Sunday, November 16, 2014

Some Rock N' Roll

A couple of weeks ago MeAsWe and I (or is that Me) headed for Ohio. Now we could have taken I-90 all the way there, but what fun would that have been, so we headed thru Connecticut into New York and finally picked up RT 6 somewhere around Scranton PA. To make a little time we did use I-84 to get out of New England.

Having left around 8am with just coffee we stopped in Sandy Hook, Newtowne, CT for a pitstop and found the Sandy Hook Diner.

Sandy Hook Diner

Right inside the door was this guy having coffee.

Sandy Hook Diner

The menu featured Homemade Hash. You can see the edge of MeAsWe's French Toast.

Sandy Hook Diner

Breakfast and lunch done with we hit our first stop, The African - American Cemetery in Montgomery, NY. This cemetery has about 100 internments believed to be made up of African slaves brought here by the earliest settlers of the region.

African--American Cemetery The

African--American Cemetery The

African--American Cemetery The

In Middletown NY we picked up some more historic sites. Church was established in 1785. This church was the third on this location, built in 1872.

First Congregational Church Middletown NY

Also on the Register is the Paramount Theater, Art Deco in style, built in 1930.

Paramount Theatre Middletown NY

Last stop in Middletown was the Webb Horton Mansion. Webb made his fortune in the tanning business and oil. At the age of 76 he began construction on this house. It was completed in 1906 at a cost of a million dollars. Webb died before he could spend a single night in the house. It is now the administrative offices for SUNY Orange.

Horton Webb House Middletown NY

In Lords Valley we stopped briefty to pick up this house on the register.

Lord House Blooming Grove NY

We finally had crossed RT 6 our main road to traverse PA. Had a couple stops along the way. In Hawley it took a while to figure out how to get to this place, but we did. The Connor J.S. American Rich Cut Glassware Factory was built in 1890 converted to a silk throwing mill in 1926 and then a hotel in 1988.

O'Connor J.S. American Rich Cut Glassware Factory

O'Connor J.S. American Rich Cut Glassware Factory

Stopped briefly in Carbondale to pick up the city hall

Carbondale City Hall and Court

Carbondale City Hall and Court

At this point I realized we were not going to cross PA along RT 6 in the sunlight. There was one spot that I wanted to see again, having stopped here in 2006. The Tnkhannock Viaduct was completed in 1915 and was the largest concrete structure in the world.

Tunkhannock Viaduct

Tunkhannock Viaduct

With the sun going to disappear in the next 30 minutes or so, eliminating any nice visuals I opted to head north back into New York for Rt 17/I-86. When planning this trip there did not seem to be an abundance of the motels on the web. Binghamton was too close, so we headed for Jamestown NY. We hit snow along the way and some points it was near white out situations. Not alot of accumulation, but enough to slow down to the 50's. The next morning we awoke to the first snow of the season, yuck.


What I didn't know when we decided on Jamestown, Lucy (Lucille Ball) was born here and there was a museum.

Luci and Desi Museum

Luci Ad Jamestown NY

Since we headed off route yesterday, there was one place I wanted to visit before we got to Ohio. The Drake Oil Well, located in Titusville PA, was the birthplace of the oil driling industry in the US. It is a National Historic Landmark, Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, and a National Historic Chemical Landmark.

Drake Oil Well

Last stop before heading into Geneva, OH for the night was Joshua Reed Gibbings law office. A National Historic Landmark, Gibbings was a die hard abolishinist and a member of the US House of Representatives. He was so opposed to slavery, that he advocated violence against slave owners. He became one of the founding members to the Republican Party. Thats the history. When we came into Jefferson OH I had the law office right where a McDonalds was. We drove around a bit looking for the place and finally decided to grab a bit to eat. I headed for the mens room before ordering. The wall paper just outside the rest room had the National Historic Landmark plaque in the paper. WOW. This must have been custom wall paper, more of a large photo. Apparently the law office was moved so that McDonalds could be built here. One of the local folks gave us directions and we must have passed the building 2 or 3 times before we spotted it.

Joshua Reed Giddings Law Office

Grabbed a couple of pictures and headed for Geneva. This was the end of day 2.

Up bright and early to head into Cleveland to enjoy the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was the purpose of the trip. Harold, my best friend in college, best man at one of my weddings and all around great guy was going with us. More snow last night was no problem, however the Browns were playing at home so parking became was filling up fast, but we still managed a spot right next to the museum.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

While not a long walk, with my ankle the way it is, a short walk feels like a long one. We paid the admission, I took my first picture and the battery started flashing red. I had committed the one of the 8 deadly sins of photography. The spare battery was in the car. Really ???

Janis Joplin Porche

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Pink Floyd The Wall

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

We spent about 5 hours at the museum and I really enjoyed looking at all the guitars, reading some of the information, scanning the old contracts for concerts and stuff like that. The did have a special section for the electric guitar featuring the Les Paul. Harold had me take pictures of one in particular especially close ups of the height of the strings off the pickups. He restores guitars and was looking for some guidance on how high the strings were set off from the first pickup. He guessed this particular model was worth around $250,000 being a 1959 Les Paul and that pricing doesn't include the Who owned it markup. This paricular one is owned by Garry Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd and on display in Cleveland.

DSC_4810_001 R

We left the museum around 3pm, well ahead of the Browns fans. One last pic of a National Historic Landmark and our trip was complete, except getting back home.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where there is Hope, there is Worcester

Hit Worcester again today, just to get some exercise and knock off some more of the historic places in Worcester. Concentrated on places other than the 3 deckers, which there is plenty of those to get.

