Friday, December 26, 2014

What's Sadder Than a Closed BBQ Joint?

From Dave Brigham:

I only pulled this door open once, many years ago. I believe I had ribs with baked beans and cole slaw. Or perhaps a pulled-pork sandwich with cornbread and dirty rice. Doesn't matter. What matters is that Jake's Dixie Roadhouse in Waltham, Mass., closed four-and-a-half years ago, and nothing has taken its place.

According to an article in the Daily News Tribune, the restaurant, which was known as Jake & Earl's Dixie BBQ until Earl retired, closed after 10 years due to "family health issues." These days, I get my barbecue from Blue Ribbon in Newton, and, on occasion, Redbone's in Somerville. If Jake & Earl's were open, I'd surely hit that once in a while.

The other retailers in this one-story building, including a florist and a high-end toy store, have also cleared out in recent years. Four years ago, a developer announced that it had bought the building, and announced plans to raze it and construct luxury condos, commercial space and a restaurant. There has been no sign of demolition or construction of late.

I say the developer should open this old restaurant space one last time and let folks in to toast the good times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Palladium Boots: Explorer Series, Episode 1

From Dave Brigham:

I forgot about Palladium Boots, the French company that has associated itself with urban exploration (see October 10, 2010, "Reppin' for the Motor City" and October 21, 2010, "These Boots Were Made for Explorin'," each of which contains a few urbex videos).

The company has enlisted folks from around the world to make short videos "highlighting disused, abandoned, or otherwise little-known areas of their city." Below is the first in the series, which features New York City. The videos focus a little too much on the boots of the hipsters who are walking around, but I guess that comes with the guerrilla marketing territory.

I'll highlight other videos here once in a while, while I consider how to get in on this action, or at least get Palladium to sponsor my work.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Another Lost City Ghost: UPDATE

From Dave Brigham:

Nineteen months ago I posted about the former Circle Supply building in Watertown, Mass. (see May 13, 2013, "Another Lost City Ghost"). The building was empty at the time (it also once housed the Textile Thread Company, among other companies), but given the amount of redevelopment of once-decrepit sites in the neighborhood of late, I figured it was only a matter of time before a developer snapped up this site.

Just outside busy Watertown Square and close to many bus lines, the building is in the section of town that my wife's brother-in-law accurately dubbed the Lost City (see March 2, 2013, "Rebuilding the Lost City: SECOND UPDATE"). That description isn't as accurate these days.

Well, you know how this is gonna end. I drove by a month ago and discovered that the buildings have been torn down and gravel and dirt fill has been trucked in.

(Remnant of the building's front walk)

(A peek through the fence)

(The reality)

(Here's what the building looked like before the wrecking ball started swinging.)

In searching for information about the razing/redevelopment process, I found a nice informational piece on the web site for Longleaf Lumber, an antique and reclaimed lumber company. Longleaf sourced a number of old-growth Heart Pine timbers from the Circle Supply building, despite interior water damage and the demolition process, according to the company's web site.

Longleaf indicates that the developer's architect places the age of the Circle Supply building around 1925, with several additions being tacked on in ensuing years. Longleaf, however, believes the presence of "such tight-grained Heart Pine beams" suggests that at least part of the building was built prior to 1925.

The web site indicates that approximately 66 residential units, seven live-work spaces and 143 parking spaces will rise on the site.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Signs of Old Times

From Pete Zarria:

(The Red Top Motel, El Dorado, Kansas.)

(Ponca City, Oklahoma)

(Leavenworth, Kansas)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cola Ghost

From Mick Melvin:

This ghost sign is on the side of the Red Rock Tavern on Capitol Avenue in Hartford, CT. According to the bar's web site, the tavern has changed names a few times over the years, but has been in business for more than 80 years.

Red Rock Cola was a product of the Red Rock Company, which was established in Atlanta in 1885. The first beverage the company distributed was actually ginger ale, according to the web site for beverage distributor Pipeline Brands. Red Rock produced Afri-Cola for many years in the early 20th century as well, according to the CokeGirl web site.

Red Rock experimented with many other flavors over the years, but it wasn't until 1938 that Red Rock Cola hit the market, according to Pipeline Brands.

Red Rock Cola was the only soft drink endorsed by Babe Ruth, which he did in 1938. The cola was distributed in most of the US, but sales declined in the late 1950's. The company soon disappeared in the states and little is known about the circumstances.

