Monday, December 21, 2009

Setauket Grist Mill

As early as 1664, a mill operated  along this edge of the Setauket Pond that flows into Conscience Bay. The structure located here now is a re-creation built in 1937 as part of the Frank Melville Memorial Park. This is a private park that was dedicated by his son Ward Melville, and is maintained by the Frank Melville Memorial Foundation.
Much of the character of the Three Village area (Stony Brook, Setauket, Old Field) is the result of Ward Melville who was instrumental in preserving, restoring, and re-creating many of the colonial buildings here. When I first learned of him years ago, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. One of my pet-peeves has always been the suburbanization of America and the abandonment of it's downtowns and village centers.Ward Melville appeared to be an early advocate for the preservation of American towns.

Scratching too deep can sometimes lead to disappointment. While Mr Melville was adamant about maintaining an historic aura in his hometown, he was simultaneously destroying much of the nation's architectural character. His Melville Corporation (Thom McCan, and later CVS as well as others) paved heavily the destruction of the American landscape. He outsourced jobs before outsourcing was even a word; and he replaced town centers with generic shopping centers. Wal-Mart would be proud!  Every vacant downtown, every ugly strip of chain stores, and every abandoned factory is partially the result of Ward Melvilles "pioneering".

Meanwhile, back at the Setauket Grist Mill, I took in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow and the peaceful surroundings. Robert Frost could have composed a poem, and Norman Rockwell, a painting;.... this is one of the most charming sections of the North Shore thanks to Ward Melville. But as much as I enjoyed the scenery, my mind kept drifting off to Paramus, Rockville Center, and every other town that lost it's soul to the Miracle Mile half a century ago.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Volleyball Today

Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, January, 2008

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Latimer Reef Lighthouse

Latimer Reef Lighthouse, July, 2008
First Lit: 1884
Automated: 1974

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Late Season Fishermen

Without looking at a calendar, I can sometimes determine when a photo was taken by simply noting the activities taking place. By late September, the swimmers and sunbathers give way to dog walkers and fishermen. In December, the pets and their owners are still on the beach , but the fishermen are mostly gone.

These photos were taken last month at West Beach in Westbrook. It is a small, slightly rundown, town beach that is mostly consumed by it's parking lot. With the afternoon sun low in the sky, these fishermen took advantage of one of the dwindling, late season, mild days.

CT Coastal Access: West Beach

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Port Jeff Ace

This party fishing boat has been around for a long time. Despite never having been aboard her, she was a familiar site for years in the waters around Port Jefferson. Built in 1962 at the Deebold Boat Works of Atlantic City, she served time as the Big Day and the Captain John in several New Jersey towns before arriving in Port Jefferson.  Walking around the docks this summer, I saw her rotting away just west of the ferry terminal. A worker on a nearby boat said she was for sale, but there were no offers.
This past week I learned that the Port Jeff Ace had been demolished and the debris was being trucked away.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chester Hadlyme Ferry

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry, October, 2009 Ferry Schedule
YouTube: Ferry Crossing
Soundbounder: Restless Farewell (budget cut)

Note Gillette Castle in the upper left corner

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rings End Bridge In Darien

The western approach to Long Neck Point crosses Gorham Pond and the remains of a grist mill dam.  As early as 1708, a mill stood here before eventually being destroyed by fire in the early 20th century. The Rings End Bridge (aka Gorham's Pond Bridge) was constructed in the 1920's. The stonework and arches make this one of the more attractive bridges I have seen.
The bridge aside, this photo interests me because it captures that brief window in November when the trees and sky have turned gray, yet the weeds and grass in the foreground are holding on to their autumn color. It reminds me of those images that add color to one item in a black & white photograph.