Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seeing Double Presidents

If you missed the first part of the days ride you can find it here. It was off to Jefferson MA to pickup 2 spots. Initially I told the guys (Giff and Leith) that we were heading for Jefferson Jewelers, but I had placed this spot in the GPS first. Leith thanked my for the sand filled parking lot.

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Since the Team Strange Airhead tour will accept only post office or city limit signs and the GLMC specially excludes both of those, we headed for...

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Can't really say the ride out of Worcester to Jefferson was real scenic and with out traffic, but it did get somewhat countryish. Giff did say that he would be turning off at some point because he had to be home. I was frankly surprised that he was following me doing GT stuff. As we headed into Hubbardston, the scenery definitely became more rural. First I had picked up the library, but the sign was too small. We had passed the Highway department on the way up to the center, so I stopped to pick up a much bigger sign with HUBBARDSTON on it.

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Giff did say they would spinning off before the next town. Right turn and heading into Barre for the oldest newspaper still in print in Worcester County.

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Picked up 2 more towns that I had not planned on.

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Picked up the Post Office for another hobby of mine, Waymarking.

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Wheelwright was next up on deck. I was unable to find anything via Google for Wheelwright, so I did not have any hope of finding anything. I made this right turn down a side street and low and behold.

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By this time the ride had become very scenic. Picked up the old grammar school in New Braintree, which I was sure would be on the NRHP. When I got home it is not specifically listed, but is probably part of the Historic District. Found in MACRIS, it was built in 1938 as New Braintree's first consolidated school. It is Art Moderne in style, which was unusual for Massachusetts.

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Across the way was this massive farm. There has to be cows in that place and hooked up to tubes providing us with GOT MILK.

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The high point of the trip was pulling up to Three Rivers Laundromatt. A guy sitting in the joint, no pants, watching the washing machine tumble cleaning his clothes.

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This was the turn point to head back east for day. I had no clue what time it was, because the Nuvi 855 I was using had the time all screwed up this morning, the FJR battery was replaced and I never set the clock to the right time, but based on temperature in was before 5.

The last time I was specifically in Warren, MA was when I ran the 6 Warren town in New England to take the lead in OSJ's first treasure hunt. West Warren and Warren are 2 different towns for the GLMC Double Down tour.

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To finish the day up I hit the Brookfield's

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If you made it this far, I forgot to explain the 3 Grand Tours I am doing. Double Down is riding to towns that have double letters, except "LL". Team Strange is President GT, towns with the presidents last name for the town. There is 1 more I am doing but I didn't pick up any towns for this one, spell Team Strange Airheads 30.

What really surprised me today that potholes were not that bad, but there was sand everywhere, piles of it. I knew I would be sore when I got home. My throttle hand was killing me, especially the thumb. Of course the inner thighs would kick in, cramping up just as I made that one wrong twist on the couch. Not a long run for the day, just shy of 150 miles or so.

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Breakfasting on the Boulevard with Bikers

Giff's employer finally let him go around 1pm or so this afternoon. Leith, Giff and I headed out for my first ride of the season. Giff actually was going to try out my version of riding, going to places that make no sense to anybody else, but us Grand Tourer's. Leith said he was starved and needed to grab some grub, so what fits better for food fare than a diner. We headed for the Miss Worcester, probably my all time favorite joint to have something to eat.

As we pulled up, a guy coming out says "too late they just closed". Immediately I knew where we were going. One of the few 24 Hour Diners left in the country, that's on the National Register of Historic places, has colorful folks that show up and the food not so bad. It has the well rounded diner experience.

Our arrival, we take up the whole front of the Boulevard Diner with our bikes.

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Leith was kind of upset that there was a change of plans because we had talked up the Miss Worcester so much. I ordered the Hash with 3 eggs, ordering them flipped and broken, no runny stuff. I wanted to make sure that the Lipitor I am taking is working at its fullest abilities. Actually there is so much available, that was the first little sign I saw and with the questioned answered that it was home made hash, that hooked it right there. Breakfast on the grill.

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Here's a picture of Leith, actually I was trying to get a pic of the character next to him.


The I wanted to grab a pic of our pretty waitress, but Giff decides to photobomb my pic.


A shot of the orginal stools that came with the Diner in 1937. This diner has remained in the same family for quite some time. One of the few 24 hours operations in Massachusetts.

I finally asked Superman if he minded if I take a picture of him. He said no problem. He must be a regular here, because the waitress seemed to know him quite well.


So breakfast came to an end. Giff and Leith went outside to prep for the ride, while I remained inside paying the bill. Go figa. (actually they gave me cash for their meals.)

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Giff, having way too many helmets. (he is going to some kind of therapy sessions for this, but the internet makes it all too easy) discovered he left his white HJC hanging from the helmet hook on the back of the bike. He has a white Arai and got confused on where and which white helmet he planned on wearing. The helmet lock was not locked, wide open, and a wonder it did not bounce off, especially riding the wonder slick pavement of Worcester. It now has a really nice tire burn on the side. Gives it that nice helmet patina

Getting my Feet Wet - Double Down and Presidents

Heading out today to get my feet wet (not literally, I am not ready for anything but sunshine). Weather looking good.

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Broke out the 855 from mothballs last night and got the battery all charged up. This GPS just keeps ticking. (knock on wood)

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Got the flags in the tank bag to go.

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And spent some time on MapSource last night and knocked out a few towns to go to.

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Heading over to Giff's to pick up the bike. New front tire, idle adjusted to 1100 (or maybe 1050), rear brake (that linked to the front) bled, and front brake houses on a boat from Japan.

