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Comments on Weeks 3&4 Readings-2015

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ARCHITECTURE AND MATERIAL CULTURE IN POST-INDUSTRIAL CITIES

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  1. I chose to read Chapter 3, 4, and 9 on the pictorial history of New Bedford. The most resounding impression I had after looking at all of the photos was just how different things are now than from back in the industrious years. I was very impressed with how much things have changed. I have both walked and driven through some of those areas in New Bedford and while at some places, it looks like the original structures or design was kept, they mostly just look run-down and worn. There are still cobblestone streets in some sections of New Bedford and whenever I drive down those streets, it always makes me try to imagine what it was like living there and walking or driving down those cobblestone streets back when New Bedford was still a productive, bustling city. The pictures of the whaling ships in Chapter 4 were very impressive, and the imagine of the ship drying out its sails after being out at sea was very beautiful. I was also very intrigued by how whaling was actually done; in one of the photos, it showed a whale being dragged in by its lower jaw. I found it so interesting that whales were carved up in the sea. It had never occurred to me that they actually have to because whales are such large creatures that they would never have been able to drag it back on land and then cut it up.

    I also loved looking at the photos in chapter 9 of the residences of New Bedford. I live in New Bedford now and it is very eye-opening to see how there were some really beautiful homes back in prosperous days of New Bedford. There are still some houses that are in use to this day, like the house on Orchard Street which I find extremely interesting because I am intrigued by the quality of materials they used back then and how it is able to withstand the test of time. It is a shame though, how some of the houses such as the Bennett House, was demolished. I wonder how and why people demolish such beautiful pieces of architecture? It is really sad how a lot of the once beautiful structures are now run down, closed up, or nonexistent.

  2. I chose to read chapters 3,4, and 6 from David Nelson’s “New Bedford: A Postcard History (1898-1960)”. This reading was interesting because it was captions to old postcards or photos from the time frame of 1898-1960. Starting with Chapter 3 which goes over the downtown and in the intro mentions how at this time downtowns were the heart of any city. Top of page 16 of his book is a photo of what is today’s City Hall which I recognized but learned how it was a library until a fire that occurred in 1906. Chapter 4 had to do with the waterfront and whaling. On the bottom of page 32 there a photo of a shipwreck. It occurred in 1924 and the author says this image of a whaling boat crashing symbolized a closing to the whaling era of New Bedford. Chapter 6 has to do with the schools of New Bedford both public and private. With the growth of the textile industry in New Bedford on purchase street a textile school was formed. David Nelson then talks about how it merged with Fall Rivers Bradford Durfee textile school. Which formed to become Umass Dartmouth which a really interesting since we are all students here and without that happening we would all be elsewhere.

  3. David Nelson’s history of New Bedford as told through postcards offers an interesting glimpse into what the citizens of the period viewed as remarkable about their city. The first chapter’s overview indicates a focus on architecture and building innovations that is upheld throughout the following chapters. Focusing on the chapters about residences and factories, I was surprised to see nothing about New Bedford’s role in abolition. The postcards in the factory section do put a focus on immigrant and female workers, but the majority of the postcards emphasize the architectural grandeur of the factories themselves. This plays into ideas of “smokestack nostalgia,” and the prioritization of a city’s financial role above all else. The image of a traditional New England factory was more important to the citizens of New Bedford and the incoming tourists than the social history of the city. Architecture is again prioritized over an amazing social history in the section about residences. The postcards could have highlighted Abolitionist’s Row and the history of the Underground Railroad but instead focused on the ornate homes of factory-owners and other economic tycoons. The fact that Frederick Douglass, the Underground Railroad, and the 54th Regiment are left off of the postcards suggest that these elements did not draw in tourism. New Bedford was still presenting itself as an industrial city, a Gateway to America. Now in the post-industrial period, New Bedford can focus on its role in society as a social player instead of an economic one.

  4. New Bedford: A Pictorial History (Chapter 2, 3, & 8)

    Fascinating. I honestly never would have guessed that the whaling industry in the early days of the founding of New Bedford (then Bedford Village) was so reliant on England’s importation of the oil made from the blubber of the whales. There was also competition from Nantucket in the whaling industry which seems unusual to me. I am not arguing against facts, but it would seem that New Bedford would have a greater advantage in the industry because it is located on a larger land mass – whereas Nantucket is an island – and would have access to surrounding land-locked colonies, or colonies that did not have a large fishing industry, in order to make a profit. In addition to other points made in this chapter, it was clear the New Bedford never supported the American Revolution. That is not to say they were not patriotic towards a new Nation, they probably just recognized the benefit of keeping communication open with England, who at the time was one of the strongest nations in the world.

    It seems that New Bedford was, quite literally, the “light” for the rest of the colonies. They imported significant amounts of oil for use in factories that made candles for use, not only in Massachusetts, but surrounding states and England. However, as strong as the whaling industry was, New Bedford struggled maintaining a constant opinion towards politics. If I were to describe New Bedford solely based on the information I read in Chapters 2 and 3, it would go as such:
    ‘New Bedford fueled its own demise. It functioned well as its own machine, providing the “light of the world” to the entire East Coast and England, that New Bedford slowly became a smaller cog in a industrial revolution that she helped ignite. Not only did she produce a necessity to life, light, she produced the people – Weston Howland – who would advance its development through no longer require the use of whale oil. This was the beginning of her demise. The progress made in the whaling and petroleum industry fueled the New Bedford machine, but when that machine caught fire (referencing several factory fires and involvement in the Civil War) there was not another machine around to repair her. Her stationary self made way for small textile factories to come into focus, and although the Wamsutta Mills was successful, it would never bring New Bedford back to her fully glory’.

    Looking onto the now University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus on page 218 of Chapter 8, the architecture style makes more logical sense to me than when I first stepped onto this campus. Although not directly located in New Bedford, it goes without saying that New Bedford is part of the UMass Dartmouth community. The concrete symbolizes the once stable New Bedford in her early whaling days, yet the open landscape represents the people in New Bedford, how they were not contained to a single opinion but reflected the ideas of many. It is a shame that people do not recognize the campus for what it is, a place for a great education, because then they would understand why the design of this campus is so important to its community. In today’s light, the concrete still reflects the successful fishing industry in New Bedford. The concrete is never wavering, as neither was the love and passion for fishing by generations old fishermen. It goes without saying that New Bedford has a long ways to go, but if history is subject to repetition, New Bedford will be as stable and structurally sound as it once was while still tailoring to many open-minded and opinionated people.

  5. I personally read chapter 3 (Golden Age of Whaling) of A Pictorial History and chapters 4 and 15 (Waterfront and Whaling, Dartmouth-Westport) of A Postcard History. Between the three, there was an underlying narrative concerning New Bedford’s impact on orbiting communities and the inevitable fall of the whaling industry. Between the dwindling whale population and the refinement of petroleum, whale oil was no longer in supply or demand. New Bedford managed to pick up the pieces between fishing and textiles, but even those have been falling out in recent decades. What is interesting, however, is just how well orbiting communities which partook in marine industry (but whom were ultimately dependent on New Bedford) were able to rebound after the industry fell apart. Dartmouth, Nantucket, et cetera are all doing very well for themselves – perhaps because they knew not to put all their eggs in one basket.

  6. (James Sevasin) I choose to read chapters three, four and six in New Bedford’s Pictoral history. These excepts described the reasons why the whaling industry had ended in New Bedford. These reasons include the discovery of petroleum. Petroleum sold at a cheaper rate than sperm and whale oil so therefore people and the government elected to use petroleum. Another reason is the fact that the voyages on the whaling ships became more expensive and dangerous because the whale population was significantly decreasing. I like how the except describes how New Bedford struggled when the whaling industry was not profitable but how New Bedford was able to recover with the textile mill industry that made clothes out of cotton. I found interesting that the south used coarse cotton in their textile mills and were out competing New Bedford but New Bedford then responded to that by making the same type of cotton. Chapter six briefly described the very early beginnings of the fishing industry. The fishing industry in New Bedford was very small at this point.

  7. I decided to read chapters 3,4, and 8 from David Nelson’s New Bedford: A Postcard History(1898-1960). Chapter 3 was about downtown. The heart of most cities is downtown. I know downtown New Bedford is really popular. It was really interesting to see what it used to look like compared to how it looks now. It’s amazing to see how much has changed and how somethings are still the same. I never knew that the Star Store used to be a department store and that they kept the original building and just redid the inside for Umass Dartmouth. I liked that even though most building were demolished that some did survive. Chapter 4 was about the waterfront and whaling. I never knew that they would cut up the whale while out at sea and I didn’t know that certain whale’s oil was more profitable than others. I chose chapter 8 which was about police and fire because my dad was a firefighter and I grew up going to the firehouse to visit him all the time. It was really interesting to see how things have evolved from wagons with horses to the trucks they use today. I can only imagine that it was a lot more difficult to put out fires with just wagons and horses compared to the big trucks they have today.

  8. The Foundings of New Bedford: I found William’s Rotch’s story interesting because William endured a great deal of hardship. William and the British had crazy problems to deal with during that time. What I also found interesting is that after Rotch had died the Mansion house had got turned into a hotel. The hotel was so great that they had did a replication of another one. Than in a few years later it had turned into the New Bedford Public Library. I also found interesting is that on Prospect street there was a school built 1792 and donated to the Society of William Rotch Jr., The political leaders in New Bedford, where Quakers who laid down the foundation. Instead of the “Friends School House,” now the Whaling Museum stands there. I’ve never heard of Paul Cuffee before. He led blacks and Indians to protest against taxation without the right to vote. Three years later, it was victory that blacks were able to vote.

  9. Chapter 4: 1860-1880: There is so much history with New Bedford that I had no clue about. Especially with the African American community. I was just reminiscing on the history that showed me on Friday when I went to the Historical Society house in New Bedford which was once Frederick Douglass’s house. In this reading, what I read up on was Sergeant William H. Carney. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He was taught how to read and write. Carney and her parents moved New York, but were feared that they might be back into slavery. William had fought the battle of Fort Wagner. He held the flag high while also being wounded. He fought for his freedom. William was definitely a brave man, because he stood his ground and fought to the end.

  10. New Bedford High School Built 1876: It was interesting how far the New Bedford High School has come. John Emerson had worked at the high school as a principal. The school was abolished because of public education. There was a “pauper school,” for poor kids. There were advocates for public education. They got enough money to open up again a public school. There was a new high school completed in 1876, the cost to build it was 126,000,00 and it was accommodated 336 students. I find it this part of the reading interesting because it sounds like to me education was very had back then. Trying to get money to accommodate students. There’s so much history in New Bedford that it just amazes me to find more history on it.

