Sunday, February 27, 2011

UPDATE: What a Dump

From Dave Brigham:

I love the immediacy of the Internet. Not long after I originally posted this, one of our loyal followers pointed me toward this web page because she suspected this building is the old O'Hara Waltham Dial Company. One look at the picture there, and I knew she was right. A big Backside thanks to Shuko, proprietress of the wonderful Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts photo blog!

Built in 1897, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. I'm glad to know that one of my original guesses about this building -- that it was either automotive- or watchmaking-related -- turned out to be correct.

Rumford Ave., Waltham #3

Rumford Ave., Waltham #2

I know a guy who lives nearby and he said a developer bought the place a few years back with plans to build condos. I'm not sure if the developer was going to save the building. It's on Rumford Avenue, within sniffing distance of the Newton town dump, so I get the feeling nothing will happen until the housing market catches a big fire.

Rumford Ave., #4

Rumford Ave., Waltham #1

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shuttered Island: Update

Last August, Dave Hill posted about a trip he took to Peddocks Island (see August 27, 2010, "Shuttered Island."). Home to the abandoned Fort Andrews, which was constructed in the late 1800's and active until the end of World War II, the island comprises dozens of rundown buildings that seem to just beg for rehabilitation. Part of the Boston Harbor Islands park system, Peddocks is where Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" was filmed in part.

Well, as part of a new agreement announced last week, roughly half of the island's 30 buildings are going to be rehabbed or at least shored up so they can be restored at a later date. Others will be sacrificed as the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, in tandem with the island alliance organization, take on a project to turn Peddocks into a public campground and, possibly in the future, a location for corporate retreats, a bed and breakfast, and festivals.

Check out this video and article for more about the island's history and its future.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lose, Place or Show

From David Burke:

(These great shots of the former Great Barrington Fairgrounds in Great Barrington, MA, were taken in August 2010 -- Ed.)


Box Seats

View of the Grandstand.

Starting Gate

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Abandoned for Your Amusement

From Dave Brigham:

My amusement park experiences are limited; I spent more time as a kid and teenager at the Simsbury (CT) Volunteer Fire Department's summer carnival than I did walking theme park midways admiring beautiful wooden roller coasters and freak shows. Still, my appreciation for old-time entertainment is real.

I love riding roller coasters and ferris wheels (although the older I get, the less tolerance I have for the spinning rides); eating fried dough; going through haunted houses with my son; watching motocross at county fairs. And when I read about another 100-year-old amusement park being shut down or torn down, I feel sad. Why? I lament the loss of the personal touch that smaller parks offer, the simpler pleasures, the idea that rides don't have to be 10 stories tall and travel at 150 mph to be fun.

I'm a Luddite at heart, one who should have been born in the late '30s or early '40s so I could've enjoyed driving a '57 Chevy to the malt shoppe with my best girl, sneaking friends into the drive-in movies and riding rickety roller coasters and watching the roustabouts sing, fight and ride motorcycles around the Globe of Death.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Check out some great photos and videos of abandoned amusement parks that the folks at trip planner Nile Guide posted.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Up From the Basement?

From Dave Brigham:

Some day the ugly pit formerly known as Filene's in Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood will be filled with something other than gravel, hyperbole and lost dreams.

Construction pit, Boston's Downtown Crossing

Filene's Basement Pit #1

Filene's Basement Pit #2

Anybody else thinking of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Zen of Finding a Barn and a School Bus

From Joe Viger:

Early on the first Saturday of the New Year I struck out with a friend for a day of making pictures. Our stated plan was to shoot Glen Ellis Falls and then see what else we could find of interest in Pinkham Notch. Nothing seemed all that inspiring. After all, in winter, waterfalls are frozen and currently there isn't even the drama of ice because of snow cover. My partner and I were of like minds to wander and see what might happen. We hatched a plan to head to the backside of the Presidential Range and get pictures of Mt. Washington from Bretton Woods.

This is home turf to me. I grew up on the northern slopes of the Presidential Range. The marquee side is south... North Conway, outlet shopping, Mt. Washington views and ski areas. But north, it's Berlin, shut-down paper mills, two prisons, French Canadians, people who work for a living and open space. And a better view of the Presidential Range in my humble opinion (for more on Berlin, see Joe's 6-20-10 post, "The Truth Behind Beautiful Ruins.").

We drove on to Gorham, but didn't stop, turning left on Route 2 to insanely beautiful Randolph. We made images of a couple of interesting summer homes and waited for the clouds to break. We were hoping for a view of Mounts Madison and Adams and the unique perspective of King Ravine you can only get from Randolph Hill, but it never materialized. Snow swirled all the while.

Back in the car, we headed west on Route 2. Mount Jefferson was interesting that day, but too shouded and gray to be worth a shot. I veered left on Valley Road in Jefferson, where my Boy Scout troop used to camp. Valley Road opened to Route 115 and the logical thing would have been to turn left again onto the trade route for retreating southbound tourists. I went straight across 115 almost instinctually on a road I had never driven called Israel River Road. We hit a wonderful open plain called Jefferson Meadows and there it was. In the shadow of finely pointed Cherry Mountain we found what we didn't even know we were looking for.

Cherry Mountain Farm

Schood Bus Recycled - Plant Hanger

Schood Bus Recycled - Hay Loft

Chaos Barn