6 February

Inside The Coila Garage

by Jon Katz
Fred Bovie
Fred Bovie

I thought the Coila garage looked like a portal to another time, and I was right. This afternoon I walked inside to see what was there and I ran into Fred Bovie, the proprietor of the Coila Garage. I love where I live for many reasons, one of them being that when I walk into a place like the Coila Garage and ask if I can take a photo, Fred Bovie smiles and says, “sure, where do you want me to go?” No one ever asks me they always ask in New York: “what is the photo for? Where is it going?”

Fred, as it happens, knew all about me. That I was living in Florence Walrath’s place, that I had put up a fence and fixed up the house, that Rocky the pony had been put down. It was as if he was waiting for me to walk through the door. Fred opened the Coila Garage in 1951 and he is still going strong, fixing almost any thing on the earth with an engine in it. I was mesmerized by his office which has not changed much, he volunteered, since he first set it up right around the time of the Korean War. It was, in fact, much more magical and wonderful than I had imagined it to be, and I will be back as often as Fred can put up with me. I took some photos of Fred and the Coila Garage and I am putting them up in an album on Facebook.

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