  11. Chapter 4: The Decline of the Whale Fishery
    In this chapter I found in very interesting to see and read the historical locations on New Bedford in the 1800s, some of which are still standing today. One that caught my attention was Fort Taber. I had recently taken a walk around the park that Fort Taber was made into without knowing much of the history. In regards to our project this semester, I think we can learn from what the city of New Bedford did with this once neglected piece of history. Something else I found interesting in this chapter was the decline of the whale-fishery industry and how dependent New Bedford once was on the whaling. It was also intriguing to learn more about those in the New Bedford community of that time who participated and risked their lives during the civil war

    Chapter 1: Greetings from New Bedford
    This chapter was focused on the post cards that were popular in the early to mid 1900’s in New Bedford. From this chapter I got that the people of New Bedford at that time were proud of their city. Although New Bedford wasn’t the greatest tourist attraction is was still very well known for its place in the whaling industry. The cards all say “Greetings from New Bedford” and display an image of a prominent location at that time. I really enjoyed what this chapter mentioned about the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge being a source of “civic pride”. I connected this with the civic pride that is felt about the Zakim Bridge in Boston.

    Chapter 15: Dartmouth-Westport
    The introduction to this chapter talks about the connection of New Bedford to Dartmouth and Westport. It was fascinating to read about how people from NB would leave the city and come to the quiet open spaces of Dartmouth and Westport. As a senior here at UMD I have had many experiences of how beautiful the land here in Dartmouth and also Westport is. I enjoyed seeing homes of Westport during this time period, as some of them are still standing today. What I got from this chapter was that Dartmouth and Westport were at that point home to some of the more well off residents of this area and that because of this up-keep the area was able to become a home for tourism.

  12. I chose to do the reading “Urban Decay Photography” by Arnold and I found that the author brought up a very valid point – that photographs have this tendency to transcend time and plant an image in your mind of what a place currently looks like, even if it isn’t a very accurate image. This plays a huge part in decay photography, and in Detroit’s reputation as a failing city. I feel that part of why Detroit is “doing so bad” is because everybody thinks it is. This stigma then propagates Detroit’s downfall. I feel that photography in media has a very large impact on how people perceive things, and subsequently, the outcome of the object(s) photographed. If decay photography is so powerful, could an opposite mindset and style of photography bring back a dying city?

  13. I chose to read chapters 3,4, and 6 from David Nelson’s “New Bedford: A Postcard History”. Starting with Chapter 3 which goes over the downtown how at this time downtown areas were considered to be the heart of any city. There is a photo of what is today’s City Hall which I learned was a library until a fire that occurred in 1906. Chapter 4 had to do with the waterfront and whaling which i found to be quite informative since I know very little about New Bedfords whaling history.On page 32 there a photo of a shipwreck that occurred in 1924 and the author says this image of a whaling boat crashing symbolized a closing to the whaling era of New Bedford. Chapter 6 has to do with the schools of New Bedford. With the growth of the textile industry in New Bedford a textile school was formed. David Nelson then talks about how it merged with Fall Rivers Bradford Durfee textile school. This then lead to the creation of Umass Dartmouth which I found really interesting because without that happening Umass Dartmouth may never have been created.

  14. I first read chapter 3: The Golden Age of Whaling 1815-1860. During this period most of the entrepaneurs and business owners where the quakers. They dominated business in the early years until people started hearing about the riches earned from whaling. By 1830 the city had attracted a wide range of people including a fare share of criminals reducing the quakers presence in the city. Astonishingly in 1850 New Bedford was home to half of the country’s whaling fleet and employed around 10,000 men. However due to overstimulation of the market and mass killing of whales the price of whale based products dropped in 1857. The discovery and refinement of petroleum also became the beginning of the end for the whaling industry in New Bedford.

    I next read Chapter 6: The Textile Industry. Looking back at history New Bedford was incredibly prosperous and a prime example of capitalism in America. Once the whaling industry started to slow down entrepreneurs began to realize the potential of New Bedford and created textile mills. At the turn of the century 14,000 people worked in the cotton textile mills and only 1 out of 5 workers where born in America. Most workers were immigrants of Portuguese decent.

    Lastly Chapter 8: New Bedford Today speaks about how the city has changed into a major fishing port (biggest on the east coast) and how its future looks. New Bedford is an incredibly historic city that now relies on its fishing industry, tourism, and garment production. It is also seeking to draw in technology companies for more job prosperity. While its population has been stable for the last 30 years it does have a population higher than the nation average due to younger adults seeking jobs elsewhere.

    I believe that if New Bedford invests in its infrastructure and continues to maintain historical buildings its tourism industry will flourish and make the city desirable again.

  15. I chose to read the first three chapters of the pictorial history of New Bedford. These readings were particularly interesting to me as a history major. The text did a good job of painting a picture of pre-industrial South Eastern New England. I think most people forget that this area was once (relatively recently) inhabited with the Native Americans. The reading gave me a better understanding of how the land was somewhat taken over by the settlers. It seems that the natives didn’t really understand both the concept of private ownership of land and the legal ramifications of the deeds they signed.
    The second and third chapters focus more on the growth of whaling in the area, and also the founding of New Bedford. Something I found fascinating was looking at old maps of the area based on the understanding of the land at the time. I also had no idea that the whalers of New Bedford originally got a lot of their business by trading with Great Britain before the revolution.

  16. New Bedford: A Pictoral History was absolutely fascinating to me, especially since I have lived nearly my entire life in New Bedford.

    One aspect of this reading that was shocking to me was how ruthless the settlers were to the Native Americans. While it is common knowledge that the Native Americans have been brutally mistreated by white settlers, the nature of how we treat the Native Americans today causes their history to go unnoticed most of the time. The sad truth about Native American reservations is that they confine their culture, and end up quarantining them. The fact that 7,000 acres of land was traded for every tools, such as blankets and axes, really illustrates the injustice that white people committed against Native Americans.

    Another interesting part of this reading is how Joseph Rotch bypassed shipping oil to Boston, and essentially catapulted New Bedford’s whaling industry into success. The American Revolution completely devastated the whaling industry, and it amazes me that it was slowly rebuilt afterwards.

    The most fascinating part about these readings is that most people living in New Bedford have no ideas how rich its history is. Industry has given New Bedford the title of richest city in the world twice (whaling, textiles), and yet New Bedford citizens choose to focus on the current negative aspects of New Bedford, rather than focusing on what can be done to boost the economy.

  17. I chose to read chapters 4, 5, and 8 from David Nelson’s “A Post Card History.” These chapter highlights the industrial and whaling aspects of New Bedford as well as the police and fire departments of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Looking at the progression from horse drawn buggies to the “Auto Chemical” gives insight into the advancements that were made during the time of New Bedford’s great success. The pictures of the whaling depict and the textiles depict a time in which New Bedford was internationally known for its success.

  18. For my three sections I chose “waterfront and whaling”, “south end” and “1925-1955”. I learned so much about the history of New Bedford that I did not know! “1925-1955” taught me more about the closing of mills, and how much went into the closing of mills. For example, I did not comprehend that the 1928 strike had so much frustration behind it that was powered by competition from the southern states. In fact, I did not understand previously that the south was able to compete with us by offering lower wages for longer hours. It makes me curious about if anyone has learned from this, since current presidential candidates have advocated for lower wages to compete globally and for longer hours. The better technology used by the south played a bigger role more QUICKLY than I would have thought. Even with more modern technology, the Nashawena Mills were only able to stay open for thirty years…but interestingly, rubber companies like Goodyear and Firestone (which I did not know operated in New Bedford!) struggled and couldn’t keep up with the changes in the tire industry, which is why the Manomet Mill where that production occurred had to close after only seven years. I never thought of Firestone and Goodyear as being big companies that faced a lot of difficulty in their growth. Lastly for now, I really liked that the author explained what happened to people of different cultures in New Bedford during de-industrialization. I always wondered why there is a high population of Portuguese-American people and why the culture is so prominent down here. Now I know that it is because the Irish and English were able to keep their jobs which were less likely to be at mills, that French-Canadians left New Bedford, but for Portuguese immigrants moving back to Portugal or moving out of New Bedford was too expensive.
    By reading “waterfront whaling” I learned a lot about the whaling industry, but also about the sailing and pier life of NB. First, reading the blurb and looking at the picture of “Bark Greyhound outward bound from New Bedford, MA” it occurred to me that the intense and dangerous jobs of killing whales back then had to be done on sailing vessels. It makes logical sense, of course, but it hadn’t occurred to me until I saw the photo and description. The statistics of how many barrels of sperm whale oil were dealt through New Bedford was shocking. As a Biology major, I took Marine Mammals and we took a trip to the Whaling Museum to hear about all of this. But seeing the number expressed in barrels was more effective than looking at the fatality numbers alone because it brings your focus back to why those cetaceans were all killed, and it helped me understand how huge of a part that whale oil played in the economy of NB. I also learned from this that a shipwreck of a major vessel was one of the finalizing events of the whaling industry. I didn’t know that New Bedford had an immigration wharf or that it was such a huge part of the immigration in the early twentieth century. The note said that many of the immigrants were from Cape Verde, and I remember Lee Blake mentioning that she has studied Cape Verdean history extensively so I am wondering if that is why she started studying it. Lastly, the photo of the USS Constitution took my breath away. Seeing it compared to the small little boats and to the smoke stacks behind it gave me this sense of how physically and significantly huge “Old Ironsides” was.
    For my third selection, I chose “South End”. I really liked this article because it was focused on the way of life in ~early 20th century New Bedford, gave points of the 20th century developments and changes, and mentioned with each location what has happened to that land or organization now. First, I like how it explained the contribution of English immigrants to the community as they sponsored sports teams and had the Washington Club for socializing. The next thing that caught my attention gave me a wonderful sense of how much New Bedford has seen and been a part of…and this postcard is the one of Old Fort Rodman. The blurb mentioned that it was used in both world wars, plus the Spanish-American war. Together with the photo below it, it gave me a sense of the patriotism needed and experienced in New Bedford when wars occurred, and how it affected the port city. I mostly liked “South End” because it had lots of pictures of everyday people, and it made me want to learn so much more about how they lived and why the community has evolved as it has!

  19. I chose to read the chapters on the North, South and West Ends of New Bedford in Nelson’s “New Bedford: A Postcard History.” I found the section about the North End of particular interest because I have lived in the north end my entire life and it gave me an interesting perspective on the place I call home. Many of the locations and images I recognized right away because either they still exist today or they did exist still at some point in my life. Other places or landmarks were gone long before I was born but I was able to recognize the location by the name of the street or intersection they were once on. For example, the wading pond at Brooklawn Park – only two blocks south of my house – was still in use until 2 years ago when half of it was filled in with dirt and landscaped over and the other half was made into a parking lot.

    The chapters on the south and west ends, though less relatable to my life, were still interesting to me in the amount that they have changed over the last century. Because of the less-than-desirable present state of New Bedford, I have grown to resent living there and have always dreamed of the day I’d get to move away, but I can’t help but feeling that my mentality would be different if I was able to see the city in its “prime” 100 years ago. At least I’d like to believe that would be the case anyway.

    • Jonas: It’s fascinating that you connect your life experience and your personal memories of the post-industrial city to its actual history. I am glad you found this book useful. All of these readings will hopefully give you a better picture of the context in which you work (the lot on the 7th st).

