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Monday, October 6, 2014

The "Coe Camera: Past & Present" Story

Original Coe Camera can be seen next to the Capitol Theatre.
It was an ordinary day.  Talking to Taylor about the new Coe Camera Shop in downtown Lancaster, PA.  I spent quite a bit of time when I taught high school photo- graphy taking with Ben, Carl and Matt who worked in the store.  The history of the place dates back to the year I was born, 1944.  It was then that George Coe opened his photography store in the second block of North Queen Street, next to the Capitol Theatre, in downtown Lancaster.  
Repairs being made to the current Coe
Camera at 220 N. Prince St.
The current store stands at 220 North Prince Street, about a block away from the original store.  Ben was the owner when I first started to visit to buy film and developing supplies for my black and white photography classes. Also bought quite a bit of Polaroid film during the time I was making my altered Polaroid photographs.  Eventually the film was taken off the shelf.  Carl was one of the store clerks and eventually Matt, Ben's son, joined him in the store.  When I retired in 1999 from teaching, my visits to the store virtually stopped, but I did stop in from time to time to say Hi to everyone in the store.  A few weeks ago I made a visit to the Perfect Image, a photo store about a block from my home, to have my camera body and lens cleaned.  
This was the Coe Camera that I visited many times.
Found out that they had purchased Coe Camera from Matt and were remodeling the store.  Well, the new store looks great,  One wall features black and white work from photographer Ken Hubbard, and the wall will be used as a gallery wall to allow other photographers from the area to display their work.  
Interior as it now appears with the gallery to the left.
Two doors to the south of the store stands Pennsyl- vania School of Art and Design which has courses in photo- graphy and I'm glad to see the new Coe Camera still offers black and white roll film as well as photographic paper and chemicals to the students of the school.  It's not the old store that I knew so well, but I'm sure I will make a few more visits to it to view the gallery wall in the future and talk to the new clerks that work there.  And, a big thanks to Taylor for taking her time to talk with me about the new store.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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