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Honaker Inc.jpg

For decades, the Honaker photo shop was located at 416 9th St.

Editor’s Note: This is the 359th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

UNTINGTON — In the 1930s, when C. Frank Honaker opened his photo shop, the Brownie was the most popular camera in the world.

Introduced by Kodak in 1900, the Brownie — named for a popular comic strip of the day — was a simple leatherette-covered cardboard box with a lens. It was priced so cheaply that anyone, not just professionals or people of means, could own and use it.

In 1963, Kodak came out with its Instamatic, an inexpensive easy-to-use camera that introduced a new generation to the fun of taking snapshots. It proved an instant success, with millions sold.

But no matter whether you used a Brownie or an Instamatic, after you snapped your shots, you had to take your film somewhere to have it developed and prints made. For many Huntington shutterbugs over the years that “somewhere” was Honaker Inc. at 416 9th St.

For decades, Honaker’s sold everything a photographer, whether an amateur or a professional, would need, along with such other items as binoculars, picture frames, photo albums and scrapbooks. It also advertised “expert camera repair service.” In its early years, the shop offered a number of non-photo items, including books and magazines, greeting cards and stationery. It even had a lending library of books.

In a 1978 interview in the Huntington Advertiser, Gladys Pack and Gladys Pelphrey told reporter Steve Byers they had been processing and printing photographs at the Honaker shop for more than 30 years. In its heyday, the shop promised that if you brought your film in by 3 p.m. it would be ready for you the next day at 9 a.m. In the 1980s, Honaker’s Photo Hut briefly operated as a drive-up location at 5th Avenue and 29th Street.

Today, if you carry a smart phone around, you always have a handy camera with you. Which helps explain why businesses such as Honaker Inc. aren’t around anymore.

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