  20. I chose to read chapter 3 downtown history of New Bedford. It was very interesting to see the pictures of streets such as Union Street back in the 1800 and 1900’s. Even though some buildings have been torn down, some have stayed the same or became use for a different business. The free public library is now known as the City Hall even though it has kept the same look. The Olympia theatre, which was created in 1916, now hosts events such as the New Bedford High School graduation.

    I also read chapter 4 waterfront whaling. It was interesting to view what the men went through to get the whale and then what they did with it afterwards. They would have thousands of oil casks lined up ready to be shipped. It is crazy to see how much oil New Bedford supplied for people all over the world. The postcards show all the different boats, one was even thrown into a bridge by a hurricane.

    I then read chapter 5 factories. New Bedford’s economy was due to the success with the whaling era but after that ended, the city became dependent on the factories. Factories were going up left and right and now immigrants were coming to the city to work. It is interesting to see how New Bedford can go from being known for the whaling oil to now textile factories.

  21. I read chapters 1,2 and 3 and I found a lot of what the text said to be very interesting. Learning about how Dartmouth was bought from Indians by a group of settlers in 1652. Along with this purchase, New Bedford, Fairhaven and Westport were included as well. After Massasoit death in 1661 the peace ended quickly and before they knew it the Plymouth settlers and the Indians were at war for a whole year. In Plymouth people were being taxed so many settlers moved from Plymouth to New Bedford to find their freedom. There were many Quakers and baptists who came into New Bedford to be free to express their religions and beliefs. In Plymouth the heads of the town were Puritans who didn’t allow others to practice their religion. After some protests to build a church so in 1729 the General Court of Massachusetts passed a law from taxation for the support of town church. On the river the side of Joseph Russell part became the whaling port known around the world. By 1750 whaling began to a full extent with having the first whaler come out of New Bedford on April 1756 called the Manufacture. When New Bedford built its own shipyards, blacksmith shops, ropewalk, cooperages and other whale-fishery industries so they wouldn’t be relied on Nantucket. Soon after the Revolutionary War hit and everything was burnt to the ground, it took about 7 years to rebuild everything back up. On 1791 everything was rebuilt and “Rebecca” was the first whaler to leave port and went around Cape Horn.

  22. Chapter 1 seems to be dedicated to the history of New Bedford, far before it’s prime point of industrialism. It tells of how the Native Americans lived on the land and even that they called it Cushnea and how at first it started off small with the Quakers. Chapter 2 goes into how they actually started to develop as a town, utilizing their location and making whaling and fishing part of their way of living. Before I wondered how they did this since it seems like there is mostly land and not enough area for a harbor but the illustration of the map shown tells me that the Acushnet River made having a shipyard possible for their prime exportation. Meanwhile chapter 4 points out that New Bedford was too reliant on whaling since once that went under it hit New Bedford hard. So from rise to possible fail from what I read the history is very interesting.

  23. Gabrielle Monteiro
    ARH 349

    It really is crazy to see the industrious age in such life through these images. The many mills which were once for copper, seamstresses/textiles, iron and other goods are abandoned, dilapidated and seen as a nuisance by most. However, there is a recurring theme which restores these. Many younger people have renovated these spaces with a little help by the city of New Bedford. These “useless” buildings everywhere are converting into art galleries, locations for shows and band practice, offices, record/book stores, clothing shops among many other things. There is a growing idea – “the space”. I love this idea but I am really interested in preserving these spaces in the way they were meant to look. I would like to see a renovated space to showcase iron workers, how their days looked and what the environment was like. It is very interesting to see how these places have evolved.

  24. Stubblefield’s article was a very interesting and thought-provoking reflection on ideas of photography and how they define the city. He exemplified this with Coburn’s “Octopus” which has been hailed as an exercise in form alone, completely ignoring the social climate of the time in which skyscrapers were the source of public debate. This was the beginning of a tradition of formalizing the qualities of the urban landscape, making the public comfortable with high angle views and normalizing dwelling in skyscrapers. Humans became comfortable with the constant growth of cities, though there was initially a good deal of nostalgia. Stubblefield represented this nostalgia in a anecdote about the author Henry James who expected to see his childhood home commemorated and instead found it in the shadow of a larger building. As the cities grew taller, many residents felt that their smaller buildings were being disrespected and devalued. These feelings are the reverse of what is occurring in the post-industrial city in which humans must become comfortable with shrinking. Currently, photography of the post-industrial city has been “ruin porn.” However, a solution could exist in visualizing a new city through photography. The interplay of nature and the city does not have to be a disintegration but instead a realization of the dreams of connecting the city to nature. For many years, humans feared losing their natural environment to that of the built. As the reverse is being actualized, humans are reacting with fear to that as well. Photography could begin to represent a synthesis between nature and the city. They do not have to exist separately from one another and green space in a post-industrial city is a blessing, not a curse.

    Traditionally, the blooming of a flower has been a sign of hope. Just because that flower exists where cement used to be doesn’t mean that the city is disintegrating, it is just growing in a new direction.

    • Wonderful observations! And I like your comments on the notion of the “ruin porn”. Arnold’s notion of ” dark tourism” is equally significant and I encourage you to read her article as well if these concepts are of interest to you and your group.

  25. James Sevasin

    I read The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus and I found the research scholarly article to be very interesting. I found the concept of Aerial Views of skyscrapers interesting. I like how the buildings look beautiful from an aerial view. Unfortunately, most of these skyscrapers look dull and dim from the ground level. I like how the author relates these buildings to the industrial revolution time period. I like how this paper connected from the industrial period to the postindustrial time period. I like how the author brings up the fact of how large and densely populations were during the industrial age and why these skyscrapers were almost necessary but were also considered luxuries for the wealthy class. The author does a good job of explaining how postindustrial cities are shrinking in size and how these cities can create beautiful green spaces in the heart of major cities so the area can look nice unlike in the industrial age.

  26. I decided to read Stubblefield’s article and found it very interesting. The article discusses how people were afraid of the threats that were tied with skyscrapers such as health and sociality. They talked about a fire where workers were trapped on the top floor and rather have jumped than be burned. Other buildings in the surrounding area were sort of overwhelmed with the height. From an aerial point of view the buildings were nice to see but from ground level they weren’t. Coburn’s “Octopus” depicted the past and the present with the shadow overlaying the open space that was still left in the city. People were starting to get used to city growth with skyscrapers but were still nostalgic about the past.

  27. I read The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus. Stubblefield discussed Coburn’s photograph The Octopus, which depicted the anxieties people felt about skyscrapers as they were first being built. He explains how The Octopus shows how alienated the urban experience became and these skyscrapers destroyed common spaces. People also had general safety and health concerns. They caused lack of light and fresh air and also aided the spread of tuberculosis. There were some major life threatening conditions, for example the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911 in which 146 workers were killed after being trapped on the top floors of the Brown Building. He also discusses that these skyscrapers serve as a reminder of the shift of fortune in cities such as Detroit, where grand structures once stood are now unoccupied. But through photography, we can revitalize the sense of possibility for an alternate future and that these dormant buildings will once again become apparent.

  28. I read professors Stubblefield’s as he is the only other art teacher I have had, in his art history 105 class. On page 346 he talks about how Coburn had been to the Grand Canyon and took beautiful pictures from high above looking down at nature. Which brings him to New York to try and catch the same beauty but from a man made structure with height. The fact that in the early 1900’s Coburn was able to take natural beauty and use man made objects do the same and capture it. Kind of more abstract we could take into affect for our parks design from neighbors surround from higher up look down it is visually appealing. For the sustainability aspect may mean the design has a look that makes it feel like it naturally belongs there and has a purpose. It was really entertaining being able to read something a professor I have had has written.

  29. After having professor Stubblefield for both classes of Art History in my Freshman year, I was so excited to read this, and I really wasn’t disappointed. I’ll admit, there were a few paragraphs that I had to re-read to comprehend what he was talking about, but after reading it through, I was reminded of a part in one of the paragraphs he wrote, talking about how the author purposefully made the reader have to go back and re-read what they had already forgotten. However, reading about Coburn’s photograph The Octopus, and reading how professor Stubblefield wrote about how that and a few other works (both natural and not) were alike.

  30. Sarah Arnold: The Urban Decay Photography As I was reading the “Urban Decay Photography,” reading it showed images of Detroit. It explained how Detroit has experience some economic disinvestment People may consider Detroit, as run-down city. I especially liked how they showed kids of color. The images shows a high school, how abandon it is and demolished, What I found interesting is that as I was reading the subject on Time and Death. How a person can be long gone, during a moment where you capture the picture, but in reality when capture the picture it suddenly become lost. The reading pays particularly attention to the urban city of Detroit. A corpse being photograph of child who is lying alone in a abandoned position. I found the reading interesting very resourceful around the city of Detroit, explaining the significance of it’s art and deindustrialization.

  31. After reading Arnold’s article, I’ve become fascinated by this presentation of urban decay. These photos showcase the pain behind the failing industry of these huge cities and with that an almost “death” to its’ livelihood. It is sad in that sense, however it is a way of remembering the past and have “aesthetic value”. The people in the community value these spaces and it is a great way to share their memories. In addition, these abandoned places show the true colors of the location. There are no distractions just the building in its naked state. With that emptiness, I feel, creates space for growth. It allows you to see potential when observing the structure itself; not the jobs it’s creating, the goods it’s producing or the economic gains of the operation. It turns it into an erased canvas that should be recreated.

  32. I vaguely remember Professor Stubblefield pointing this photograph out to one of my Art History courses a few years ago. I do not remember how I felt about the photograph, or how Stubblefield presented the history, but after reading the article the meaning behind the image became significantly clear.
    “The Octopus”, as described by Stubblefield, is the dynamic flow of the pathways of Madison Square Garden, emphasized by the towering shadow of a skyscraper, photographed by Alvin Coburn. Ironically, the “Octopus” becomes an innuendo for the expansion of New York City, with new skyscrapers popping up as if the tentacles of the beast were poking through the ground in the surrounding the area. However, to some, the “Octopus” may feel more like the Kraken, its long arms (skyscrapers) clutching the city – stemming from Madison Square Garden that was once the “gathering place for the city’s elite … [which] was sought out for its naturalistic setting” – blocking the sun from reaching certain corners and a constant reminder that the city could potentially fall to the post-industrial lifestyle.
    I want to point out the connection to Detroit and Youngstown in one of the earlier paragraphs that were used to highlight the surrounding “anxiety” of urbanization. Introducing the issues of “The Octopus” through this manner sparks a feeling of recognition which aided the reader’s understanding of how the photograph foreshadows a potential downfall of New York City. Although at this day in age, the dismantling of New York City due to massive migrations of populations and unemployment seems unimaginable, the rising desire for a natural environment and protection of that environment (sustainability, if you will) may be a factor in the downsizing New York City as people move away from large industrialized cities that block out the sun. In the article, the quote from Joseph Gilder’s piece for “Putnam’s Reader” emphasizes a desire for the sun shining on Madison Square Garden which seems to be nonexistent (in 1914), and implies a need to have such elements uninterrupted by man and modernization.

