Waltham, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Simple Elegance of Early Mechanical Devices

The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachusetts has a collection of machines and artifacts from the industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is located in the former Boston Manufacturing Company textile mill, which predates those in Lowell.



The visit to the museum provided a great opportunity to show the simple elegance of the early manufacturing.

Much, but not all, of the collection is dedicated to the former Waltham Watch Company.

























Waterbury, Vermont – August 2019 – We All Scream For Ice Cream

Welcome to Vermont!



When in Vermont you must make a stop at the original Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory for a tour and samples!



Even though there doesn’t seem to be anything proprietary they don’t let you take photos of the production floor, but do have a lab set up.



They make up for it with free samples at the end!



Much of the tour is the marketing they have used over the years.



We finished our tour and headed outside to check things out.



The famed Flavor Graveyard – Ben & Jerry’s is known for their unusual flavors, and often they don’t work out.



Each of the discarded flavors get’s it’s own head stone (not sure if it is from Rock of Ages Granite Quarry).



As with the quirky names all their flavors get, the head stones have little rhymes to explain what happened.







They have a few larger items from their early days.





It was fantastic ice cream!






Avery Island, Louisiana – May 2019 – Hot Times at the Tabasco Factory

Tabasco is known the world over for giving kick to many different foods. All of this spice comes from a small factory in southern Louisiana.



The grounds are beautiful, and the Tabasco Company offers a complete look at the history and production of their product.

The visit starts in the company museum.



The self guided tour takes you from building to building. Along the way you pass some Tabasco themed artwork.






While most of the peppers used in the production are grown offshore, there is a greenhouse that they grow the plants to assure quality control, and provide seeds for their sources.







The barrel house is where the mash ages.



The blending of the salt, pepper and vinegar takes 28 days.



The bottling line was the most interesting. A small group of workers oversee the entire process.

Below a quality control worker monitors the process.



The bottles fly along their path.



Yet she can spot an issue, and pull the bottle from production.



An overview of the bottling operation.



More quality control.




The workers seemed at ease with the stream of people watching them through the windows.



These innocent little bottles give so many so much pleasure, and to some serious heartburn.



Their product is shipped worldwide – today it is going to Portugal.



Just outside the line are some giant bottles.

The factory tour was interesting, and well designed.

Southeastern Ohio – April 2019 – Interesting and Unusual Sights Part 2

Part 2 of the Southeastern Ohio tour shows some of the results of the struggles that an area that has been economically depressed for decades looks like.

A Ghost Sign in New Lexington.





Apparently not much fun in the sun anymore. It seems like it would’ve always been a bad business model because pools are expensive, and this area has never had much personal income, not to mention it is sparsely populated.





Some seem to have a unique beauty in their deterioration.





While others seem to be just barely standing.





Welcome to Historic Shawnee, Ohio!




This town once had over 3000 residents, now it is down to 600.




While at first glance it appears to be a ghost town, Shawnee is hanging on. While many of the buildings are vacant, some continue to be used.




Closer inspection of this ‘building’ shows the front is still there, but the rest of the building is gone, resulting in a courtyard of sorts.




This building, completed in 1907, was originally a hotel that hosted among others William McKinley. In addition there has always been a theater within.

This theater has recently been restored, and hosts concerns, plays and amazingly basketball games.




When buying a ‘fixer upper’, make sure it isn’t relying on the neighbor to stand up. (amazingly the small building behind the sign had a sign on the front indicating it was the real estate agents office, but it seems unlikely.




While sadly worn down, the buildings do have interesting architectural elements to them. If this were anywhere near somewhere with real estate in demand these cool little old buildings would be snapped up and restored.




With Shawnee being far from any population or jobs centers, they just look like a movie set.




Moving on, we passed this once a school, once a church, now (apparently) vacant building.





In nearby Glouster is a worn sign for The Wonder Bar (which apparently is long gone). No Wonder Dogs for lunch today.





Nearby is what looks like a scene from a Hitchcock movie – and old dilapidated building covered with birds.





Just out of town is an abandoned school, which nature is taking over.





As noted in Part 1 of this day, Nelsonville was a brick town. A park on the outskirts of town have the remains of a brick factory.




