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Downtown Inverness

Is this a reenactment, or the real thing?

Courtesy of anne t. kent california room

JUDGING BY THE clarity of this photo, one could think, “How nice: a modern-day reenactment of life in the early 1900s.” Not so. “This is the real McCoy,” says Laurie Thompson, librarian at the Marin Free Library’s Anne T. Kent California Room. “This photograph of Attilio Martinelli’s Inverness Store was taken in 1909, and that’s Attilio himself, in the foreground, talking to an unidentified occupant of the horse-drawn buggy.” According to West Marin historian Dewey Livingston, the Inverness Store opened in 1900, collapsed in the 1906 earthquake, and was rebuilt and “reopened for business within a couple of months.” Note the front porch sign indicating that a telephone, newfangled at the time, is available inside. “Mr. Martinelli’s building in Inverness still stands,” Livingston adds, “and the street in front of it is today’s Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.” Why is this photo so clear? “It’s from a glass plate negative donated to the library by history aficionado Jeff Craemer,” Thompson says, “and we developed it on our Epson flatbed scanner.”

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