    • Rebbecca: I am glad you remember the photo from Dr. Stubblefield’s class. How urban photography and architecture are deeply connected is another important issue that is highlighted in this article. I am glad you noticed the significance of such a correlation.

  33. I chose to read Thomas Stubblefields’ “The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus”. This reading was focused on an aerial photograph of Madison Square Garden taken from the top of the Metropolitan Life Tower. The photograph is called “The Octopus” Alvin Coburn and was taken in 1912. While reading I spent a good amount of time looking at the photograph analyzing it. The author mentions how the photograph represents and “aesthetic purity”, an opinion I completely agree with. There are barely, if any, people in the park. There appears to be only a few people and maybe some cars on the outside of the park on the streets and sidewalks. In the photograph the shadow of the Metropolitan Life Tower is very evident, and to me appears to be an eerie foreshadowing of urbanization. Something else the author mentions is the “Premodern desire for open space” (341). It is interesting to consider how the ideas of the early twenties moved so quickly from “pure” to “efficient”. Looking at the photograph, I couldn’t help but fast forward the image of this city only a couple of years and see a bustling city suffocated in buildings and roadways. I really enjoyed this reading because it was different from what he have read before. Most of the readings we have been assigned are of the stories of the post-industrial fall of cities. I found it intriguing to look at the changes of a city from a different point of view.

  34. In Arnold’s article the photos show how the time evolves in one picture. She inputs a photo of when the school was lively into a photo of the same school when it was about to be demolished. It shows the students there as if they are ghosts of the school. They show the past of those hallways and what it used to look like. In these pictures Arnold manages to show change and I think that is fascinating. The photo with the band in what looks like the auditorium is particularly interesting. This photo depicts how things evolve, change and eventually fade away. What once was lively quickly turns into something dead and abandoned. She moves onto plants and factories of Detroit and shows pictures of those buildings decaying. On one hand, these photos emphasize on the emptiness and downfall of the buildings. It’s showing how time has ended or died. Another way to look at it is with hope. The photos could be showing the potential for a new beginning. I see a major correlation with the downfall of Detroit. It all comes down to whether people give up and let their city die out or pick back up and try to revive the place.

  35. With the construction of skyscrapers in cities such as New York, Chicago, etc. the amount of direct sunlight that can grace the streets with its presence is minimal. As was said in Stubblefield’s article, “if [one] might bask there in the sun. . . . With the Metropolitan tower completed, and a fourteen-story office building rising on the site…there is now little or no sunshine to be had.” Skyscrapers destroyed the little of what was left of the nature and beauty of the earth due to the almost solar eclipse that they create. By blocking out almost all of the suns direct rays it almost creates an abysmal atmosphere to be in. Although these skyscrapers can make an environment dreary, they can also invigorate the attitude of the area with the architecture. With sweeping curves and a more fluid design, the buildings can offer a better picture to the people of the city than the traditional rectangular prism that most are familiar with.

  36. Reading “The Octopus” made me think of the importance of photography when the subject is something as large scale or complicated as a city. It brought up points such as the importance of making sure people interpret what you want. This article is more focused on New York for that reason that New York is commonly known for their skyscrappers and Madison Square Garden. The imagery given to me is from a high angle you can see the head of an octopus which would be Madison Square garden, and the buildings skyscrappers and such surrounding it being it’s tentacles. In a way this could make people who are not that used to dwelling in skyscrappers more comfortable with them after seeing that there can be more to them than scary heights and obstructions. There was also the issue of people’s homes going away to make room for these towers. To appeal to these people who feel their way of life and the city’s is changing it is important to show the beauty of these tall buildings.

  37. In Thomas Stubblefield’s article, I found a lot of interest in the personification of the city skyscrapers as a sort of symbol or corporate greed and a movement in the wrong direction for the future. It is clear the audience from which this perspective is driven; small business owners and residents had a lot at stake to lose as the skyscrapers began to overtake the city. Even the mayor or New York City at the time, George McAneny, claimed to regret allowing them to be built in the city. I find these views particularly aligned with my own because I have always better enjoyed less urbanized architecture and environments. I feel that the skyscrapers, in a way, depersonalize the city and make it feel less welcoming. I also liked how he compared the views of Madison Square at street level to that from the top of the MetLife Building because it is not something that we often think about. Because of the height from which it is being viewed, the relative depth becomes so minimal that it is basically lost and with it all sense of familiarity.

  38. Arnold’s article on the fetishization of urban decay describes, mostly, the contextual chaining between Detriot and its post-industrial narrative – the myth of a dead ruin perpetuated by photography of decayed buildings intentionally devoid of human figure. As a millenial who underwent the near-universal stage of anxiety concerning the ruins of modernism, I’ll admit that I was (and, in part, still am) a connoisseur of the ruin porn described in the article. However, often when I’ve seen this imagery, it was far removed from its original place, as well as its original time – either via unlabeled photographs or decontextualized art assets in games and films. In fact, after seeing photographs of the interior of the Fisher Body 21 Plant, memories came reeling back of a specific level in the game Metro 2033 (a post-apocalyptic narrative set in Russia), which used that exact building as its layout. Indeed, apocalyptic media pastiches decay imagery across the planet, dissecting each site’s specific brand of ruin and fetishizing it as an image of the End Times. However, the context is often so far removed in these cases, that it rarely hazards on the perpetuation of, for example, Detroit’s post-industrial narrative. In Metro 2033, the area apparently based off the Fisher Body 21 Plant had no thematic connection to Detroit – the building, like everything else in the game, was set in West Russia (a place which also, ironically, has its own self-perpetuating decay narrative). So, photography and film did not color my mental depiction of Detroit – exaggerated oral anecdote (the occasional conversation sparked by a wildly sensationalized article concerning Detroit) was responsible for my personal understanding.

    • Noah I agree with you on the fact that the “context is often so far removed in these cases.” i am glad you got this out of the article. As an artist it is important to intervene responsibly (even if aesthetic concerns are hard to ignore). This notion becomes all the more vital in the context of the post-industrial city.

  39. I found professor Stubblefield’s article highly interesting. I find it fascinating that one picture could spark such a debate and hatred for something that didn’t really have anything to do with the picture it self. The fact that Coburn’s picture, “The Octopus” electrified people to push for something to be done about the amount of skyscrapers that were being built in New York. Then when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened it just proved everyone’s point about how dangerous skyscrapers can be. I just find it so intriguing that one image can start a whole movement towards reform. People underestimate how powerful and influential art can truly be.

  40. (James Sevasin)
    I read Tim Edensor “Materiality in the the Ruins: “Waste, Excess and Sensuality” I as a sustainability minor do not see any of these ruins as of any aesthetic value like the author. I understand that these ruins really show in the interior of all of these buildings that previous that used to fully stand with the inside part of the buildings hiding. I understand that it reminds people of small things that were in their life during this period. I understand the whole mystique part of these abandoned places. Having said all of that, as a sustainability minor, I find these buildings to be disgusting and useless. These materials in these buildings can be used to build something that is cost effective, useful and breathtaking. The artifacts can be used as something new and useful or be placed in a museum that makes the municipality some money to stimulate the current economic troubles of post industrial cities.The spaces in these ruins can be used to create green spaces or cost effective environmentally friendly buildings that will not only be helpful in sustaining the planet now but for generations to come.

    • James: I am glad you found the article useful. It is fascinating that these _material remains_ can be actually useful in the process of reviving a post-industrial city. Look forward to discuss this in further details when I see you in class.

  41. Deindustrial fragments brings a unique perspective to factories and mills closing, showing how it had affected people who worked in them. We talk a lot about Detroit, and New Bedford but not about Canada and this highlights events that had happened there. The story of Ed Lawrenson is really eye opening to the he found out the factory was closing after working there for 10 years. The company had moved files and were very unorganized had lost employee records until 4 months later he was able to finally prove he had worked there for 10 years. Hearing about company’s help a local economy thrive is always awesome to hear but when they leave they don’t care for those that they left behind job less and that causes the problems.

  42. Edensor’s flavorful essay sensually describes, among other things, the categories and details of materials in ruins – the decay of things and the stripping, aspect by aspect, of their thingliness. It was a powerful description of the entropy of the decay cycle as natural elements once shaken by human hands return again to homeostasis. At first, unfinished things culturally, then physically rot out of their original commercial context. Then, they hybridize with nearby materials – whether they be other things or natural elements. Over time, this hybridization becomes complete, as all turns to dust, dirt, and chemical slurry. Although it might not directly assist our efforts with the revitalization of post-industrial cities, it does help to bring out the bright side of ruin, and lend us a sense of empathy for urban explorers.

    • Noah: This is a wonderful way of describing the main points in Edensor’s essay. Indeed, this way of seeing the material remains of the post-industrial city allows us to take recycling more seriously.

  43. Tim Edensor: Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess, and Sensuality.

    In the Tim Edensor reading, I observed that he was talking about objects. How an object is able to be fixed. What I found interesting is this quote he mentions in the reading. “Social order persists through the maintenance of networks which variously comprise objects, humans, spaces, technologies and forms of knowledge.” This quote stood out to me because among human and objects and social, so how does it plays into art history?

    Wasted Spaces and Things

    Some people may consider objects as trash, but others may find that these objects have values and potential to be something beautiful. In the reading, Walter Benjamin is mentioned. He’s attracted to Arcades in Paris. Objects drew attention to material destruction in modern capitalism. The explorations of materials and objects collaborate together. The ruins of objects and materials come together. The sensual objects and materials.

  44. This is a day late, but for yesterday’s reading I chose to read Professor Stubblefield’s essay on Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus. I found that the review taught me many things I had not considered about the dawn of skyscrapers’ domination of New York City. Because I have observed New York City and Boston to be filled with “skyscrapers” my whole life, it had not occurred to me that it has been such a short amount of time since the first ones were erected. First of all, Stubblefield’s explanation of the photo and its significance as a messenger in history, able to tell us about the feelings of New York citizens back then, is beautiful. I also quite enjoyed his optimistic note on the power of photography to “produce” space, and therein to inspire design of the same. Next, I enjoyed reading about the tugging between corporate greed and the small businesses that were immediately feeling the strain of the corporation’s skyscraper advantage. I didn’t know that this struggle has been going on for so long now. It also was very interesting to read about the public perception of the buildings going up. It is characteristic of New York to be this busy, bustling, skyscraper filled center of American business…so it very much fascinated me to read about the initial apprehension as this now-normality of skyscrapers settled in to the city. When reading about the worry that the park in Madison square would be lost with all of its tranquility, it occurred to me that what is now in the center of Madison Square is “Madison Square Garden” that is in fact, nothing at all like a garden and is entirely instead like the very thing that people at the turn of the century feared. Lastly, as I mentioned in the beginning, this essay gave me a whole new perspective on the settling in of skyscrapers in New York City. Also of the feeling one has while looking over a city from high up in a skyscraper, and of photography being used to show such emotion and of it representing a big group of people’s sentiments.

