Voices from Marcy-Holmes

The conversations were taking on May 25th, 2012. The goal of these conversations was to find something out about the neighborhood, whether it was historical, cultural, and/or any noticeable changes to the neighborhood. Any changes to the neighborhood could have included new buildings, parks, or people. All conversations described are as close to the individuals own words and not changed by the author.

The first conversation that day was with a Dunn Bros Coffee employee nicknamed Roaster Paul.

Q: How long have you been working at this establishment?

A: I have been working at Dunn Bros for about 5 years now.

Q: Have you noticed any changes to the community over that time period?

A: I primarily notice the new students that come in here. That includes either a customer or a new employee.

Q: Have you noticed changes in those people that come into the coffee shop?

A: Well, there used to be a lot of crazies [homeless/drunks] that came in here. The shop has definitely changed. The atmosphere of the place used to be more chatty until we were rated by some newspaper or magazine as the best study place outside the university system. Now it is pretty quite. It turned more into a coffee shop rather than a pub. Also, the art on the walls have changed dramatically since the influx of students who create artwork and, if we think it is appropriate, will put it on the wall.   

Q: Is there anything that you would like to add? Something that we may have missed?

A: One of the big things I remember is when the 35W Bridge went down. The coffee shop was in a constant commotion and I noticed a lot of people had changed transportation habits.


The next conversation happened on 2nd Ave. right, one block west of The Soap Factory. His name was Brian, and he was on his way to work.

Q: Have you noticed any changes to the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood?

A: The area has become more affluent. It has become a hipster scene over the past 5-6 years, and it has really shown in the pricing of housing. It is culturally diverse. I am part of a church group that helps with outreach programs, and through that I noticed the other day that the area seems to be really family-centered. Participation in the community happens frequently, and usually happens across cultures.


The first couple we interviewed was Bob and Joanne, Jo for short, and we meet them on Main St.

Q: How long have you been in the area?

A: We have lived in the area for the past 25 years. We ended up moving in when there was nothing really here. We used to live in the building attached to the Riverplace development, which at the time had restaurants, shops, and bookstores. But it closed because there were so few people here during that time. At that time, and where we lived was considered a very unusual way of living.

Q: Can you tell us what some of the people were like here during the time you were first here?

A: Well, there were not a lot of buildings where people could live. It was mainly commercial. However, most of the people were Caucasian. You wouldn’t go out at night though because many of the people down by the river were homeless people or drunks, and it just wasn’t as safe.

Q: Can you tell us any differences in the people then compared to now?

A: There are much fewer drunks and homeless people. Since the area has become more developed, a lot more younger people are here, but we wouldn’t say that has been a large increase in diversification.


The next person we meet was Joseph. He was sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper in the more developed, modern area of Marcy-Holmes.

Q: How long have you been part of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood?

A: I have been here for about 12 years.

Q: What is the biggest change you have noticed in the neighborhood?

A: The area used to be poorer, but now it more trendy . . . upscale. Most of the people are Caucasian, and would call them hipsters. They are younger, college educated . . . starting a family.


The last interview was with a couple whose names were Art and Donna. We found them sitting outside a coffee shop.

Q: What has caused the biggest change in the community since you have been here?

A: The new condo buildings. They have brought more college students into Marcy-Holmes making it younger.

Q: Would you say the culture, the people, is stable or dynamic?

A: We think it is fairly stable. Don’t get us wrong, there are students constantly moving in and out, mainly coinciding with the school schedule. But, the culture has changed a whole lot.


I would like to thank all the people that were willing to give an interview and appreciate the feedback that was given. It has given me a sense of what the neighborhood has underwent in the recent past.


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