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The Esplanade

The Spirit of Tehachapi


A decade or more back, when I first saw the construction/renovation of Green St., with colorful road tiles on the intersections, newly designed street signs, and an added "first for Tehachapi," a one way street, I thought, "What next?" Why does Tehachapi think they need a one way street?

A few years back I used to drive a senior citizen to the Post Office each day at ten o'clock in the morning. Actually, we were both senior citizens but he was just more senior than I by some fifteen years. I speak of the late, Monsignor Francis J. Pointek who lived past his hundredth birthday. He would tell me on the way home from the P.O., "Let's go down the esplanade" which was his name for the two block part of Green Street.

He liked the diagonal parking which was once the only way everyone parked in the "old days." Both of us loved the murals on the two block long sojourn. With a little imagination we could recall the pre-earthquake businesses that used to line the streets: The Juanita Hotel, Squires Drug Store, Joe Sola's Barbershop, The Round Up Bar, Lange's Electric, BeeKay Theatre, Bank of Tehachapi, Henry's Café, Lottie Lee's, Bandhauer's Market, Summit Hotel and Clark Hotel. That's just one block. There was a pool hall in mid-block but since I was not a pool shark, I never knew the name of the establishment.

We enjoyed the murals, beginning with the BeeKay Mural with a line of patrons standing, waiting to buy a ticket to see the latest movie. The best part of the movie, for us, was the painted faces of those standing in line which were exact likenessess of the person they represented. Colleen Mitchell Veyna took a blank wall and brought it to life. She waved her magic wand (brush) and created the images of our old friends. The only thing I regret about the BeeKay Mural is that one needs to look over their left shoulder to glimpse it while driving by.

As we proceeded down the "esplanade," looking toward the right we enjoyed looking at the Kawaiisu Indian Mural and the magic, once again, of Colleen Mitchell Veyna's brush. She has inserted the likeness of Harold and Emma Williams, and Andy Greene; all recognizable at first sight.

The historical Airmail Commemorative Flight painted by the talent of Mark Pestana gets us into the next block. Even the likeness of the pilot, Harry Beauford, Jr. is, according to his surviving brother Don Beauford, "a dead ringer likeness."

The Monsignor and I could have turned left on F Street and seen the Monolith Mural on the left as well as Avelino Martinez astride his horse, on the right. We could also have made a "cook's tour" and hit Main Street (Tehachapi Boulevard) for the Centennial Mural. This would be the Centennial of Tehachapi's Incorporation in 1909, not the Founding date in 1876.

Now, many years of driving down the lately appointed two block passage, I agree with Monsignor Pointek (R.I.P.) that the Green Street face lift was a great idea. Also, I will forever remember his having named those two blocks the "Esplanade."

It gives it "class!"


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