Fortunately, the formula was preserved and the cola was produced in the Dominican Republic by the Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana. Red Rock has been distributed in many countries in Latin America, including Venezuela, Panama, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The soft drink was reintroduced to the states in the 1980's in Alabama and has since established distribution centers in Georgia. The Georgia center distributes the beverage to Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah. The beverage can also be purchased online.

I'm not sure if you can get a Red Rock Cola at the Red Rock Tavern in Hartford, but I'll let you know on my next visit.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whitey Wuz Here

From Dave Brigham:

Boston's Castle Island, home to Fort Independence and many other fortresses over the centuries, has a great military history, but whenever I hang out there I can't help but think of Whitey Bulger.

Bulger, the gangster who ran South Boston for two decades before going on the lam in late 1994, used to walk around Castle Island with his right-hand man, Kevin Weeks, in order to avoid surveillance bugs. I love the pictures of Bulger in his dorky white Red Sox hat, t-shirt tucked into old-man jeans, and white sneakers. He looks so harmless. He was anything but.

No man is an island, they say, certainly not Whitey, who thought he could get away with multiple murders, racketeering and drug dealing. Bulger was on the run for 16 years, his time finally running out in Santa Monica, CA, in the the summer of 2011.

Despite its name, Castle Island is no longer an island, as it was connected to the mainland by a roadway long ago. My son, Owen, loves to spot planes there as they arrive at and depart from Logan Airport, which is right across the harbor. I take the occasional picture of planes, but mostly I scan for unusual things.

(Signal Corps building. I suppose the place is used for storage, but it evidently has other uses. I found a story in the Boston Globe's online archive about Bulger's capture in June 2011, in which an anonymous guy playing cribbage in the building is quoted as saying he hoped that with the gangster's capture, the FBI would come out with the full truth about Bulger's role as a government informant.)

(The U.S. Engineer Department doesn't exist any more. I believe it was renamed the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. This marker is on the sidewalk that circles Fort Independence, right next to the green wrought-iron fence that prevents people from falling into the harbor. If I'm reading this correctly, it's telling me that I'm 16.23 feet above sea level.)

(On a recent trip to the island with my kids, the tide was pretty low, so we walked among the refuse that washed up on the small beach below the walkway. We saw this dead seagull.)

(We also saw some cool pieces of driftwood, the second of which below looks like it was once part of the rotting pier you see in the background of the shot.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bunker Down

From Dave Brigham:

While on a quick trip to Portland, Maine, at the end of the summer (see October 13, 2014, "Portlandia"), we spent a few hours on Peaks Island. Just a short ferry ride from Portland's Old Port, the island is a beautiful respite with wonderful old homes, a few shops and restaurants, an incredible beach filled with an amazing number of cairns, and much more.

Here are some of the cairns.

Along with our hosts, we spent quite a bit of time exploring the dozens and dozens of rock sculptures. We even built a few of our own.

From the beach, we headed to dinner using the golf carts that are ubiquitous on the island. As we passed one great house after another, each with fantastic views of the ocean, I was surprised to see an old military bunker in somebody's front yard.

I didn't get a very good shot, because I wasn't ready and because we were cruising along at a pretty good clip in the golf cart. There are other bunkers and installations around the island, as Peaks was fortified to some degree during World War II. Read this link to find out a bit more about the island's military past, and to see a few photos.

I'd love to explore this little gem in the future, as the island was also once known as the Coney Island of Maine.

Monday, October 13, 2014


From Dave Brigham:

Beth and I took the kids to Portland, Maine, recently via Amtrak's Downeaster train. It's a trip we'd been talking about for quite some time, and while we were only there overnight, we had a lot of fun. We didn't have a car, so we walked quite a bit around the Old Port, a great part of town filled with restaurants, bars, shops and cool buildings.

Here are some rotting pier pilings near the ferry terminal:

This is the former headquarters of the Grand Trunk Railroad (yes, I'll post a video below from Grand Funk Railroad). According to the web site for the Maine Irish Heritage Trail, this building was also once used by companies including H & A Allan Line Steamers, White Star-Dominion Line Steamers, International Mercantile Marine Co. and the Cunard Line.

I love this building, the former Workingmen's Club. According to the Maine Irish Heritage Trail web site, a club "was needed where the longshoremen and railroad workers (the vast majority were Irish) could gather to stay out of the cold and out of the saloons when not working. The Workingmen's Club's nature, it was said, was of temperance and total abstinence. It was built for the 'men of brawn, muscle and industry' who numbered a thousand in 1905, men employed by the Grand Trunk Railroad, the English steamers, and New York & Boston steamship lines."

