where are their activities? How is their life being carried on? Your composition and tone only add to that mood... A powerful series, I must say.

23 Sep 2008 4:37pm

@hugo poon: Howdy, Hugo - it is good to hear from you. The people of Loleta are doing just fine. The upside of the dairy closure is that it was the one place that generated traffic and noise - including the railroad. For better or worse - all of that is gone. The result is that this is a really quiet place - with fresh air and friendly neighbors. Loleta is only a ten minute drive north into Eureka - where there are jobs and a full range of resources.

Rui from Leiria, Portugal

This must be a very quiet small village. Nothing happens. A bit deserted palce. But anyway I agree with willow. Where is this sentiment going to take us?
Thanks Stephen.

23 Sep 2008 7:29pm

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

I really like this little town, I like small scale and unsophisticated places where time passes slowly. I also like Main St, it seems so quiet with little shops, what do the residents do if they need more expensive items or more choice.... is there Mall anywhere close..?

23 Sep 2008 8:42pm

@Observing: The largest town on the California Coast north of the San Francisco Bay Area is Eureka - population 42,000. Loleta is only about 10 minutes south of Eureka. There is a large modern shopping mall here - and a Target retail store as well.

Walter from Watkinsville, United States

Your series is fantastic. Not only are we learning about a town that seems to have begun to slip away due to changes in the economy, we are also beginning to learn a little bit about ourselves. We live in a convenience oriented society with mega stores, shopping malls and the internet. And yet, most who respond here are very intrigued by this small town and its loss of the one main focus of the town, the dairy plant. It is the plant that brought this town to life and now keeps it alive in its shadow of an existence by keeping the town remote and quaint. Is this not the reason why people love small towns? Quaint, quiet, stuck in time, friendly and full of history....

24 Sep 2008 12:21am

@Walter: Good insights here, my friend. We seem to be a nation defined by corporations and politicians who neither know nor serve us. We are neither red nor blue - we are frustrated at the success of a few who manipulate everything to their advantage and at our expense. Every blog- every conversation I have as I travel - all lead me to this truth.

By the way - I Googled Watkinsville (USA) and only got Georgia as a return. Is that your home?

John Maslowski from Dallas, PA, United States

Reminds me of rural towns here in PA, except we have a lot more trees. My home is in the country but close to a city. However, I love the solitude and calmness of these towns, so good to get out of the rat race for a short time. Lovely picture, really portrays a sense of stopping to smell the roses, if you know what I mean,

24 Sep 2008 1:48am

@John Maslowski: I grew up about 12 miles north of the White House in Bethesda, Maryland. It was so long ago I remember climbing under the barbed-wire fence across the two lane blacktop to shoot pheasant and to chop down our Christmas tree. By the time I reached my teens - the Capitol Beltway was three blocks from our front door.

My Dad loved to drive (which is where I picked-up that habit) - and we would go all over creation camping and exploring. Ricketts Glen was among our top favorites. Another place. Another time.

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

Love this small town feel, so far removed from what I see and live.
Wonderful shot!

24 Sep 2008 12:37pm