Thursday, October 27, 2016

House That Onions Built?

From Rich Morahan:

(I love getting unsolicited material. Today's post comes from my father-in-law, who took the pictures and provided the basic information about the location. I did a little research and writing to flesh it out. -- DB)

Anticipation sets in. You can sense at this point that there's history here.

Sure enough. Located along Pulaski Highway in Pine Island, New York, this place may have been migrant housing at one point. I have driven by it for a decade or two. They never tear anything down around the very prosperous onion capital of the world.

Go ahead, shed a tear.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rockin' in the Dungeon

From Dave Brigham:

I've been wanting to walk through this door for a few years, ever since I stumbled across mention of Dungeon Rock in Lynn, Massachusetts.

After double-checking on the Friends of Lynn Woods web site that the door would indeed be open, I hopped in the car with my kids and made the 40-minute drive from our home. I'm happy that my kids, aged 9 and 14, are at the age where they don't complain too much about doing stuff like this. "It's just a short walk in the woods," I told them, hoping I was right. "And then there's a cool cave."

Turns out, I was right. Following a map kindly provided at the entrance to the park, we walked for maybe 15 minutes through some beautiful forest, before cutting over on a trail heading toward the infamous Dungeon Rock. Up an easy set of stone steps we found our destination.

I don't know the geological history of this spelunkers' paradise, but the Friends of Lynn web site has a fairly detailed account of the area going back to 1658. Here's how that story begins:

"Late in the summer of 1658, a sinister ship appeared in Lynn Harbor. The ship was painted black and flew no flag. Word spread quickly among the citizens of the small town of Lynn, Massachusetts: There were pirates in the harbor! A boat was lowered from the ship, a chest was loaded into the boat, and four oarsmen rowed it toward shore. The boat headed up the Saugus River and landed near the Saugus Iron Works. The next day, workers found a note attached to a door, asking to purchase a supply of shackles, hatchets, shovels, and other tools. The note promised that if the requested tools were manufactured and left at a secret location, then a supply of silver would be left in exchange. The tools were made and paid for as promised."

You can read the rest of the account at the Friends of Lynn Woods web site.

My kids and I ventured cautiously through the door, no clue in our heads about what awaited us. A few feet inside the doorway is a staircase. With my son shining his cell phone flashlight ahead of us, I tentatively started down, my kids right behind me. At the bottom of our short descent, we landed on some somewhat slippery rocks. I took my son's phone and shined the light deeper into the cave. I couldn't see much, but could tell the cave went down more and was much bigger than I'd assumed.

I made the executive decision that although we'd only explored about 20 feet into the cave, we would turn around and head back up. If I'd been on my own, and had a proper flashlight and better footwear, I would've pushed on a bit more.

When I have more time, I'll get back to the Lynn Woods, to check out the stone tower, the rose garden and the wolf pits.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gone Depot

From Dave Brigham:

In a hurry to take pictures of an abandoned municipal pool (see October 10, 2016, "Everyone Out of the Pool!"), I stopped in my tracks at this beautiful mural.

The Faneuil Depot, named for the nearby Faneuil Street (which was presumably named after Peter Faneuil, of the famous hall in Boston), stood on this spot from 1882 until 1962, when it was torn down to make way for the Massachusetts Turnpike. The mural was painted by Joshua Winer on a bridge abutment for that highway, which is a nice touch. For more about the depot and the surrounding area of Boston's Brighton neighborhood, click right here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Everyone Out of the Pool!

From Dave Brigham:

When this municipal pool building in Boston's Brighton neighborhood was built in the 1950's or '60's, the architect didn't scrimp on cool design features. Unfortunately, nobody inspired by this fish can swim at the pool anymore.

Shuttered four years ago due to low attendance, high cost and safety concerns, the pool has been slowly decaying ever since, and probably for a while before it closed.

There are other public pools and spray parks not too far away, with more parking and better locations than the Brighton pool, which is squeezed between the Massachusetts Turnpike and a very busy Nonantum Road. I imagine the state will either tear this facility down in the near future or just start storing construction equipment there.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bourne Identity

From Dave Brigham:

I'll say right up front that this post won't match the headline. Well, not exactly anyway. This is just a little piece about Bourne, Massachusetts, the first town you hit when you go over the Cape Cod Canal on Route 25. It's not an exhaustive review of the backside of this lovely town, nor is it a place where you'll find anything about Matt Damon, Julia Stiles or Walton Goggins. But I'll give you this:

Every summer for the last 14 years my family and I have vacationed in Pocasset, a beautiful little village in Bourne. It's a sleepy place with a few small restaurants, some modest hiking trails and great sunsets over Buzzards Bay. This year, for the first time, I decided to poke around a bit into the underbelly of Pocasset and some other parts of Bourne. Because I was on vacation, I had limited time, so I hardly covered the entire town. But here's a bit of what I found.

The entry gate above says 1896, but indicates the first burial dates to 1835. The web site is a labor of love, and includes genealogical information about the families buried within.

There are numerous cool gravestones and statues both old and new.

While the newer part of the cemetery is fairly well maintained, the older section could use some tree pruning.

Not everyone, however, has a cool headstone.

After leaving the cemetery, I drove aimlessly around and ended up at the Aptuxcet Trading Post Museum, which is very close to the Cape Cod Canal. I had no interest in the museum, but dug the mural painted on a bridge abutment for the active train tracks near the museum.

The last stop on my short tour was Little Bay hiking trails, which run between Shore Road and Buzzards Bay. The hike isn't much, and there are no old structures that I saw, but I always like it when an active railroad line, albeit a lightly used one that's mostly for trash runs, winds through my world.