I think it's great that this sign was kept when this building was rehabbed in 2000. According to, the sign "was painted sometime after 1924, since a photo from that year shows a different style sign. (During the renovation) a request was made to the Historic Preservation Committee to create new window openings on this wall. The request was granted and the windows were placed to avoid a major impact to the sign."

Here's some Grand Funk Railroad:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fodor's Doesn't List These NYC Sites

From Dave Brigham:

I'm due for a trip to New York City. In the last 10 years, I've been there half a dozen times or so, but it's been a few years since my last visit. In recent years, I've gone with my wife and kids, and managed to take a few Backside photos while I was there, such as this one:

And this one:

Also this:

Until my next trip, I'll have to be satisfied with checking out this cool feature from Atlas Obscura.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Season of the Witch Hazel

From Dave Brigham:

After a long, traffic-clogged ride on Route 9 down the spine of south central Connecticut, my family and I pulled into the parking lot for the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. As we did, I noticed a water tower off to the right, in front of the most impeccably kept abandoned buildings I've ever seen.

Given the "Dickinson's Witch Hazel" sign on the tower, though, I'm not sure if the tank once held water, or the curative potion that was once manufactured in the town of Essex.

Witch hazel seems like it should have gone the way of Alexander's Liver & Kidney Tonic and Iowna Brain & Nerve Tonic (actual historical products!). Native Americans discovered how to boil witch hazel stems and use the resulting potion to treat inflammation and tumors hundreds of years ago. Eventually, American colonists got hip to the hazel, and began making and selling the stuff. They still do.

For a decent history of the stuff, read this article.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make Mine Paint

From Dave Brigham:

In 1870, somebody discovered a yellow ochre deposit in Lexington, Massachusetts. Well, I'm sure other folks (read: Native Americans) knew about it before then, but in 1870 a person or persons stumbled across it and formed the Boston and Lexington Paint Company, which, from what I've read online, was a short-lived venture.

I stumbled across the paint mine, as the conservation area is known, on Google Maps. I didn't know what I was looking for when I hiked through it with my son earlier this summer. We didn't find the mine, although there are remnants of it, according to the town of Lexington web site.

We had a nice hike, saw a deer and searched high and low for whatever a yellow ochre deposit looks like. We came across this old foundation, but I have no idea what the history is behind it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Holy Resurrection!

From Mick Melvin:

While traveling on Route 84 to visit my then fiancé (now wife), I spotted a cross high up on a hill going through Waterbury, CT. That was about eight years ago, and I have been fascinated by it ever since.

I asked my fiancé about it and she told me it was connected to a theme park. I was surprised to hear that Holy Land USA was once a thriving amusement park in the 1960’s and '70’s. The property is now run down and has been vandalized badly.

The park is comprised of a mini Bethlehem, a chapel and replicas of catacombs, villages, the Garden of Eden, and many other statues. Most of the attractions are destroyed or in serious disrepair (I drove past this place countless times as a kid, and always wondered what it looked like; wish I'd visited -- DB).

The park was a closed in 1984 and was to be renovated and expanded. The original owner, John Baptist Greco, passed away in 1986 and that never happened.

The property was left to the Filippini Sisters, a religious order of nuns. The sisters tried to revitalize the park, but have since sold the property to Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary and car dealer Fred "Fritz" Blasius. They plan to revitalize the property. The first thing they did was install a new illuminated 50-foot cross, replacing the original 56-foot cross.

I didn't get many great shots because of the huge "No Trespassing" sign, but I plan on revisiting this site to get some better shots. (Here's a recent article about the renovation, and cool photos of what the place looks like now -- DB).

One additional fun fact (this is for you, Dave), is that the Flaming Lips recorded a video for the song, "Unconsciously Screamin’," in 1990 at the site.

(I DO love that fun fact! Here's the video -- DB)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What's In a Named Building (Part 4)?

From Dave Brigham:

My son loves trains, as I've mentioned on this blog before. He used to be all about the Boston subway, but recently he's discovered commuter and Amtrak trains. So, whereas we used to take trips under the Hub, nowadays on weekends we venture outside the city so he can make videos and I can take pictures in the neighborhood.

Recently we trekked out to Framingham, Mass., where I spied this cool named building.

Built in 1905, the Bullard Building houses stores, restaurants and offices, and sits right across from the train station.

More recently, we went to North Andover to spot some trains. In between sightings of an incredibly long freight train and a commuter train, we shot over to Lawrence, a great old mill town.