With the tower and a couple of large kilns, it is very cool place to check out.




This factory was started in 1880, and closed in 1940.




Amazingly the bricks are still sitting in the kiln.




Look closely you will see ‘Nelsonville Block’ embossed in many of the bricks. This company won awards for their bricks at the World’s Fair in St Louis in 1904.




Stacks of bricks are stored in the park (thankfully it appears nobody is stealing them).





Nearby is the Hocking Canal Lock 19 remains. Canals were essential to the initial development of the area in the mid 1800s.



This photo is representative of transportation in the area over the times. First there was the canal, then the railroad killed the canals.

The railroad itself was mostly displaced by the highway. Why can I stand in the middle of the highway and take this picture? Because it too has been displaced by a newer freeway that bypass all of the towns and this section of road, further killing any chance of survival these towns have.





Our final stop is in the interesting little town of Haydenville.



Haydenville is a company town founded by Columbus industrialist Peter Hayden. If you check out my posts of the Historic Architecture of Broad Street in Columbus you will find the Hayden Building and the New Hayden Building.
https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2019/03/11/columbus-march-2019-a-broad-street-national-historic-registry-lesson/

For his company town Hayden used the products he produced for sale to build the buildings.




The town was built in stages, and the materials reflect the era that they were producing them in the factory.




Some have interesting architectural features (and satellite dishes and trash).




Even the church was built out of the Haydenville Mining and Manufacturing company’s products.




In fact closer inspection shows a plethora of different tiles used for accent pieces and features.




Even some of the individual homes have these features. Note the pipes in the upper part of the left side of this house used for decoration.




Next door is a similar one, with slightly different features.




The final really unique house in the old company town of Haydenville.

Southesatern Ohio parallels much of Appalachia – there is natural beauty, but much has been destroyed by rampant disregard of nature for the benefit of industry for 100 years or so, now it is left on it’s own.

Yet some survive, either through tourism or other means. Regardless there is much to see in the area, and worth a trip (with an open mind to ‘beauty’)







Detroit – April 2019 – Controlled Urban Exploring

Unfortunately for Detroit when your population goes from nearly 2 million to 600,000, and most of the jobs leave the city you are left with a lot of vacant properties. One of the most famous is the 3.5 million square foot Packard Automobile Factory.




Completed in the early 1900s, it was state of the art for it’s time.




At one point there were 90 buildings in use across the campus. Today only one remains in use, the rest are decaying to various degrees.




Designed by Albert Kahn it was a model factory for 1911. This view is of the former administration office building.




The complex has been vacant so long a tree has grown over a fire hydrant.




At it’s peak 40,000 people worked here.




Today bridges lead to nowhere.




While it closed in the 1950s as a car factory, portions of it were used for a variety of other purposes until the 1990s.



There is a large amount of graffiti throughout.




Including places you wonder how they got up there.




Debris is strewn about everywhere, including this column from one of the buildings with the rebar wrapped around it.




The campus has a tunnel complex throughout – originally used to provide electrical and other utilities.




Today it is mostly filled with debris like tires. The light down the tunnel is from collapses on down the line.




This bridge ‘sort of’ connects two buildings.




Some random dumping, including a boat that was then covered in graffiti.




A bumper – but no car.




Our intrepid white hard hatted group wandered about with the Pure Detroit guide learning about the history of the Packard Company and the facility.




At last we made our way up the ramp to where the assembly line ended.




With a look down the line. In the history of the factory over 1.5 million cars and trucks were produced here.




Some of the more artistic graffiti.




One of the buildings minus every single window frame (the glass has been gone from the buildings for decades).




Some of the buildings were originally built with 2 floors, but later expanded. Look closely you will note that the columns are slightly different between the floors indicated a later construction for the upper floor.




There were a number of hard core photographers in the group.




This building still has some remaining window frames, at a great happenstance view.




An elevator building that is amazingly still somewhat standing.




Ironically the complex has become popular with large scale movie production – this ‘concrete’ is actually a piece of Styrofoam painted to look like concrete from the latest ‘Transformers’ movie.




