Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Ones That Got Away, Part I

From Dave Brigham:

I wish I had started taking pictures of the Backside of America when I was young, and had started this blog years ago, because there are so many places I've been that I would love to have documented here.

1) The abandoned house on the outskirts of my neighborhood that my friends and I stumbled across when I was a kid. The place was filled with the stuff of everyday life -- clothes, books, dishes, furniture. Seemed as though whoever lived there left in a hurry, or was forced out. Some older kids had found the house before we did, as evidenced by the fact that the place was trashed, everything tossed about, drawers opened and emptied, things torn apart. Not long afterwards, the house was torn down to make way for a condo development. I never found out the story behind that house. It haunts me to this day.

2) The abandoned nursing home in my hometown that I walked through late one night with my friend John and his brother, Backside contributor David Burke, and other folks. I felt like I was walking the set of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

3) The Fraternal Order of the Eagles building I discovered on a back-lot tour during college in Keene, NH. There was nothing remarkable about the building, but just stumbling across it with a few friends as we searched for the "real" Keene was really cool.

4) Various and sundry old diners, junkyards and abandoned houses across the country.

In researching pictures I plan to post separately at this site, I found some information about an old auto manufacturing facility in Waltham, just five minutes from my house. The building stood until just a few months ago, part of a long-abandoned Raytheon facility that's been dug up and is being turned into a BJ's Wholesale Club. I passed the building countless times, and knew it had been part of defense contractor Raytheon (a sprawling complex, parts of which still stand, much of it just weeded-over parking lots). Had I known that some of the buildings dated to the early 1900's and were part of the Metz Autombile factory, I would have snapped some pictures and posted them.

But instead, all I can do is link to this old photo and embed this video:

I'll comb my memory and the Internet and post some more photos, links and remembrances of the ones that got away. Stay tuned.

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