I was overwhelmed with the vastness of the mill buildings, some restored, some in process, and many awaiting their fate. I didn't have a lot of time, but shot a few named buildings, as well as other structures, which I featured two weeks ago (see May 31, 2014, "Lawrence of Massachusetts").

I had no idea when I shot the Pemberton Mill building that its predecessor had a violent and tragic past.

The original building, constructed in 1853, collapsed just seven years later, killing as many as 145 workers, mostly young women. The cause was found to be faulty iron pillars, which most likely gave way due to extra equipment the owners had brought in. Here's the New York Times article from that day.

The building that stands today was built shortly after the tragedy.

The George E. Kunhardt Corp. manufactured woolen and worsted goods for men. The company's namesake passed away in 1932; the company went bankrupt during the Great Depression. The building now houses offices and a function hall.

Built in 1909, the Ayers Mills building now houses a New Balance outlet store.

Here are the previous three installments of my named buildings series:

Number 3

Number 2

Number 1

I'll post other named building stuff as time goes on.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lawrence of Massachusetts

From Dave Brigham:

Scenes from Lawrence, Mass.

(Founded in 1944 to serve the industrial paper and food service markets, J.J. Levis Paper Co. merged several years ago with Crusader Paper.)

(This building is being renovated; the reflection shows a project across the Merrimack River called Monarch Lofts that is being turned from old mills into loft apartments.)

(Fun with color at an old mill building. This place most recently housed a Habitat for Humanity Restore, which sells discount building materials, furniture and appliances.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another Link in the Chain

From Dave Brigham:

Nice spot for a restaurant, don'tcha think?

Designed by prominent American architect H.H. Richardson (Boston's Trinity Church, Chicago's Marshall Field store), this old train station in Framingham, Mass., has been empty for a while. Over the years there have been many restaurants there, but they've had a hard time making it in a huge building with little parking.

But local restaurateurs Don and Daryl Levy are in the process of turning it into the third spot in their "Deluxe" chain. The Levys have owned Watertown's Deluxe Town Diner for years; a few years ago they opened the Deluxe Station Diner in Newton Center's beautiful old train station, which was designed in the Richardson style by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.

Slated to open this month, the Deluxe Depot Diner will serve all-day breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. I've been to both the Watertown and Newton diners, and can say they're pretty good spots. So I look forward to hitting this spot in the near future.

I hope that by the time I get there, they've cleared this stuff off the back stairs.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's In a Named Building (Part 3)?

From Dave Brigham:

In December, I posted the first part of my Named Buildings series (see December 26, 2013, "What's In a Named Building? (Part 1)"). In March, I put up part two (see March 13, 2014, "What's In a Named Building? (Part 2)"). That post featured several buildings on the south side of Beacon Street in Brookline, Mass.

This installment features buildings from the north side of that street.

I was unable to find out anything about this building.

Or this building.

Or this one.

Or this one. Bummer.

Stoneholm is my favorite building in Greater Boston. Built in 1907, it features 32 units with "soaring ceilings, rich crown molding and magnificent European crystal chandeliers," according to the building manager's web site. Despite its style and elegance (and price tag), I like to picture silent film stars living here in faded opulence, alongside down-at-the-heel bluebloods.

Again, no info.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Urbex Dream Turns to Nightmare

From Dave Brigham:

Brooklyn native Bob Diamond realized every urban explorer's dream when he rediscovered the Atlantic Avenue tunnel in his hometown in 1980. Built in 1844 as part of the Long Island Railroad, the tunnel was sealed shut in 1861. The tunnel was allegedly used in the 1920's to grow mushrooms, and opened in the 1940's so the FBI could hunt for Nazis. But after that, people forgot about it, and efforts to locate the tunnel were fruitless.

Through hard work, determination and smarts, Diamond found the tunnel. He led tours there for 28 years. Then his license to guide people through the tunnel was revoked.

That's the short version. Read Diamond's story here. If you'd prefer, you can watch the 9-minute video that's embedded in the story. I suggest doing both.

Monday, April 14, 2014


From Dave Brigham:

A few weeks ago I drove with a friend from my home just outside Boston to Springfield, MA, to see a museum exhibit about art forgery. Neither of us knows the city very well, but we found the Springfield Museums without too much trouble, and drove around the corner to park. I got out of the car and looked across the street at a somewhat imposing building and chuckled to myself.

My dad, who was born in Orange, New Jersey but grew up in Springfield, had the YMCA running through his veins before he passed away earlier this month. I knew right away when I spied this building that he had spent a good amount of time there as a kid and young man.