    • Ashley: I am glad you highlighted the connection between architecture and photography that is so elegantly discussed in the essay. This helps us imagine better ways of representing the current state of the lot on the 7th st, etc.

  45. Corporate Wasteland was a very different insight, showcasing the people that had lost what they once called theirs. It really bring out the pain and disappointment behind the closing and deindustrialization of these locations. When seeing images of these abandoned buildings, someone like me can easily be detached from the stories behind them. What this exposes are the heartbreaks behind these beautiful disasters. As someone who enjoys these images of ruins, it gives a new perspective. It is not just artifacts of a different time, but the death of a culture that people thrived off of. These stories also show the underlying cultural reasoning behind the closings. Outsourced jobs, cheaper labor and failing industries gets thrown onto the ones working here for a living. It is something that is out of their hands. While investors are making ends meet to maintain their quality of life, employees are left defeated with no/little substitution. It changes the notion I had with the idea of ruins. Maybe that’s what is so fascinating behind ruins- the mystery behind what was and what will never be again. A paradox of this vegetated state that this structure is standing but not living.

  46. I read professors Stubblefield’s : The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus”. represents immediately recognizable landmark of New York’s Madison Square is transformed into an abstraction, a photographic equivalent of what Clement Greenberg would famously term Modernism’s “aesthetic purity. “The author mentions that about the photograph. In my opinion I completely agree with that because the functions of Octopus in downtown New York not only as a historically specific interlocutor with the city but also takes a lot of open spaces from the City. This means a possible reconciliation between the premodern desire for open spaces and the skyscraper’s euphoria of height.

  47. I read “Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality” by Tim Edensor and in one section the author goes on to talk about how we view old or out of date objects and buildings. He says that we view these objects and buildings as old and obsolete because they are not the next newest version. That they are in a sense trash because they are not the newest and most up to date thing. Edensor then goes on to say what we now consider to be trash was once leaps and bounds being made with the technological progress. We as a society however can not take a step back and appreciate something for what it once was, we can only compare it to something it is not. I could not agree more with this because if a building or a phone is created with the newest technology out it does not mean that it is in fact the best product available. With that being said just because something is older does not make it obsolete at the same time. We as a society need to slow down and appreciate the older things that got us where we are today and not just look at it as trash.

  48. I found David Christopherson’s account in “Corporate Wasteland” to be most eye-opening of how the workers of large corporate factories and mills really were not given a lot of thought when those profit-hungry corporations decided to move their business elsewhere. You would think that the large corporations would be able to spend enough money on their employees when they decided to shut down factories in order to keep them happy and quiet; but I was amazed at how the corporations so poorly treated their workers. What surprised, yet also didn’t surprise, me was the mention of how the government was of no use to the workers to gain help argue in support of the workers. You can’t help but raise the question, at this point in time, who was really in charge of the country? The Canadian government or the large corporations?
    Even more so, the corporations existed across Canada and the United States, moving business to the areas that would produce cheap labor as they pleased. So even if the government had a say about how companies treated its workers in one area, it did not apply in another. I think David Christopherson’s account is a great example of how corporations run the country (United States or Canada) for the government is largely a business.

    • Great response Rebbecca ! While this is not directly related to art or architecture, there are ways to link this article to your final project. For example, how a re-purposed building or a site may contribute to the lives of workers, etc. How we can commemorate the legacy of the workers from a long-gone industrial era, etc.

  49. Edensor’s insightful article offers a variety of explanations that shed light on human fascination with ruins, which can subsequently be used to offer an explanation for the popularity of “ruin porn.” Edensor explains that objects are imbued with social meaning and societal expectations. There are social rules for where objects are placed and how they are used. Additionally, the quality of objects indicates social status and dictate other social behaviors in relation to the possessor of the objects. Objects exist within systems that govern human behavior, like the set-up of a factory. When a building is abandoned, objects lose their social meaning and are decontexualized. It is fascinating to see objects stripped of their meaning, especially in places with such strong classist undertones as factories. The most interesting part of Edensor’s article is when he analyzes how ruin porn is typically seen. Generally, ruins are seen as a degeneration of society, a loss of something once great. He argues that ruins could instead be indicators of the inherent flaws of capitalism and be used as socialist propaganda. This is similar to Stubblefield’s revision of ruin porn to be a positive portrayal of the synthesis of nature and the built environment. Ruin porn is seen as problematic because it fetishizes degeneration and glorifies the post-apocalyptic. Through the lens of Stubblefield’s and Edensor’s articles, ruin porn could instead be pointing to a utopia in which the organic and built coexist and class status has degenerated along with the objects that characterized and upheld it.

    • Hannah: This is a wonderful response. And I am glad to see that you found a correlation between Stubblefield’s and Edensor’s articles as well as the terminologies used in Arnold’s essay.

  50. The article “Deindistrial Fragments” by High and Lewis, recapped the lives and struggles of the workers in the industrial plants that would just close and move out of the country without warning or compensation. Although some of the accounts given by the workers were of devastation and complete and utter regard of human life by industrial corporations, many of them were about the fight and the vigor of the employees and the “nerve” that they had. Throughout the turmoil induced by the greedy heads of corporations the workers managed to still somehow get their way. Dorothy Routenburg, for example, both bought her “five dollar house” and stuck it to Brantford by putting her name in the bag with the twine. This article exemplified the perseverance of people and their ability to “stick it to the man.”

  51. In Lewis and High’s fifth chapter of “Corporate Wasteland,” I found the interview with Ed Lawrenson particularly interesting. It is clear that all of the men and women out of a job are unhappy and blame the company, but Ed seems to have a particular focus on what is really wrong. He says “Things have always been made too easy for corporations. They are allowed to come in. They make tremendous profits, they ruin people’s health and lives, and when things get tough, they just pack up and disappear.” Often we look at these industrious cities and don’t see how the post-industrial era that may come – or in the case of this article, already has come – may take a toll on the lives of those who are part of it. Because it is more comfortable to the company’s metaphorical “pocket” to uproot and move their facilities elsewhere, in this case the United States, they just do it without any regard for the consequences their decisions may have on the lives of all their employees.

  52. After reading Edensor’s article, it really reminded me of our last class. Talking about ruins and how there are so many of them, even with how beautiful they can be, and seeing the history of decay and imagining life in them and the former history and glory behind them. While ruins CAN be a wonderful piece of history, it really is a shame that there are so many of them, and nothing is being done about them. They can be a wonderful source of shelter for homeless, the less fortunate, or for animals. But it seems we as humans have a too strong sense of nostalgia and such a hatred for change, that we refuse to change these buildings because we’re too afraid that we’d lose the history and the glory of them. And Edensor talks about this, using discarded and trashed items to make other, useful masterpieces.

  53. After reading “Corporate Wasteland”, I was appalled at how poorly the workers were treated. A worker, Ed Lawrensen, they interviewed recalled a story about how his corporation Bendix, tried to tell him that they lost his paperwork and that he had never worked for that company before. I wonder what happened to Ed after that? Did he end up getting some sort of compensation? Or did he just have to accept the fact that the corporation thinks that he did not work there because he “does not have documentation”? Reading these short narratives by these former workers makes me realize how little corporation values the lives of its employees. It angers me how some of these corporations just packed up and left, with no warning to their workers. The poor workers were left in the dust and had to figure out how to support themselves and their family members. I cannot even begin to imagine how stressful and distraught these families must have been – not knowing whether or not they were going to be able to put food on the table. But even faced with such dire situation and adversity, the workers had this resiliency about them and were able to find other ways to make ends meet.

  54. For today’s reading I read “Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization”. It was helpful in understanding the details of Canada’s deindustrialization to read the personal accounts of Canadian factory workers who lived through shutdowns. It had not occurred to me before this that the United States’ surge in industrial productivity had taken the Canadian factories’ jobs, much like how foreign countries had later taken the American factories’ jobs. A few of the workers cited this as a huge cause of shutdowns, and it particularly struck me to read how the factories in Canada would make their profits at the known expense of workers’ health, and then if things were no longer as profitable in that location they would “pack up” and move their business to the United States. The hundreds of people that would be put out of work and left to wonder where their food and shelter would next come from did not phase the management of the industries. This lack of concern for the workers was seen in the example of Allen Industries, when they were selfish enough to agree (after tremendous effort and rallying of workers) to a meeting. Instead of having a productive conversation or offering advice to the workers who had served at the company for years they sat there cold and uncaring, because nothing the workers could say would increase their profits in Canada. The same lack of consideration saddened me while reading about the 18 former workers who got their hopes up, spent their time energy health and money to help rebuild the shutdown site…only to be told their efforts and money were useless all along. They could have been out looking for a new job or spending their money otherwise, but they had faith in the industry managers who eventually let them down.

    I did enjoy reading the description of the Canada Motor Lamp factory from the worker who was optimistic after he was able to find more work. His description of the open big room, paired with the photo included in the article, really gave life to his story. Also, his note of how the factory used to be really nice until someone caused a bunch of damage to the vacant building by starting a fire, it was like recapitulation of the dilapidation at that site. However the story after that (of the Canada Motor Lamp) struck me due to the author’s age. As a 27 year old worker at Bendix Automotive with two kids, Ed Lawrenson was essentially thrown into poverty with no life jacket. Not only did they let everyone go after Lawrenson had been there for ten years, but they also claimed to lose the employee records. Since he is only a few years older than me, I can’t imagine having worked at one place for 10 years, fine-tuning those skills and with presumably no other degree or training, only to find that my job was gone, that I had no permanent claim on the home where my family lived, and no way to obtain Unemployment because my former company left me there to starve and freeze. It made me really think about how the labor unions gained their strength and the need for that strength to even be formed.

    Finally, I like how at the beginning the author tied the women’s’ rights of the time in. Men found that they could transfer to other companies, but the women could not. Dorothy’s story showed that there were some nice managers at these factories, as he helped her buy a house. However, even his kindness could not compete with the twine industry in the United States (specifically she names Chicago). So even though she worked every day, through the worst of sickness, she earned her house but couldn’t keep her profession as a factory worker because she was a woman and because the industry in the United States out-competed that of Canada.

  55. Lewis and High’s article Corportate Wasteland was extremely eye opening. In the chapter they interviewed workers in the industrial plants describing their experiences working and losing their jobs. It highlights what is really going on as one worker says, “Things have always been made too easy for corporations. They are allowed to come in. They make tremendous profits, ruin people’s health and lives, and when things get tough, they just pack up and disappear.” Workers would fight back in any way that they could. For example, in the first interview, one woman would write her name on a card and put it in the bag of twine because she didn’t want to give all the credit to the corporation. Also in the last interview the worker explained how they did a campaign where they all would wear badges that read “I’m blowing the whistle on Allen Industries” and everyone had a whistle they would blow to aggravate the supervisors.

