From Dave Brigham:
Welcome to the sixth installment in a series celebrating the 7th anniversary of the blog (for links to the prior five installments, see the bottom of this post). This post covers 2015.
I need to mention that Joe Viger has contributed some amazing photos and fantastic write-ups over the years, but I'll be linking to very few of them in this series. Why? Because Joe -- an amazing photographer who has served as a mentor of sorts to me in that regard, and a great friend I've known for nearly 30 years -- has changed the security settings on his Flickr account so that many of his photos that have run on this blog show up as broken links now. I will instead direct you to his wonderful online portfolio.
I take pride in this blog, as I'm sure you can imagine. I love exploring, taking photos, doing research and writing posts, as well as editing the work of others. One of the trickier elements of running this blog is writing headlines. I first learned this art during college, when I worked as news editor for my school paper. A good headline should be clear and concise and give the reader a general idea of the story. I follow those rules most of the time, but I also lean on my love of music and a good joke whenever possible.
Such was the case from the first highlighted story of 2015. "Maryland Mansion", from January 19, 2015, is the one and only story submitted by my brother, Steve Brigham. I hope I don't need to tell you the music joke that I made with that headline. Anyway, the post features some cool photos of a long-abandoned home near where my brother lives in the Old Line State.
(The pool of the abandoned Maryland mansion. Photo by Steve Brigham.)
"The Price of Gas" from February 7, 2015, is on this list for three reasons: it represents the first (and so far, only) use of a Google Maps capture on the blog; through online research I learned about the history of the Waltham Gas Light Company in this area; and my speculation in the post that improvements in the surrounding area seemed to be evidence that the lot in question would soon be developed has turned out to be true.
Just one week later, on February 14, 2015, in "Crumpled Paper Company," Heidi Waugaman-Page shared some amazing photos she took inside an old paper mill in Bellows Falls, Vermont.
(On the inside, looking out of the Robertson Paper Company. Photo by Heidi Waugaman-Page.)
Any time we can showcase states outside of the Northeast, I'm happy. So on March 9, 2015, when Kristen Smith shared some shots of Idaho and Wyoming in "Chewed Up, Spit Out," I was ecstatic. The backdrops for these photos are simply stunning.
The next post in March also took readers out of the Northeast. On March 17, 2015, in "Take Me Down to Panama City," I wrote about and shared photos from my family vacation in Panama City, Florida. I got up early a few mornings and cruised around taking photos of abandoned bars, motels and amusement parks. It was a lot of fun.
(Shuttered motel in Panama City Beach, Florida.)
On June 30, 2015, Mick Melvin posted about the former headquarters of the Colt firearms company in Hartford, Connecticut, in "Hartford Arming for New National Park."
(Former Colt armory headquarters. Photo by Mick Melvin.)
"Cavalier Attitude About Motels" from July 26, 2015, represents my favorite kind of post: the successful "find" after an aimless and frustrating drive.
The Internet is this blog's best friend. It's a rare case when I can't find at least a little bit of information about a small conservation area, long-abandoned building or repurposed mill complex. In "Bigelow's Little Office," from September 5, 2015, I was able to distinguish between two small former law offices in Weston, Massachusetts.
(The former Alpheus Bigelow, Jr., House, Weston, Mass.)
I love Mick Melvin's "Is That Paul Bunyan?" from October 16, 2015, because he found a true roadside American icon: the muffler man.
November 30, 2015's, "Walking Dead Tracks" reminds me of my childhood, when I spent countless hours meandering along the rarely used railbed in my hometown.
I encourage contributors to the blog to interpret "the backside" any way they wish, and to simply send me photos if they don't want to write any words. For the most part I like to conduct research and write a story to go with my pictures. Sometimes, however, I just let the photos do the talking. Such was the case with my December 9, 2015, post, "Scenes From An Old Shoe Town," about Hudson, Mass.
The final post of the year, from December 29, 2015, was the result of my slamming on the brakes and doubling back. "Gravity Can Lift You Up" features a cool old building with an interesting story.
Here are the links to the previous five installments of this series:
Stay tuned for my favorites from 2016, including a look at Clinton, Mass.; a fascinating journey through a former military training annex in the suburbs west of Boston; a skateboard park in Hartford, CT; the long-abandoned Medfield State Hospital; a Shaker cemetery; a junkyard in Somerville, Mass.; and a beautiful church in the woods of Maine.