Built in 1915, the former YMCA at 122 Chestnut Street, is now an apartment building. A new Y building was constructed years ago a short distance away. My father went to the YMCA as a kid, and over the years told my brother, sister and me all about the mentors he had there, and how he worked in Y camps as a young man.

When we were kids, my brother and I joined the Indian Guides, a Y-affiliated group similar to the Boy Scouts. After my dad retired from 34 years of teaching, one of the many volunteer gigs he had was teaching archery at a YMCA near my parents' house in Simsbury, CT.

When I saw the YMCA building, I thought, "What a cool coincidence," but seeing as how I found myself there two weeks before my father died, I've begun to think of it as something deeper. And I'm not the kind of guy who normally believes in signs of this sort.

After my friend Jim and I had lunch at the Student Prince Cafe-The Fort Dining Room, an oddly named place that has the most incredible German beer stein collection you'll ever see, we strolled back toward the museum.

On the way, we passed a cool old building that used to house the Worthy Hotel (aka the Hotel Worthy). Built in 1895, the hotel has been an apartment building for many years. I love this sign:

I hope to get back to Springfield in the near future to explore more cool buildings, and to learn a bit more about the city that helped shape the great man who was my father. Rest in peace, dad.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beat Hotel

From Dave Brigham:

My parents moved to Windsor, Connecticut, several years ago, but I just noticed this place on a recent visit. My son and I were walking around the town center, killing time in between Amtrak trains (he loves to railfan). There were a few cars in the back parking lot, and evidence that perhaps somebody was living/staying there. But I don't think it's open for business.

There are numerous hotels right off the highway, closer to Bradley International Airport, so I imagine this place slowly got squeezed out. I have no idea when it opened or shut down.

I chose the title for this post without knowing what the Beat Hotel was. So I looked it up:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Love Your Mother

From Mick Melvin:

You never know what you're going to see in New England. I spied this custom ride at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT.

I was at the beautiful historic park attending a weekly music concert during the summer of ’11. The truck belonged to a young couple who had attended the concert. It was something out of a Grateful Dead concert. All that was missing was someone saying, “I’m looking for one ticket.”

The young lady was even selling handmade jewelry. She and my wife went on to have a conversation about eating organic and the benefits of organic food consumption.

No matter the reason for the custom paint job, organic food or the jewelry sales, I love the message from the young couple. I wish that more people kept Mother Earth in their thoughts.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's In a Named Building? (Part 2)

From Dave Brigham:

Late last year I posted the first part of this series (see December 26, 2013, "What's In a Named Building? (Part 1)"). Today I give you the second part, which really should have been the first, since the buildings here are the ones that inspired this concept. But I didn't focus my camera on these until after I'd taken other pictures of named buildings.

Stick around for part three in the near future, and most likely others as the year goes along.

Beacon Street in Brookline, Mass., has some fantastic old apartment buildings. Known as "French flats," they were apartment hotels designed for permanent residents, according to the city of Brookline's official web site. Originally the buildings' residents included doctors, lawyers, publishers and other upper middle class types.

These days these buildings -- many of which have highfalutin or Waspy names -- have mostly lost their glamour, but they still look OK. Some are under construction, others, like my favorite, Stoneholm, still look fantastic. Here are some buildings from the street's south side, between Washington Square and Coolidge Corner. The next installment will feature buildings from the street's north side in the same area.

(Majestic -- have been unable to find out anything about this place, the first one I walked past.)

(Bonair -- look at that awful entryway! "Bonair" means "good air," but I bet they don't get much with that monstrosity hanging over the entrance. Designed by Arthur H. Bowditch, the building at 1477-1483 Beacon St. was built by Abram and Jenny Bilafsky of Boston, according to documents from the city of Brookline. The building has two wings, the second of which was known as the Kenmoir.)

(Empire -- this building suffered a fire in January 2012, and is currently being renovated.)

(Royal -- contains "several studio, 1BR, 2BR and 4BR apartments, each carefully restored to maintain their original elegance," according to the property manager's web site.)

(Pembroke -- can't find anything about this building.)

(Imperial -- just love the attempt to cover up an awesome old sign with a ridiculous new one, which obviously isn't that new, because the "B" in "Beacon Plaza" has flipped upside down. Evidently this is a "guest house" of some sort. It has received some pretty negative reviews online. Sad.)