  56. The article “Corporate Wasteland” brought up the difficult times workers had when the time of industrialization was fading away. Females lost their job quickly and even the males were losing their jobs in large numbers. Everyone that had been working in poor conditions but they had to deal with it because work was difficult to find. A Dorothy Routenburg talked about her experience in trying to get a home but had to get money by working in poor conditions. She even mentions that she was so desperate that she went to work when she felt she would die from sickness. Reading about Ed Lawrence was a bit heart breaking as well because he is almost in his 30’s, with kids, renting a place, and he lost his job just because a lot of employee’s files were said to have gone missing. He couldn’t even get welfare. This just showed the cruelty at work during these times.

  57. After reading “Deindustrial Fragments” in CorporateWasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization it gave me a larger perspective for the economical minds business owners had back in the late 1800s, early 1900s and today. Our society went to fast and furious out of our industrial start with no thought whatsoever about the future. As a result factory owners and people high up prospered as well as the general worker for a time however when the shift from manufacturing to providing services came many lost their jobs and lively hood. It was simply unfair to those who worked long hard days for decades at a time. In a worldly perspective developed first world nations should be educating developing nations that are going through industrial periods now about sustainable long term operations instead of just using them as producers for cheap labor.

  58. Endesor’s article talks about the interest that people have with buildings that are in the ruins. I find ruin porn fascinating because it tells a story about what used to be there. It is like preserving a time in history. Edensor says that since these buildings aren’t new and put together, we over look them. Our society needs to look at the potential that the building has instead of deeming it as empty. We need to start looking at the positive aspects that ruin porn brings and figuring out how we could make the buildings come alive again.

  59. In Edensor’s article, “Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality”, I found that the section on Material Excess and the Recontextualisation of Objects to be very interesting. He talks about the irony in how waste dumps are dirty and disorderly and yet still provide a space that can be scavenged fir useful pickings. I completely agree with this statement, it goes along with the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and I really support that. I also really liked his definition of a ruin and the concept of ruination. When he talks about the process at the bottom of page 110, he gives a very clear explanation of what happens. Edensor states, “Catalyzed by contact with moisture, temperature and non-human life, the latent energy of matter emerge and act to transform their containment in the form of a building, producing a ruin”. He has such a way breaking things down into their simplest forms it is so easy to grasp his ideas and concepts.

  60. Reading: Steven High and David Lewis. “Deindustrial Fragments” in Corporate Wasteland: The
    Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    This reading was a variety of dialogues between the authors and those who were involved in the deindustrialization of factories and mill of Ontario, Canada. The stories were very honest, and seemed to be told from the raw perspective of those who felt like they were victims. What was interesting though was the tone that the closing of these factories was normal. One man even mentioned that finding out his place of work was closing was “The usual way it happens”. However, these people did not accept what was happening, and were determined to do something about. The final story about Allen Industries in Hamilton, Ontario told the story of how the workers who lost their jobs were resilient in receiving justice. They picketed, got public attention, blew whistles all in an attempt to win their case for a settlement. Their attempts were worth it, and they received a settlement and “recognition and the right of workers to get something more than a pink slip”.

  61. Steven High and David Lewis’s “Deindustrial Fragments” contains interviews with Canadian factory workers who were affected by their company shutting down their mills. Their interviews provide a personal voice for the individuals whose lives and careers depended on big business providing work for them.

    The blame of the factories shutting down is entirely the part of the corporation’s greed, and their ability to turn a blind eye to people in need. By choosing to not respond to the worker’s request to meet, the administration running these industries was attempting to treat the works as tools, rather than actual people.

    The corporation’s greed has a much larger impact than just taking people’s jobs and way of living away. Through closing down factories and leaving their shell behind to rot, they are in turn damaging the landscape that surrounds the people. Their abandoned industrial structures serve no purpose when there is no work being done in them, and serve as constant reminders of the corporation’s lack of care for individuals’ way of living. The factories left behind serve as a visual indicator of the economically depressed region, and the ruthlessness that capitalism demands.

  62. (James Sevasin)
    I found the South Coast article to be very interesting because it showed in depth about how New Bedford was way ahead of the rest of the nation in the abolitionist movement. It did a great job in showing how the white Quakers and African Americans living peacefully and prosperously together in the same neighborhoods in New Bedford. I also enjoyed how the article showed how people with lots of money and the working class lived in the same neighborhoods during the same time period. I found this to be interesting because in almost all places today the very wealthy only live in neighborhoods where only very wealthy people can live in. The wealthy and the working class in New Bedford could relate and work together and make the community better which you do not see today. The very wealthy today are generally very out of touch with how the working class lives today.

    Behind the Mansions: The Political, Economic, and Social Life of a New Bedford Neighborhood was very interesting in regards to learning how the people lived in this area during the 17 and 1800’s. I was interested in how the political, economic and social landscapes of New Bedford and other surrounding cities happened during this time period. I believe this article could have been much better if they had taken out the majority of the peoples names mentioned in this article. There was probably hundreds of names mentioned in this article which made it next to impossible for the reader to fully understand what was going on in the article. I had a very difficult time figuring out the significance of all these people mentioned in the article. I also feel like this article could have been condensed to 40 pages if the author took out the very small, not so important details out of this article.

    • James: Glad to hear that you found this useful. In fact, these two essays are probably the most important readings regarding the vacant lot on 7th st. I am also grateful for your criticism of the text. However, I think that the names might actually help you locate the information about the people who occupied these buildings in the past. Indeed, some groups may want to highlight the history of the site more than others….

  63. I really enjoyed reading Pamela’s “Behind the Mansions”. I think it did great job at illuminating how and why New Bedford was such a unique city. It was very fascinating mansions that housed more affluent individuals were neighbored by middle to lower class homes. This must have made the atmosphere of the neighborhood feel a lot more connected and almost as if they were equals instead of separated by their financial worth. In the second reading, it was interesting how some of the Quakers did not really like the magnificent mansions that were built. Of course, this all came down to personal beliefs, but the mansions are quite exquisite.

  64. I found Pamela Marean’s article really interesting. It showed how New Bedford was one step ahead of everyone else. In the article it says that in the 19th century people came to New Bedford for opportunity and to achieve the American Dream. I thought it was interesting that the wealthy and the lower working class lived in the same neighborhoods and next to each other. They would help each other out, which you don’t really see today. Today the wealthy want to be in neighborhoods that are strictly for the wealthy. A lot of people don’t want to help those who are in the working class. Back then some people would even take them in like George Howland did who raised John Briggs with his own sons. In the second reading it gave a lot of history of how it was back then.

  65. In “The City from Afar” by Thomas Stublefield I find it interesting how the shadow casted by a building causes some controversy on how people view it. I think it is a great way to bring a different form of design forward and have people view it differently than how they would normally see it. The image itself is set to have messages come out of it by the way it was photographed and also by the irony of being in a open space but yet closed in by tall sky scrappers. Although many people saw the sky scrapers as a loss of greenery and fresh air it was also a good thing. A lot of the sky scrapers are associated with business usually which creates more jobs and the higher the building the more jobs there will be. Even though there are a lot of sky scrapers builders and architectures build around to where every so often there are large lots dedicated to parks and filled with tons of greenery. Therefore as bad as it may seem these tall buildings blocking our sunshine and airiness are keeping people in business and are just as good as as the greenery.

  66. Behind the Mansions (2 Articles):

    It is amazing to me how the tight-knit family of New Bedford, mixed with blacks and whites, supported one another and foresaw their neighbors who worked for them a few years ago, purchase the mansion next door. What happened? It is not a secret that New Bedford is still currently a gateway city for many new-comers, in this case immigrants, hoping to start a successful new life in the United States. However, the city has become divided, and it seems the once thriving city of New Bedford is scraping at the coffin to be rebirthed.
    New Bedford has a wrongful reputation. Its foundation was built on the trust and mutual respect between African Americans and European Settlers who set out to make a living and took on the responsibility to look after one another. The article from SouthCoast News by Pamela Marean “Behind the mansions: Researchers explore ‘microcosm of historic New Bedford’” was a brief, but exciting, excerpt on the amazing history behind the old doors of New Bedford. The mansions contain a lot of history, but many people who reside in New Bedford are unaware of the history. What I took away from this article was that the mansions should be something residents looks up to in New Bedford; not solely because they promise wealthy lifestyles, but because in order to reach this class in society, one had to work hard and work as a team with the city. If history is inevitability going to repeat itself, this is New Bedford’s shining moment to reconstruct history to its finest degree.
    After skimming the introduction of the published article “Behind the Mansions: The Political, Economic, and Social Life of a New Bedford Neighborhood”, I learned that the Quakers played a large role in the political society of New Bedford despite their unpopularity in the Plymouth and Cape Cod colonies. Even Fredrick Douglass stated “‘I am among the Quakers,’ thought I, ‘and am safe”, which emphasizes how the Quaker beliefs supported African American’s in their quest for freedom. Without the Quaker ideology that people themselves were the righteous act of God, and that they were able to practice Christianity without the help of a clergy to have a direct experience of Christ, the politics of New Bedford’s history may be significantly different. Without the inclusive Universalists Quaker beliefs, African Americans may not of been able to of found jobs and supported themselves and their families in such a short amount of time.

  67. In “Materiality in the Ruins” by Tim Edensor I feel as though many places should be restored because of so many reasons. The ruined, destroyed, places in many parts of the world which show everyone how it was all started and originated. These buildings were built with a meaning and deserve to be restored and preserved for everyone to see its beauty not just walk by as if it’s just another priceless building. As the building blocks of society today many ruins are kept by their beauty but no one does anything to maintain them and to fix them. Ever city has its bad side and it needs to be taken care of so the whole city can be beautiful and remain in full bloom in jobs.

  68. Behind the Mansions: What I liked in the reading of the Practical, Economic, and Social Life, is that it talks about the difference between blacks and whites and how they were drawn to New Bedford. They were drawn to economic opportunity. Whites were drawn to dominant Puritan/Pilgrim structure and blacks were drawn to a movement to being freeing there own kind. People of color were mainly drawn to New Bedford because of it’s black community and plus it was the North. There were a lot of colored people that were born in the South that lived in the neighborhood of New Bedford. 45% were from slave states, while 32% were from free states. A number of colored people from around the New Bedford, are from around the New England area such as Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore, and Maryland. What I also found interesting with this reading is that blacks who were drawn from South cities were a fully third of slave-state that lived in places. Despite, the overwhelming presence they had faced from coming to the South, they were determined to escape to the North.

    Behind the Mansions: Researchers explore ‘microcosm of historic New Bedford

    What I liked about reading the ‘microcosm’ of New Bedford is that the president of the New Bedford Historical Society which is Lee Bank, she has a family generation that once lived in New Bedford. She explains that she and her family are descended from a slave family. She explains that this guy name William Piper from Virginia has owned a home in New Bedford, and had did chores for William Rodman back then. She also mentions that the Piper women would return to the South often to help educate freed men. What I also liked when I was reading about the town of New Bedford is that the people were very passionate about helping one another. Nowadays when you hear about New Bedford, people always have something negative to say about New Bedford, but what a lot of people don’t know is that there is so much history, black history among New Bedford. As I was reading the article, Polly Johnson is mentioned again, she carries great history among her culture. From the Underground Railroad to helping fugitive slaves.

