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.