(Metropole -- little information available about this one. As for the word, Wikipedia says: "The metropole, from the Greek metropolis for 'mother city' is the British metropolitan centre of the British Empire, i.e. the United Kingdom itself.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Swedish Car Cemetery

From Dave Brigham:

Every once in a while the blog ventures outside U.S. borders. In this case, to an auto graveyard in Sweden. Check out these pictures, and the video below:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sign, Sign, Everwhere a Sign

From Pete Zarria:

The World is not Enough

(Superior, Wisconsin)

Standard Oil Mast

(Yukon, Oklahoma)

Starlite, Star Bright

(La Crosse, Wisconsin)

A Neon Gem

(Lebanon, Tennessee)


(Davenport, Iowa)

This Way to Woods Cafe

(Mercer, Wisconsin)

The Palace

(Gallatin, Tennessee)

Orchard Hill Liquor

(Lebanon, Missouri)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Old Road

From lostlosangeles:

Oil Futures II

(Abandoned section of old I-95 in Newburyport, Mass.)

For shots of another abandoned highway section in Massachusetts, see January 24, 2011, "End of the Road."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Last Building Standing

From Dave Brigham:

Boston's West End was wiped off the map in the late 1950's and early '60's to make way for The Future, and it was a huge mistake.

Once densely packed and relatively low-slung the way Boston's North End still is, the West End was considered a slum, and so it was bulldozed to make way for low- and middle-income high rises. Those tall, ugly, spread-out buildings make up Charles River Park, and are now home mostly to luxury dwellers, according to the West End Museum.

Oddly, though, there is one building left from the old West End.

Located directly behind a General Service Administration federal building and very close to the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and Celtics) and spitting distance from the Leverett down-ramp from I-93, this building has four floors and is covered on two sides by a revolving series of billboards.

I'm not sure if each floor is a residence, or if there are offices there. I spied four cars on the property when I walked by. One of the cars doesn't look like it's moved since Larry Bird was running the parquet at the old Boston Garden.

There are two stories circulating online about why this building was spared when hundreds all around it were razed. The least interesting of the two has it that the building's tenants simply refused to leave, and the city didn't want to deal with having to haul them out. Seems to me residents of other buildings would have done the same thing, so why was this structure spared?

The other theory about why this building became the sole surviving connection to Boston's more squalid past involves the Mob. The owner of the building reportedly was the bookie of one-time Boston mobster Jerry Angiulo, and had connections to local officials and because of this, somehow he was allowed to keep his building. Maybe he had dirt on local pols, who knows.

Neither of these stories is particularly satisfying, and I don't believe either. Somebody tell me the truth!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Light It Up!

From Pete Zarria:


(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Looking for El Dorado

(El Dorado, Kansas)

Weather Bird

(Joplin, Missouri)

Lone Ranger

(Carthage, Missouri)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fade to Black

From Dave Brigham:


Thirty years ago, this marquee read:


My friends and I were in high school, and drove the 15 miles from our hometown to check out these ridiculously awesome, R-rated raunchfests. Through a little research, I learned that "The Senior Snatch" originally hit theaters and drive-ins in 1978 as "Surfer Girls," and "Eager Beavers" was released in 1975 as "The Swinging Barmaids."

The East Hartford Drive-in was actually in South Windsor, Connecticut, on Route 5. The East Windsor Drive-In was six miles up the road. I don't recall if we went to the latter, but I know we also checked out movies at the old Hartford Drive-in, the Berlin Drive-in (X-rated) and Rogers Corner drive-in. Other fantastic titles we saw included "Slumber Party Massacre" and "Last House On the Left."

The East Hartford Drive-in opened in 1954, and closed in 1984, according to the CinemaTour web site. My parents moved a few miles away from here several years ago. When I was visiting them around the holidays last year, I thought about the old drive-ins, but didn't get around to checking into it.

After doing a little research, I learned that the East Windsor theater had been turned into condos, but that there were remnants of the East Hartford place. So this past Thanksgiving, I set out from my parents' house to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to find, and how easy it was to walk around the site. I didn't spot one "No Trespassing" sign.

Here's more of what I found:

Unspooled.... Unspooled.... Unspooled.... Unspooled....

For more derelict drive-in movie theaters, see November 9, 2012, "Drive-out" and April 24, 2010, "Cars, Flicks & Weiners."

Friday, January 3, 2014

Maui Wowee

From lostlosangeles:

I'm excited to publish the Backside's first photo of Hawaii, especially in light of the blizzard we just had in the Northeast. -- DB.

Solving for Ex

(Abandoned high school, Maui, Hawaii.)