One of the more interesting benefits of becoming involved with our local American Red Cross chapter has been the change of scenery from my cycling commute point of view. Riding to the chapter office a couple of times a month has been a chance to leave the old barns, the fields of cows, and ride into the old industrial part of town on largely deserted old streets. The view is gritty, tough, battered and even decaying and crumbling in places – but (and it might sound crazy) I’ve enjoyed the departure from green fields.
I’ve taken my camera along on a couple of past trips, but never managed to stop and explore for one reason or another – running late to a meeting, getting rained on, running out of daylight, or (recently) not wanting to stop in the sweltering heat.
Today things were in my favor to linger and look around. The building I have always been most fascinated with is the old Hardwick Woolen Mill.
Built in 1890, it had once been used to process wool produced from local farms – “the entire process of cleaning, drying, weaving, cutting, and sewing was performed at the Mill”, according to information on The Old Woolen Mill website. Although there has been a vision to revitalize the old building and convert it into a combination of retail, commercial and residential space, it’s been a struggle. To date, there has been only minimal development – most of the property continues to crumble and deteriorate, sadly. To some extent, I suppose it mirrors the economy…
I’d like to think that someday it might be vibrant again … meanwhile, I can’t help but enjoy the patchwork of the broken windows and other old things left behind.