Early morning on High Street

Standing under the veranda of the old Johnston building, built in 1896, we look out towards another old timer, the Junction Hotel, built in 1880 replacing a wooden structure. In the days of dirt roads and horse carts a water trough and hitching rails were sited in front. Behind the building were livery stables and an old corrugated iron shed which served as the town morgue.

The two storied brick building is finished in Oamaru stone with heavy gables and a balcony overhanging the footpath.  If an important person should visit the town, they would speak from the balcony while people gathered to listen below, a lady by the name of Mrs Harrison Lee spoke from the balcony on the evils of drink.

It was three minutes past three in the afternoon on Christmas Day in 1922, the lazy hour after Christmas dinner, when an earthquake struck. The heavy stone façade of the Junction Hotel came down through the balcony on to the road and several plate glass windows shattered along High Street. The stone façade was never replaced and ironically today the building is closed due to the recent earthquakes - its fate remains unknown.

To the right of the Junction Hotel there is a gap where another old building, the Pulley's building has recently been demolished because of earthquake damage. Since the earthquakes fences have gone up which has reduced High Street to a one way street for traffic, businesses have suffered and will continue to do so as access is limited, some have closed while others have relocated.

High Street is part of my One Street series.  

More High Street - One Street Challenge shots

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