First stop was Hope Cemetery, that was fashioned after the pastoral trend in the mid 1800's. The granddaddy of all in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown. This was America's first garden cemetery. Hope Cemetery followed this same philosophy, however no where near as interesting. It was first established in 1854 and has over 14,000 guests that stay here.

Hope Cemetery

Hope Cemetery

Hope Cemetery

Hope Cemetery

Not too far away is the Webster St Firehouse. At first glance I thought this was an entirely new station, however I realized the fa├žade and middle part of the building was still the original structure. It was built in 1893.

Webster Street Firehouse

I drove past the next place twice before I realized where it was. I even knew it was a bank. Stearns Tavern was built in 1812, although there is some history dating back to 1776. It was originally on Main St and moved to this spot on Park Ave.

Stearns Tavern

The Downing Street School was built in 1891 and is now part of Clark University. It's Romanesque Revival style is unique for Worcester Public Schools.

Downing Street School

Over to Woodland St for the Woodland Street Firehouse. Built in 1886 is very similar to the Cambridge St Firehouse pictured a little further on. The arched doors for the fire apparatus is kind of neat. All of these firehouses had the tower in the back. I can only guess these were observation towers.

Woodland Street Firehouse

Woodland Street Firehouse

Heading for the next historical spot this mural grabbed my eye. I actually circled around the block to get a picture of this. Reminds me of the OSJ treasure hunt where murals was a subject. Got talking to a guy on the street about it and it is a picture of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Mural

The Worcester Corset Factory building was built in several stages starting in 1895 with the final stage in 1909. It started out as a place that made the hoops for the hoops dresses which were fashionable at the time. When they fell out of favor, David Fanning began making corsets. At its peak the place employed more than 2000 folks. Today it is residential property.

Worcester Corset Company Factory

Cambridge St had 2 locations to grab. The Cambridge School built in 1869 and the Cambridge St Firehouse (1886). This area was known as South Worcester and was relatively a new neighborhood in the mid 1850's. It came about from the Whittail Mills that employed a huge amount of people.

Cambridge Street School

Cambridge Street Firehouse

Last stop of the day is the South Worcester Library built in 1913 from donations from Andrew Carnegie.

South Worcester Branch Library

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Have I got a 3 Decker for you

Nope not sandwich, but places to live. Now that the Grand Tour season is over and riding will become somewhat lessened, I heat out in the MINI for another passion of mine. Still a treasure hunt, but one that has no official end. When I get done, it is done. Waymarking is the name of this game. Go find someplace for one of the 1080 categories, take some pictures, write something and post at

Today hitting Worcester for places on the National Register of Historic Places. Concentrating my efforts on the Vernon Hill area.

Vernon Hill

Part of the fun is researching why places are on the register. Some of the reasons could be the person (like George Washington), the architect (Frank Llyod Wright), style, or an event. For the most part Vernon Hill was primarily event driven from the standpoint of the development of the area and the folks moving into the area. Vernon Hill area is the east of downtown Worcester. The Irish began settling the area in the 1820's to build the Blackstone Canal. By the 1890's the area was attracting Lithuanians, Poles, Swedes, Russian Jews and French Canadians because of the wire steel mills located not to far away. When the electric railway systems ran on Millbury St, the area exploded with the 3 decker properties. Folks were able to live further away from work because of the easy transportation. Automobiles replaced the street cars in the 1930's and the Great Depression halted further development in the area. The mills began to shut down over the next 20 to 25 years until the last one closed in the 70's. So that's the story of Vernon Hill, at least my take.

I probably hit 40 to 50 places this past weekend, mostly 3 Deckers. I figured once you have seen one you have seen one too many. In many respects this is true, but as I drove thru the various sub neighborhoods one could see subtle changes to the make up and the design of the houses. Many of them have had the front porches and balconies removed and siding has been replaced with aluminum or vinyl, and satellite dishes mounted to the sides. What surprised me is how clean the areas were. The folks, and they are diverse, do take some kind of pride where they live.

On thing for sure, I wouldn't want to live here in the winter. This place is steep, not a lot of parking at the properties, so they have to park on the street. Snow plowing has gotta be a bitch and getting up some of these hills, the same.

Here's a few spattering of the Deckers and other places.

First Decker of the Day

Hunt, David, Three-Decker - Worcester MA

Upsala Street School - Built 1894

Upsala Street School - Worcester MA

View of Euclid Montrose Historic District

Euclid Avenue--Montrose Street Historic District - Worcester MA

Euclid Avenue--Montrose Street Historic District - Worcester MA

View Street Historic District

View Street Historic District - Worcester MA

View Street Historic District - Worcester MA

Perry Avenue Historic District

Perry Avenue Historic District - Worcester MA

Patrick McGuiness Three Decker - Built in 1908 - a wee bit different than all of the rest.

McGuinness, Patrick, Three-Decker - Worcester MA

Providence St Firehouse - Built in 1899

Providence Street Firehouse

Providence St Historic District

Providence Street Historic District - Worcester MA

Providence Street Historic District - Worcester MA

Woodford Street Historic District

Woodford Street Historic District - Worcester MA

Ward Street School - Built 1898

Ward Street School-Millbury Street - Worcester MA

Crompton Loom Works - its original portion dating to 1860, the complex is one of the oldest surviving industrial sites in the city. The facility was established by George Crompton, whose father William had invented the first power loom for weaving fancy fabrics



What I expected most of the 3 Deckers to look like. These were far and few between. The McPartland Three Decker was built in 1888.


Classic example - Vincent Kantratowicz, a wire worker owned this 3 decker. It was built in 1930


Another nice one


Look down Dorchester St


See them all CLICK HERE