The last bastion of glass…




A survivor of the apocalypse – or a slightly burnt teddy bear in a factory in Detroit, minus one arm but still a smile.




The front building area has been cleared of debris as they try and restore it to a functional state.




While the office area has been cleared out waiting for a lot of money to come along to rebuild.




The funeral for the Packard Automobile Company was held over 60 years ago, and the factory itself over 20 years ago – but Detroit still holds out hope someone will bring this amazing place back from the dead. (and it was total coincidence a vintage hearse drove by while we were standing there waiting on the tour).







Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 18 Art and History of Maui

Day 18 of the Hawaii trip is a travel day, so we stayed fairly close to the airport for our late afternoon flight. We found a number of interesting artistic and historic sites to visit.

 

First up was the Sacred Gardens. This location seemed to be part gardens, part religious, part cosmic and more.

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They did have a ‘Buddha Garden’, with some nice sculptures.

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Their claim to fame though is their labyrinths.

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Just down the road is the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Situated on the grounds of a former sugar plantation owner, there are a number of buildings for various uses including a tiny high school.

The grounds are immaculate.

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Makai Glassworks is located in another former sugar plantation. We were able to observe the artist at work.

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In the same area, but off the tourist path, is the Dingking surfboard shop.

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A true find, they make custom surfboards.

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In addition to the surfboards, they do other custom woodwork including this great canoe.

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But their specialty is surfboards.

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Our next stop was the Surfing Goat Dairy, and as our directions had us turn into the road we were amazed that a dairy would have such a fancy entrance – until we realized the entrance was for a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses, and the dairy was off to to the side.

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But they did have goats, and surfboards.

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While most of the employment in Maui now is tourism, they once had thriving businesses in agriculture, primarily the sugar plantations and pineapples. They even once had railroads to bring the goods to the port, as evidenced by this former railroad office.

In my 3 weeks in Hawaii I did not see 1 railroad track (although there are apparently a couple of historic railroads around).

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Sugar cane processing was once a big business, but it is all now gone. This was the last processing plant, and it closed a few years ago.

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The history is celebrated by a museum housed in the former superintendents home.

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The interior has a nice display of the people and lifestyles of the plantation life. Outside they have some of the equipment used in the processing.

This truck and trailer was used to bring in massive amounts of the sugar cane into the factory.

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While these large claws picked up the cane in the fields.

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A quick stop at Target – where they are ready for Christmas Hawaiian style.

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And a great Hawaiian pizza – and it was off for our flights to Kauai.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 7 North Big Island back to Kona

Day 7 started out with breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes – enough breakfast we didn’t have lunch. When in Hilo, stop at Kens 🙂

About an hour north of Hilo we arrived at Waipii’o Valley Overlook. The valley is 2000′ deep, with great sea cliffs just beyond.

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A waterfall comes out of nowhere along the cliffs.

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Hawaii has a number of micro climates, with the landscape looking very different. Once we passed Waimea (Cowboy Capital of Hawaii), it all of a sudden switched from rain forest to ‘Central California hills’.

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Our next stop was one of the highlights of the island  – Polulu Valley Overlook. With a bit of a hike down and toward the ocean, the view south was stunning. I realize after 7 days there are a lot of ‘cliffs and ocean’ photos, but this is one of the best spots.

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The town of Kapaau is famous as the birthplace of Kamekameha. It is celebrated with a statue of him. Legend has it that this statue was made for placement in Honolulu but it was lost in a shipwreck, so they made a replacement.

Locals in Kapaau believed it was karma as they felt Honolulu should not have the statue since he is from their town. The original was recovered from the sea and sent to Kapauu.

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Kapaau is a nice little Hawaiian town.

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On the way back to Kona we stopped at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory.

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Some of their processing is located here where you can check out people preparing the nuts.

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We left with plenty to last us the rest of the trip.

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As we neared Kona, we headed 3000′ up a mountain (and from 86 degrees to 67 degrees) to the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.

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Kona is famous for their coffee, and this nice small family business gave us a tasting and a tour.

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The beans after the first step of processing.

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The coffee trees are grown on top of lava shoots, which provides the unique chemical balance that makes Kona coffee what it is.

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