Boulder, Colorado, can be a delightful place to live—if you just moved there with buckets of money, or if you relocated years ago when housing prices were more reasonable. This month I visited Colorado after more than a year away and was lucky enough to stay with friends who live just off the West End of the Pearl Street Mall.

One day I walked down to the East End of the mall and back to see if any shops or restaurants remained from my graduate school days in the late 1980s. I found a few, including the featured photo of Tom’s Tavern, now reimagined as Salt. I’ve been to Salt and liked the food, but I can’t help feeling nostalgic about the vinyl booths, square hamburgers, and scoops of macaroni salad of Tom’s Tavern. If I had a Tardis, I would definitely go back there.

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I ran into my old friend the Boulder Bookstore, where I bought some Neuhaus chocolate and picked up a few extra bookmarks. I still have a plastic bag from the Boulder Bookstore that I cherish. When I saw the “For Lease” sign in the window, I panicked, thinking that the bookstore had done a Tattered Cover and gotten rid of its upper floors. But I went up the stairs and found everything as it used to be—the windows of the “in-between” floor look out on 11th Street, not on the mall.

I took all these pictures on my cell phone, and as I was editing them I realized some were truly bad. For some reason all the pictures I took of bookstore exteriors were blurry. The interiors turned out better.

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That got me thinking that I’ve never striven for excellence in my cell phone pictures. It’s too basic for excellence—I use it to capture something for FB that I will never think about again or record something as a reminder. The only cell phone pictures that I try to make interesting are food pictures.

When I shoot with my DSLR, I pay attention to the lighting and check the corners for any distracting elements. I work at getting a good composition. But cell phone photography is so easy that I seldom think about making my pictures excellent—or even a little better.

I did get a couple of apps to diversify my cell phone photography. Here’s a Hipstamatic picture of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Which establishments do you remember fondly from the Pearl Street Mall of the 1980s and 1990s?

Leave A Comment

  1. Claire Walter July 20, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Jewelry stores seem to have longevity on Pearl Street. The Little Jewel, just west of Peppercorn, was here when I moved to Boulder ‘in’88. Across the way and down the street is Hurdle’s, which opened in 1947. On West Pearl is Classic Facets. Nearby is the Trident Bookstore & Café.

    • Beth partin July 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks for that! I guess there is always a customer base for jewelry, and those stores have less trouble as rent goes up.