Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cat Rock, Part II

From Dave Brigham:

After thoroughly exploring Cat Rock, the old skill hill in Weston, Mass., I scampered down the hill and into the surrounding woods (see July 27, 2012, "Cat Rock, Part I").

I had a nice hike around a small pond, through some verdant fields and past beautiful old trees. But what did I end up taking pictures of?

Rocket? Outside office Junk, close up Old...something-or-other

These pictures are from some sort of industrial/corporate garbage dump at the fringe of Cat Rock Park.

Cellar hole

This is a cellar hole that's across a small brook from the baseball field at the bottom of the old ski hill.

For more on Cat Rock, see May 21, 2012, "Graffiti Week, Part I."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cat Rock, Part I

From Dave Brigham:

My buddy Ray hipped me to the New England Lost Ski Area Project web site a while ago. A few months ago, I was poking through the site when I realized there was an old ski hill about 15 minutes from my home.

Located in tony Weston, Mass., the terrifically named Cat Rock is short and steep. It's situated behind a baseball field, and is surrounded by some nice hiking trails.

Although the hill closed in the late '70s, there are still remnants of its heyday in the woods lining the slope.


(The hill)


(Rope tow ballast)

Rope tow

(Rope tow towers)


(Base for the rope tow, at the top of the hill)

You are here

(Under the tow base are the geographic coordinates, which I think is so cool)

Cat Rock is also the place where I found one of the most vivid examples of graffiti in my short time as a photographer. To see pictures of the tagging I found on the ski hill's old snack shack, see May 21, 2012, "Graffiti Week, Part I."

For lots of personal remembrances of the hill, and some more photos new and old, check out this section of the New England Lost Ski Area Project web site.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Going Up... Waaaay Up

From Mick Melvin:

On one of my many trips around the state of Connecticut, I came across an impressive structure in Bristol. It is just down road from ESPN and right next to Lake Compounce Amusement Park. When I first came across the building, I thought it was part of Lake Compounce. As I drove towards the structure, which actually towers over everything in the area, I realized that it was not part of the amusement park.


The building is the Otis Test Tower for the Otis Elevator Company. Otis tower is a 38-story, windowless skyscraper and the company’s quality assurance testing site. The building actually looks out of place in the suburbs among the scenery in the area. Three hundred eighty-three feet tall, the building houses elevator shafts that test all major components of the elevators. It is the tallest test elevator in the United States.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taggers' Paradise

From Dave Brigham:

I lived in Boston's West Roxbury section several years ago, and played baseball in the adjacent Hyde Park neighborhood, so I was familiar with the area's Stony Brook Reservation. But on a recent drive through the reservation I took a route I'd neglected in the past, and discovered a sad and abused recreation center.

This was my first view of the defunct Thompson Center, as I drove by:

Just the beginning

I couldn't see the graffiti from the road, but because the driveway leading into the center was fenced off, I knew I'd find something of interest.

I found way more than I was expecting.

Tagged One Five One

The center opened in 1977, according to information I've found online, and was the first in New England designed specifically to accommodate handicapped visitors. The facility was shuttered in 2002 and it has since been defaced and vandalized to the point that the state's Department of Recreation and Conservation has considered demolishing the site.

From the DCR's Resource Management Plan for Stony Brook Reservation:

Heavily vandalized both inside and out, the Thompson Center is not sealed to the elements. Removal of the chimney, repair of the roof sheathing, replacing the roof, and replacing wall caps are needed to seal this structure. This building is not in use. There are numerous ancillary structures, including wooden walls and an inoperative spray pool associated with this building. All are in poor condition.

The isolation of the Thompson Center from other Reservation facilities and from the view of neighbors and passers-by has also made it an attractive nuisance. Many of the Thompson Center’s needed repairs were caused by extensive vandalism to the building. This site may no longer be appropriate for a building and recreational facilities.

I was a little leery of going inside the center. On a previous visit the week before, I'd come across two teens frolicking just outside the place, and I could hear them shaking up spray paint cans. I had no idea if people hung out here on a regular basis, or were perhaps even squatting inside.

But I had to push through that door.

Mess Torn apart

Quite the disaster area, I'd say.

The grounds aren't in much better shape.

Broken bench Porn Infamous

This place must have been a blast for kids of all abilities during its heyday. There was a spray park...

Graffiti cannons No More H2O

...and a wading pool.

Tagged pool

Now there are just illiterate taggers leaving behind nihilistic messages.

Let's Get High

For more on tagging, see our recent week-long series:

Here's the link to the final installment; at the bottom of that post, you can find links to the other five.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Game Over

We cover a lot of ground here on the Backside, from abandoned train stations to old aqueducts, ghostly gas stations to dilapidated ski lodges.

Many of these places speak to lost jobs, broken lives and raise more questions than answers. But I find extra sadness in places where children once laughed and played that have been abandoned or forgotten. Below are photos from five members of the Backside Gang -- DB.

Like a hurricane

(Photo by Kristen Smith, Bedford Golfland, NH. For more of Kristen's photos, check out her blog.)

Torn leather Bent batting cage

(Photos by Dave Brigham, Newton, MA)

Hole in one free game

(Photo by lostlosangeles, Los Angeles, CA)

Wiggly Lines

(Photo by Mick Melvin, Simsbury, CT)


(Photo by Mick Melvin, New Britain, CT)

Evergreen Valley Pool

(Photo by Joe Viger, Stoneham, ME. For more of Joe's photos, check out his web site.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fill 'Er Up, Part II

From Pete Zarria:

Here are some more great shots of vintage gas stations. For the first part of Pete's set of filling depots, see June 6, 2012, "Fill 'Er Up."

4 Women

(Along Kansas 66, I wish i would have had the time to go in, it looks pretty cool.)

Texas Company

(This is a display in front of a business in Moline, Illinois. The really interesting thing was the Toledo air fill there. It's pretty old and very rare. One had to set a weight like on a scale (its Toledo Scale, naturally) then pump the air. When they equalized, it shut off.)

Dirty Deco

(The front of an old Art Declo style gas station. Cambridge, Illinois.)