Seaside History

The Roaring Twenties on Broadway

May 8, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Broadway was absolutely buzzing with commerce and activity back in the dynamic 1920s.  Just like in our current era, Seaside’s downtown provided a charming mercantile hub that drew throngs of visitors and locals alike. This photo captures the view looking west down Broadway from the historic Gilbert District blocks, just past the intersection at Holladay. In the 1920s, this section of Broadway allowed two lanes of traffic, and also provided plenty of extra space to park your Ford Model T (which had a significantly narrow build compared to many of our modern day automobiles). As you can see, our Seaside predecessors in the 1920s were quite adept at parallel parking on Broadway – a skill that seems even more impressive without the luxury of power steering.

Ford Model T’s at this period ran at a slightly unimpressive 10-12 miles per gallon, so cruising the turnaround a few times to show off your sweet ride represented a slightly bigger financial investment in fuel. Fun fact: In 1925 (around the time this photo was taken), a Model T would run you around $260 (that translates to about $3,200 today). It was a big investment for the common consumer, but the roaring twenties were a time of economic abundance and growth – and Seaside was swept up in the exciting boon along with rest of country. This photo is a fabulous testament to the energy of the times. You can almost feel the exciting jazzy hum of prosperity surging up and down Broadway.

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