Boston Seaport At Night

When I worked on Congress Street in Boston about 30 years ago, what is now called the Seaport District was little more than a couple of hundred acres of gravel parking lots — $5.00/day!  A few seafood restaurants provided the only signs of business life. Today that neighborhood is crowded with towering hotels and techno headquarters; a city within a city.

boston seaport at night
The seaport district of Boston at night

Mystic-Tobin Bridge

Most of the photographs of bridges I see are taken from the air or otherwise above the bridge. Me, I go down, down, down and look up at the underbelly. This is the Mystic-Tobin Bridge in Boston, the largest in New England.

The Mystic-Tobin Memorial Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that spans the Mystic River from Charlestown to Chelsea, Massachusetts. It opened in 1950 after two years of construction. The bridge is more than 1,500 feet long, with a center span of about 800 feet in length.

Glass Towers: Boston’s Seaport District

Today I visited the seaport district of Boston. I have not found a good reason to go there until recently, when it struck me that the walls of green and blue glass might make some good images. Not long ago this chunk of the city was where you came to park your car for $5.00 per day — cash only. Several hundred acres of gravel dominated the landscape. You could eat locally harvested seafood at Jimmy’s Harborside, Anthony’s Pier 4, and the No-name restaurant. Fishermen off-loaded their catch on Fish Pier where it was promptly auctioned to restaurant buyers and re-sellers. That’s all gone now….

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Dam Removal

Recently, I photographed the removal of the first of three earth and stone dams from the Hamant River in Sturbridge, MA. A project 7 years in planning is the result of collaboration between the town conservation commission, Massachusetts Fish & Game, and other groups. The restored free-flowing river will support the spawning of brook trout and the growth of native plants.

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Pipe Organ Makers — C.B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, MA

I recently visited the factory of C.B. Fisk, makers of pipe organs in Gloucester, MA. A team of about twenty seven highly skilled craftspeople build instruments that are close relatives of the organs used by Bach in the 1700’s. Superficially, the workspaces resemble common machine shops and woodworking facilities, but there is more than meets the eye. Built to very tight tolerances, a large organ for a church can take up to six months to complete — and that does not include shipping and assembly. A 1/16 scale model of each organ is built by the shop’s designated model-maker, and each organ is dry-fit in the plant before shipping. Visit my posts about Tippin Guitars, Haynes Flute. S.E. Shires, Co. (brass instruments), and Christoper White Violins.

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A Window In Time: New Salem, MA

About 20 years ago I was bicycling around the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts and stumbled across the tiny village of New Salem. I found a long town green lined with mature, old trees, surrounded by 18th and 19th century homes and buildings. There was no sign of a traffic light, convenience store, gas station, or of any modernity what-so-ever. I felt as though I had stepped  through a window in time to the year 1830. I half expected to see a movie crew  appear from behind the false facades of each of the buildings. But, these building were real on my first visit, and just and fantastic today when I returned to New Salem on the way home from a photo shoot in Hadley, MA about 15 miles away. A sign indicates that this is indeed an historic district. It is so important to preserve windows in time like New Salem. I imagine that each of the 50 US states has precious little villages like this one, seemingly unaffected by the giant footprint of development and economic growth. I’ve felt the same sense of wonder and excitement while “discovering” a silver mine in Colorado, the remains of a logging camp in Maine, and a farm valley in Rochester, Vermont known as North Hollow. If you know of secret little villages like New Salem, please let me know. Maybe this will the beginning of a photo essay or book!  

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