Not a big trip, but one to get used to riding again. It has been awhile. Of course the weather is suppose to be great tomorrow too.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nosing Around the Nooks and Crannies of Worcester

Having been cooped up all winter, it was time to get out and stretch these titanium legs (well at least that's what I think is in there). I had 1 spot in Worcester that I failed to get when I was out taking pictures of Institution Historical District and this makes a perfect excuse to grab so other places. No districts today, simply grabbing places on the National Register of Historic Places.

Worcester, historically is the story of beginning America, growing thru the decades into a an industrial hotspot and then dying and then trying to make a comeback. What I have learned is the Salisbury family, one of the founding folks, was instrumental in making Worcester a diverse industrial city, then taking the profits they made and making Worcester culturally dynamic. They were instrumental in the early industry from stores, to factories and the seed for the Worcester Art Museum. There were 3 Salisbury all named Stephen. First was Stephen and then Stephen II and finally Stephen III.

First place I hit was the Bliss Building. This sits on Old Lincoln St. At one time this was a vibrant neighborhood, but the Bliss Building is really all that is left. Built in 1888, it has survived intact and still provides housing to Worcester residents. I am sure if the walls could talk (maybe they can) the stories would make a long running reality show on TV.

Bliss Building Worcester MA

Bliss Building Worcester MA

Next stop is the Salisbury Factory buildings. There is really nothing really special about these in their looks. Stephen III built these factories on the site of the Court Mills which the family had owned. Plain brick buildings except these were built specifically to rent out space versus putting his own industry in. The Munroe Organ Reed Company and Worcester Barbed Wire Fence Company occupied these early on. One was built in 1879 and the other 1882. These are located on Union St and sit at then end of an industrial area. These 2 buildings are what is left of the old Worcester. Modern buildings surround them.

Salisbury Factory Building

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Salisbury Factory Building

Back in the fall I photodocked Institutional Historic District, which covered the Old Court House to Memorial Hall, Art Museum area. The only place I left out was the Worcester Industrial Technical Institute (that's the historical name), so here it is.

Worcester Industrial Technical Institute

Worcester Industrial Technical Institute

While I was tagging the school, I came across one of those white Mass Historical Markers. I quite a few of these and when I complete the NH ones I will then attack these.

First Mill Mass Historical Marker

Down Main St, just passed the old Court House the commercial area of Worcester begins. I grabbed 3 separately listed buildings on the NRHP.

Elwood Adams Hardware is the first brick building built in Worcester (1831. It was originally 2 1/2 stories. The first one built on this site was constructed in 1782. It just might be the oldest continuously run hardware store in the US.

Adams, Elwood Hardware Store

The Old State Mutual Building (1870)housed the 5th largest insurance company in the US. It is now the Worcester County Sheriff's headquarters.

Old State Mutual Building Worcester MA

Between the State Mutual and the Elwood joint lies the Thule Building built in 1905. This was a connection to the developing Swedish business community in Worcester. It now houses a printing company and the Worcester Law Office. It is right across the street from the new Court House.

Thule Building - Thule Music Hall

I drove up and down the street looking for the Gilman Block. Back and forth, checking numbers on the buildings and finally figured out it was razed for the new Court House. Actually the architects and builders incorporated some of the old Gilman Block into the structure of the new Court House.

I always knew Worcester was a hilly place, but didn't realize how steep some of those hills were. The Tilley Raymond house sits about 3/4 the way up George St. I mean straight up. I was glad I was not on the bike today. I parked up at the top and walked down. I passed this fellow coming up the street and said "now that's a hike", he said "no kiddin'" The Raymond house (his name should be the other way around, Raymond Tilley and not Tilley Raymond) was built in 1847 and owned by a carpenter. The house has been apartments since Whitcomb purchased the property in 1898.

Raymond, Tilley House

Raymond, Tilley House

The next 2 houses sit on Harvard St and good examples of Victorian architecture. The first one was built in 1867 and the second 1887

Marble, Jerome House

Putnam, Otis E. House

The Copeland house was built in 1847 and is an elaborate Greek Revival style residence. Copeland worked as a tool maker in various places until he started his own company. He claims to have made the first iron planning machine ever used.

Copeland, Samuel House

Henry Goulding built this mansion in 1850 as a retirement gift to himself. He made his money in the woolen machinery business. His heirs sold the house to the Swedish Lutheran Church, who expanded it for the aged.

Goulding, Henry Mansion

Goulding, Henry Mansion

Goulding, Henry Mansion

The Whitcomb joint was built in 1879 and really is quite large. Whitcomb owned the Bay State Envelope Company. In 1895 Worcester produced 33% of the stapled envelopes in the US and Whitcomb got his share.

Whitcomb, G. Henry House

Whitcomb, G. Henry House

The Salisbury's, I, II and III were quite instrumental in the development of Worcester. I lived in the mansion to the left, II and III lived in the place to the right.

Salisbury Mansion, Store and House

Salisbury House Worcester MA

Salisbury Mansion Worcester MA

The Salisbury's lived right across the street from Memorial Auditorium. They owned the land that it was built on. The backside and another entrance.

Little Theater Worcester Mem Aud

The last 2 places are early residences of Worcester. The first place is the John Riordan 3 Decker home. There are a ton of these in Worcester on the Register. It was one of the earliest examples of 3 Deckers in Worcester. Built in 1888 and close to the factories of downtown Worcester.

Riordan, John Three-Decker Worcester MA

This house was owned by Goulding (as noted above). He moved this house to the back of the lot, so he could build his mansion.

Goulding, W. H. House Worcester MA

The area covered today.

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