  69. “Behind The Mansions” research really explores the characteristics of a very diverse space. The setup of downtown New Bedford was established as a result of many factors. One, the wealth was here and therefor development was easy. With the example of the Rotch Jones Duff House, Captains, Presidents/CEOs and political leaders were paving the development of this city as it rose to the top of the global market. This research shows how these huge homes stayed within family and maintained their elitism.

    Another is the diversity. Where the elites invested millions in downtown New Bedford, it gave them leverage and power to break social norms. In the example of the Quakers, being well off yet humble, allowed them to advocate and participate in slave abolition.

    Along with that diversity, with the influx of blacks/immigrant workers living in New Bedford created a large spectrum for the workforce. It wasn’t uncommon to see blacks and immigrants working alongside white artisans and workers. Most commonly on vessels or maritime work.

    Downtowns geographical placement and this array of workforce is represented in the design of the city. Demographics often play a huge role in neighborhoods. The reading points out how this specific neighborhood is an exemption. Within the area, black laborers and white Quakers lived and worked next door to each other. Unlike so many other places in the States, the New Bedford antebellum neighborhood ranged from great wealth to poverty. It could be seens that this space was the first of all to be “integrated” certainly residentially speaking and perhaps racically.

  70. Behind the Mansions:
    The Political, Economic, and Social Life of a New Bedford Neighborhood:

    This reading was a detailed history of the County-Six Neighborhood in New Bedford. Throughout this reading it was very interesting to get a glimpse into how the inhabitants of New Bedford lived before the Civil War. I enjoyed reading about how strong of a neighborhood this part of the city became due to the parallel beliefs between the Quakers and fugitive slaves. It was also intriguing to read about how the complexity of this relationship between these two groups of people made for social, political, and economic changes in the area.

    Behind the mansions: Researchers explore ‘microcosm of historic New Bedford’:

    As I read the more detailed reading first, I felt as if this reading was more of a summary and was meant for a public audience. This reading focused around the part of New Bedford where are project will be centered, the New Bedford Historical Society. The microcosm of historic New Bedford meant how this small section of New Bedford held so much culture and meaning during this time in history. Microcosm literally means “a little world”. This area cultivated an ethnic and racial melting pot, which is really interesting for such a small section of Massachusetts. One part of this reading that caught my attention the most was the Quakers beliefs and values of “doing something” especially when it came to providing a safe haven for slaves. I also found the fact that class mobility was very possible and happened a lot for fugitive slave families was fascinating.

  71. Pamela Marean’s article in the SouthCoast news was very interesting and seemed like it was good general information but a lot of that information we had learned from our visit to the New Bedford Historical Society. Things I did like had to with giving us more family names of wealthy and how they got there money and what they did to help slaves and immigrants. One of those men was William Rotch Rodman, who housed and gave work to those in need as that is apart of his quaker beliefs. It is good for us to keep learning more and more about the New Bedford residents who made a difference.

    Behind the Mansion’s although much longer than Pamela’s article gave much more detail and information making a good source and reference for our project. One thing I found very interesting is when they say most the people who moved there from slave states were from Richmond Virginia, Baltimore Maryland, and District of Columbia. Also James Davis was a prominent quaker who carried equal rights near and dear to him making him a role model in my eyes. He also set up the first quaker burial ground which is pretty interesting. I am definitely going to be going back through and reading this again as my group and I start figuring out what information we need as a starting point.

  72. The articles regarding “Behind the Mansions” both offered valuable information about the neighborhood that our vacant lot is located in. The article on the study by Pamela Marean was useful because it put a great emphasis on how rare the social situation in New Bedford was. The fact that mansions could be beside the homes of the people working in them was so radically different from the situation elsewhere in the country. Even today, the homes of the working class are very far from those of the elite. This kind of spatial equality allowed for a diverse neighborhood. The article including personal stories of individuals that could be included in our lot as individual history offers an idea of larger social patterns while being interesting to the average viewer. The most interesting fact to me was that no slave had ever been forcibly taken from New Bedford, indicating that the city was surrounded by cities that were more lenient with slavery. The citizens of New Bedford were not just abolitionists in theory but in practice. The study article offers a more detailed view of the neighborhood. However, it also contained a useful comparison of New Bedford to cities in the South. Southern cities were passing laws to limit black rights like marriage, property ownership, and worship centers. The inclusion of this information heightens the sense of New Bedford’s draw and how different it was during this period. These articles will be very useful for finding more information about citizens of the neighborhood during this period and, more importantly, remembering how singular New Bedford was during this period of history.

  73. The Political, Economic, and Social Life of a New Bedford Neighborhood talks about the residential area adjacent to the more “wealthy” County Street in New Bedford. Most of Union, Wing, County, and South Sixth Street had a variety of people from different social classes, occupations, and ethnicities prior the the Civil War. Along with the diversity of the people there is the diversity of the buildings in New Bedford which include Gothic, Greek, and Italian architecture. This article also goes into detail about the demographics, geography and the amount of work people did in the area. The article definitely makes for a good reference when discussing the history of New Bedford and it’s architecture.

    Pamela Marean’s article “Researchers explore ‘microcosm of historic New Bedford’”, seemed to give more personal perspective than the other “Behind the Mansion” articles. It also gives less of an analysis than the other article and goes off facts and use quotes and opinions from people in the current day commenting on the past. Having the point of view where people who know the area are looking back gives more to think about.

  74. Behind the mansions by Pamela Marean gives opinions of the current residences of the city. She talks about the neighborhoods of New Bedford which helped me even more with ideas about the lot for the historical society. It gave me an idea of what the lifestyle and neighborhoods were like in the past. She talked about how people pulled together as a city and helped others. There were men that would take in slaves and provide them with a place to live. It was fascinating to see how New Bedford came together to help one another.

    Pamela Marean’s article focused more on the New Bedford Historical society. This reading basically summed up how the Quakers helped slaves out by taking them into their homes. She focuses on the area around the historical society more and tells about their history on that street. This helped me better understand their culture back then.

  75. I found Pamela Marean’s article on the SouthCoast news to be very interesting because it dealt with a lot of the information that we learned at the New Bedford Historical Society. The article also has information on wealthy families in the area and how they helped out the slaves and immigrants. One of these men was William Rotch Rodman who was a practicing quaker. He housed and gave work to those in need because as a quaker he felt that the African American’s should not be slaves. I found this to be very interesting because before I read this article I was unaware that quakers felt this way.

    Behind the Mansion’s was very similar to Pamela’s article but went into much more detail about the residence of New Bedford. The section of the article that I found most interesting was about the percentage of people who moved from slave states. This was just eye opening because it was a really large percentage mainly from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. I also found the in depth information about the quakers to be quite interesting because the quakers all got pushed out of Plymouth to New Bedford and the quakers were the ones to accept the African American’s at first in New Bedford. James Davis was a prominent quaker in New Bedford and he carried equal rights near and dear to him. He also created the first quaker burial ground which i found quite interesting. These were both great articles and they could provide helpful information for our project.

  76. When I was in middle school at what is now the Global Learning Charter Public School of New Bedford, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take multiple trips to the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and tour the house and the garden, but it wasn’t until several days ago when we met at the New Bedford Historical Society that I realized the two were so closely adjacent to each other. I found these articles interesting because they helped refresh some of the information I had learned on my past trips to the RJD house, but moreover, they presented a lot of information I hadn’t learned. Though this was not the first section of our syllabus to make mention of it, I still found it interesting to know that some of the wealthiest residents of New Bedford were also some of the greatest activists for civil rights. It just seems at first really contradictory to all of the stereotypes I have been exposed to, especially the stereotypes that existed during that time period. Generally, the wealthiest people were plantation owners who owned numerous slaves. So for this reason I am intrigued that these fugitive slaves were granted refuge in the ‘back yard’, per se, of the wealthiest people in the city. Architecturally, the articles answer a lot of questions I’ve had most of my life living in New Bedford; as a kid, whenever I would pass through this area, I always wondered why it looked so vastly different than the rest of the city and why it had such a large variety of styles within its own neighborhood. Obviously these questions were not so specifically focused in my mind fifteen years ago as they are now, but there has always been that sort of roaming curiosity that seems now somewhat satisfied.

    • Jonas: I am really grateful for this personal history of New Bedford and how it relates to the content of the reading. It is also significant, as you mentioned, that wealthy neighborhoods did not necessarily create separation from the working class and people of color.

  77. (James Sevasin)
    I decided to read “Detroit’s Geographical Expedition”, “Alley Culture” and “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery”. I really enjoyed “Detroit’s Geographical Expedition” because it had many ideas on how to improve Detroit end the racism, and impoverishment issues that were cheap or free to fix. I am extremely disappointed that the person who made these reports did not publish them and was forced to resign or got fired. I believe if his work was published it would be extremely useful for dealing with Detroit today.

    I was really impressed by “Alley Culture” because these artists are doing great things for this neighborhood. I love how these local and contemporary artists use vacant buildings and alleys to create amazing and very cost effective art. I personally believe that these make the city more vibrant and also reduce crime levels in the city

    I found the fact that someone in “Detroit Industrial Design” turned a house into a cool art gallery was awesome because I think creating more art galleries will encourage more people in these neighborhoods in Detroit to become artists which will in turn make Detroit a more aesthetically pleasing city to look at.

  78. Both of these articles felt so familiar due to the fact that they tied together the information that we learned from Lee Blake during our time at the Historical Society. These articles were very interesting because they were directly related to a section of a city that is right next door to our campus and they discussed not only the neighborhood we visited but the exact house and plot of land. The article by Pamela Marean referenced the plot of land that our projects are going to be revolving around and the history of the building in which we sat in whilst listening to Lee. Reading about some of the same names that she had mentioned such as “Frederick Douglass” and “Lewis Temple” gave a more in-depth understanding of the neighborhood and the perseverance of the individuals. The second article focus more on the economic and personal aspects of the neighborhood. It explained the “integration” of the residents and how in some cases the rich lived side by side with the recently freed African Americans who were emerging into middle class.

  79. The brief article on Behind the Mansions was a powerful insight to just how real our impact might be – there is a genuine possibility that what we propose to do with the lot could transform the city and its reputation. The tour book itself is extremely comprehensive and provides details throughout the neighborhood’s history that will be worth referencing throughout the course of the semester.

