Friday, September 22, 2023

10 +


Regular blog readers know I'm big on history, especially broadcasting history and local history.  There were a couple of broadcasting history gems earlier this week.  Today, it's the latter.

I'm really sorry this escaped me, but late July marked ten years since the old Hotel Sterling was demolished.  The building at Market and River in downtown Wilkes-Barre was built in 1898, and what a grand building it was!

Sadly, the years were not kind.  The place was never the same after the 1972 Agnes flood.  It deteriorated, and badly.  And speaking of local media history, at one time, the Sterling was host to the Citizens Voice newspaper and WBRE radio.

Part of one of the best nights of my life was spent at the Sterling, and no, not that way.  There was an election night in the early 80's when the Republican congressional candidate was headquartered at the Sterling and the Democrat was at the then  Sheraton Crossgates on Public Square.  North Franklin St. and Bennett Place was the short cut between the two.  I was on the radio and tasked with covering both candidates.  My night was spent running between the two, and as luck would have it, I caught both the concession speech and the victory speech.   I went home very happy that night, or rather, that morning.

I also met Bob and Elizabeth Dole here.  Regardless of what you thought about Bob's politics, he was a great American.

It was sad to see the building come down, and I am even more sad the Sterling couldn't be saved.  There are plans for a new hotel and parking garage here.  We're still waiting, but then again, the world has been strange for the last several years.

I'm kicking myself while I'm looking at this.  Again, this is a ten year old photo, shot from North Franklin St., back in the days when most of my stuff was on "automatic" or "landscape."  This one was begging for "shutter priority" so I could freeze the motion of the bricks and other debris falling to the ground.  As it turned out, there was enough morning sunlight to allow for the camera to go with a decent shutter speed, anyway.  You can see the bricks tumble on the left of the photo.  A faster shutter speed would have sharpened the shot.

But, breaking news!  I dug in to my files and discovered I had the camera in the "sports" mode.  Yes, it speeds up the shutter, and it allows you to hold down the shutter button for several shots in rapid succession.  Some call it the "spray and pray" mode-- fire off a number of shots quickly, and hope you get a good one.

I'm a better photographer now.  I'm sure if I had another chance at it, this would be a much better photo, but there was only one Hotel Sterling.