Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Roll the Dice

From Dave Brigham:

By an overwhelming majority last Saturday, voters in Everett, Mass., a hardscrabble city just north of Boston, endorsed Vegas mogul Steve Wynn's $1.2 billion proposal for a gaming resort. I recently took some pictures around the area, which are posted below.

But first, the story....

Developer of Wynn Las Vegas and other resorts including Wynn Macau, Steve Wynn is a titan of the Las Vegas strip. Can he bring his magic to a brownfield site along the long-neglected Mystic River?

Formerly a Monsanto Chemical facility, the 35-acre site will need massive cleanup before construction could begin. Wynn has promised to build a five-star hotel with 551 rooms in a bronze glass tower, according to the Boston Globe. Project plans also include an 18,000-square-foot ballroom and a 100,000-square-foot casino, in addition to a spa, nightclub, restaurants, shops, and an indoor glass “winter garden,” the Globe reported.

Everett's referendum is the first of three slated in eastern Massachusetts in advance of the state gambling commission's decision to award one Greater Boston license, which is expected early next year. By law, only one full resort license for that area will be granted. Wynn is up against proposed developments at the existing Suffolk Downs thoroughbred racetrack that straddles the East Boston-Revere city line, and one being pushed by Connecticut gaming mecca Foxwoods on a site in Milford, Mass., about 35 miles from Boston.

Voters in those areas will go to the polls, although dates haven't yet been set.

This is what the proposed site for Wynn's casino looks like now (photo stolen from the Boston Globe):

And this is what Wynn proposes (stolen from Sports Interaction's web site):

About a month ago I got turned around in Everett, on my way to buy a birthday present for my son, Owen, in the next town over. After I bought the gift, I decided to take some pictures, and headed back for the area of Everett whereI'd mistakenly been earlier.

As it turns out, I was fairly close to the proposed Wynn casino site. I didn't get any pictures of the site, and didn't walk past it. But the photos I took give you a pretty good idea of what the neighborhood is like. The casino would be off of Broadway, which is a main thoroughfare that connects to Boston's Charlestown section.

There is a massive power plant across the street from the site, alongside a wharf where huge cargo ships can be seen. A scrap metal company sits hard by a playground and a diesel injection company. A set of railroad tracks divides the site from a bunch of big box stores.

If the gambling commission awards a license to Wynn, this area will take on a new sheen. But will many of the smaller businesses, such as convenience stores, bars and restaurants, survive? That's always the big question when large retailers and massive casinos come to town. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's what I found on my walk around the area.

Everett Ghost #2

(This building now houses a small textile company.)

Cold storage

(This is one of several vacant buildings on a side street near the proposed casino.)

What are you stairing at?

(Not sure what's up with this.)

La Fanja?

(This place is closed. Not sure what letter the guitar represents.)

Please lease

(Another abandoned building. Not sure if it's being renovated.)

G & T Lounge

(Funny that the "G & T" Lounge advertises Bud, instead of Gordon's or Tanqueray. Notice the pro-Wynn casino sign at the far right of the picture).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Powda House

From Dave Brigham:

A few times a year I drive into the center of Dedham, which has a great array of historic homes and buildings. Incorporated in 1636, Dedham is the county seat of Norfolk County, and borders on Boston's West Roxbury neighborhood. A few years ago I noticed this small building on a gentle rise just outside the town center.

Powder House #1

At first I thought this little structure was located in somebody's backyard. There is a private road off the main drag, and I didn't notice any public access at first. But as so often happens, once I got out of my car and walked up close, I realized there was indeed a little walking path.

I was really happy I took this detour.

Turns out the pint-sized edifice is considered Dedham's most significant historic structure. Known as the Dedham Powder House, the building was erected in 1766 by a Captain Fuller, during the year that the British parliament passed an act stating that the British government had total power to legislate laws in the American colonies.

I guess Fuller knew that eventually colonists were gonna take up arms against the British and would need a place to store arms.

Powder House #2 Powder House #4 Powder House #3

Located near the Charles River, the powder house is made of brick, with a wood roof. According to a recent town master plan update, the building's ownership is complicated, "with the town retaining care and custody of the structure while the land remains under the ownership of the Dedham Historical Society. Due to the secluded location of the Powder House and liability concerns, little work has been undertaken on the building and it has deteriorated over the years."

Still, for a a 247-year-old building, it doesn't look half bad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

UPDATE: Feeling Blue

From Dave Brigham:

I swear I posted something about an old blue garage a few years back, but for the life of me I can't find it. Anyway, here's what this place in Dedham, Mass., looked like up until fairly recently.

Blue garage

Time and progress march on, and now this site looks like this:

Boring building

Does this retail/office building mark an improvement over an abandoned service station? I suppose it does, but it sure is a lot more boring.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Signs That Say "Boo"

From Pete Zarria:

Some cool ghost signs:

Pabst Blue Ribbon Ghost

(Racine, Wisconsin.)

Back in 1844, Jacob Best founded the Best Brewing Co, in Milwaukee. In the 1880's, his daughter was rescued from drowning in the Mississippi River by steam boat pilot, Frederick Pabst. They fell in love and Capt. Pabst went to work for his father-in-law, Jake Best. Eventually, Pabst got the brewery on the death of the founder and changed the name. He left the "B" as homage to his father in law.

Bull Durham

(Pecatonica, Illinois: Bull Durham sign)

Meat Market

(Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin)

Wisconsin's Oldest

(Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin)

From the Land of Sky Blue Waters…

(Superior, Wisconsin: Hamm's Beer)

Furniture Exchange

(Hannibal, Missouri)