  80. I really enjoyed Marean’s article about the history of the Johnson house and whaling and abolitionist parts of New Bedford. I find the topic of slavery and the underground railroad to be fascinating so being able to link that to the whaling history in New Bedford and how the depending on each other really makes the history of the antislavery movement feel a little closer to home, more realistic then just reading about it in a textbook. I loved reading about how Lee Blake is historically connected to this neighborhood and that her family was apart of it and lived through it. It makes me understand her passion and dedication so much more than if she wasn’t, it makes me respect what she has to say so much more because her family has lived through it.
    I also really loved the fact that Marean talked about how New Bedford held so many opportunities for the residents to move in society because the whaling industry and abolitionist movement was constantly bringing in newcomers to fill in lower positions. Lee Blake explains, “It was unique here in New Bedford to have some of the wealthiest people in the city living in some cases right next door to the people who worked for them.” An example that was given was Nathan and Mary Johnson. They started out as domestic servants in New Bedford then were able to become shop owners, running several businesses and owning three properties in their vicinity.

    After reading the first couple of pages of Behind the Mansions, I found it very interesting learning about how some of the first communities to call themselves a neighborhood were formed. Reading about how the excluded all Quakers from being able to buy land and even reside in the area was shocking to me because knowing that the people there were some of the most famous abolitionists and antislavery advocates, I’m surprised that they would neglect a certain group of people due to what they may or may not believe. Also the section on John Russell and his family and how they formed the basic diameter of the neighborhood by building their houses and forming roads to areas that they wanted to have access to. An action as simple as that, wanting to be able to go straight to a certain place, ends up creating a whole grid of streets that will last hundreds of years is amazing.

  81. I found “Alley Culture” to be a very interesting read because it is just a garage that has been converted into a gallery. I think this is a very economical use of space; instead of building a new space to put a gallery there, the owners used an already existing space and just designed their gallery around that. I also like how the gallery owners did not want their art to be differentiated from the “Hood”.

    The second reading “African Bead Museum” was intriguing. It was very interesting how Dabls surfaced his museum with mirrors, painted wood, and paintings. I thought that was very original and a great way to draw in an audience because it has such a unique exterior. This initial attraction is a great gateway to educate people about the content contained within the museum’s walls.

    In the third reading “Detroit Industrial Gallery” I was a little bit confused about why Burke listed the Detroit Industrial Gallery as $1,000,000 and then put it on eBay as $500,000?

  82. First section I read was “Heidelberg Project” which has to do with artist Tyree Guyton. His project had to do with not only an abandoned lot but only used abandoned objects. Guyton is said to have wanted to improve the neighborhood, but to be honest I do not think his art was the right way. If it was to make you feel lost and abandoned it would have been quite successful but since it was to improve the neighborhood through art it did not work. To improve a neighborhood in Detroit I feel it would be best to put something nice, useful, and practical not abandoned objects.

    Next I took a look at “Detroit Industrial Gallery” also talks about a lot on in the Heidelberg projects this time it is a house bought by artists Tim Burke. He uses abandoned objects or junk and puts it all over his house and yard for art. He puts up a for sale sign for 1,000,000,000 and same house on ebay for 500,000 they are definitely extremes but he is bringing up a point. He is not doing this for the money, but about how the reality of value in the economy. This is I believe portrays a stronger message than that in the “Heidelberg Project”.

    Lastly I took a look at “Detroit Geographical Expedition” studied what seems to be as segregated areas that got less care and were run down. William Bunge the head behind this and college professor with help of his students for 2 years and help from local activists to as they say expose the spatial effects of racism. This to me is interesting as to they may not be looking at Detroit being let down due to factories leaving but possibly to racism and separation throughout the city.

  83. Matt: This is a good criticism of Heidelberg Project and I really appreciate your point of view. I agree!
    I also find the race issue in Detroit Geographical Expedition interesting. We’ll talk about that in class.

  84. “Alley Culture” is a gallery in a converted garage behind a house in Detroit. It is both an exhibition of space and community meeting place. I think this is a great way to take unused space and turn it into something that the community can enjoy. At this gallery they also hold “voice of the people” exhibitions where artists can display their work, annual seed exchanges of locally organic seeds, showings of alternative films, and more.

    “The Heidelberg Project” is made up of abandoned houses and vacant lots in Detroit. Guyton collects and exhibits made and found objects from around his neighborhood. The city of Detroit has destroyed some parts of it in order to protest this project because some people don’t see how it benefits the community. From an artist’s standpoint I think this is a really cool idea, but I don’t think it necessarily benefits the community as a whole.

    “The Detroit Geographical Expedition” was a platform that exposed spatial effects of racism, disinvestment, and impoverishment in the city. Students produced “maps that could change the world”, which was a project to map a neighborhood’s spaces of insecurity. After documenting a crack house in the area, neighborhood residents burned it down. Some thought this represented an unwelcome extension of their research while others thought it was one of the most profound ways that this research could be put into practice. I thought it was really interesting how a project produced by students had such a strong effect on the community.

  85. “Detroit Industrial Gallery” was definitely an interesting perspective on echoing the market economy in a ridiculous fashion. The ridiculousness of it, of course, was in advertising the sale of the masterpiece for $1,000,000,000. However, it would be a cool idea to exploit an “imperfection” in New Bedford society in a comical light for the designs for Abolitionist Park. That way, its bringing a commonly avoided topic into the conversation while leaving behind the anxiety.

    The essence of “Alley Culture” was to take something old and repurpose it into something functional. Not necessarily something pretty, but something that emphasized what once was of the old Detroit and bring in something new, and art gallery, to compliment it. As mentioned previously, to bring in the idea of using something old and repurposing it for something functional in a new way, would bring Abolitionist Park to life while reflecting on history.



    One of the biggest questions when thinking of designs for this vacant lot on 7th street, New Bedford is how to incorporate not only the abolitionist history but the culture of the migrating African Americans. “African Bead Museum” is an excellent example of how that was done in Detroit in order to compliment their African American population. In this case, the museum was set up to serve as a place to remember and recall the African cultures.

  86. Herscher’s book included interesting sections on the Detroit Geographical Expedition, the Detroit Industrial Design Gallery, and the Catherine Ferguson Academy. All of these showed the innovative ways that Detroit residences are utilizing their space and offered insight into the social atmosphere. The Catherine Ferguson Academy showed the importance of schools that are nontraditional and offer growth through education and community involvement. Additionally, this academy allowed students to bring their children with them, suggesting that Detroit needs better childcare systems in their schools to allow young mothers to learn. The brief description of this academy said that it had been slated to close, typical of the response of the city of Detroit to economic issues. If this city is going to be revitalized, programs like this that are innovative and effective need to be funded. Economic closures must be more careful and think to the future instead of solving immediate issues. The Industrial Design Gallery made an interesting comment on the economic situation of Detroit by collecting found objects and then offering the Gallery up for sale for an absurd amount of money. In such a floundering economy, the prices of houses are almost meaningless as everything is unaffordable. Putting the gallery on the market draws attention to the absurdity of the economic situation. Finally, the Detroit Geographical Expedition set out to identify the players in the Detroit community, in a way that seems like the goal of Herscher’s book. Detroit has many innovative and brilliant people working to revamp the community, it seems like the help they need should come from the larger system. The Academy was working against city funding, the Gallery against the housing market, and the Expedition against the school that ended the study originally. The people of Detroit are clearly intelligent, what they need is for the people in power to recognize this and learn from them.

  87. For the articles assigned, I chose “African Bead Museum”, “Detroit Geographical Expedition”, and “Catherine Ferguson Academy”. First, I read about the Catherine Ferguson Academy. When the author talked about how the academy designed its agenda to be more functional with the needs of the students (by combining parenting and education), it reminded me of something Corinn and Brian from the CEDC had talked about. They had said that many design firms will base their designs off of what looks nice on the outside, but that those designs ended up not being functionally usable for the actual people using the space. It seemed like here, with the Catherine Ferguson Academy, they were being the exception. I think its incredibly brilliant and progressive to combine the parenting and learning for pregnant and young mothers who may not be able to afford daycare or can’t find anywhere reasonable to continue their education once with child. This is a huge step in women’s rights as well, because then mothers can continue getting an education instead of having to stall or even rewind their careers because they are bringing a child into the world. The idea of having a huge garden space where each student/mother has her own plot is also really beautiful! I like how it ends up giving them a nice garden to take care of and to continue traditions with, but also that it engages community. So having read all of this, and having fallen in love with the idea of this school and this amazing opportunity for these women, it really disheartened me to see that corporatization could ever possibly get away with closing such an amazing institution! I am grateful for this article bringing light to such a matter. Now, instead of not knowing about this, we can say “how do we save this idea? How do we promote it and protect it?”

    For the second article, I read “Detroit Geographical Expedition”. I was not as interested in this one, though it did provide enlightening information, because it has been so nice learning about the people and cultures that have suffered from deindustrialization and disinvestment and marginalizing communities. Though it wasn’t as nice or as engaging of a story to read for me (as compared to stories of the people affected themselves), it was useful to learn about one of the people who collected info on the issues plaguing cities and who tried to display it usefully. In other words, you never really get to learn about who is finding the statistics you read, or who mapped out the patterns you learn about in classes such as ours. Ultimately, I like how William Bunge’s story unfolded from an original project in the 60’s to a laboratory for urban advocacy.

    Finally, I think that my favorite of all three articles was the “African Bead Museum”. First of all, I was able to understand how the social, cultural and political oppression of many African Americans has separated them from their culture because of our previous readings that zoom into those issues. So to see that someone began a huge project to preserve and present that culture is beautiful. Not only did Olayame Dabls begin a huge project, he spent twenty years collecting the art, textiles, metalwork etc and then went through many different moves and renovations to make the museum its best. I particularly admired two things: one, his ability to bring culture into the present day; and two, to creatively use materials recycled from sites to make extensive and beautiful art! I admire his ability to bring culture to present day because the article explains that he took the “patrimony” of African-American culture and gave it all new value as a resource for the culture as it has evolved now. My second point of admiration came because he took a space formerly used to dump all this debris that was considered to be trash and was probably a burden and unsightly, and he turned it into a series of installations! I think that is so beautiful, and I will be looking into his work more because we may be able to learn something from his recycled art.

    • Excellent response to the reading! I am particularly intrigued by this: “…his ability to bring culture into the present day; and two, to creatively use materials recycled from sites to make extensive and beautiful art! “

  88. The first article I read was “Catherine-Ferguson Academy,” which is all about farmland that was transformed into a prepatory school for young mothers and pregnant young women. The idea of this is so incredible and the fact it was actually made, and it happened it phenomenal. So many young women who get pregnant get their GED, highschool diploma or stop completely after having their child because a babu is a huge responsibility and takes up so much time that most younger mothers don’t pursue a further education.

    Next I read “Alley Culture” about using unneeded or unused spaces for contemporary art exhibits. The idea is a wonderful use of space. Using houses, buildings or storage space that have lost their initial use is a wonderful way to recycle. Instead of just leaving them there to be forgotten memories.

    Finally, I read “African Bead Museum,” and the article was interesting to read. I can’t help but wonder if each bead presented and showcased had an excerpt about the bead’s history. The image with the article is interesting, but I do wish I could see it in colour. The beads look like they’d have bright and earth-y colours.

  89. The first article I read was “African Bead Museum”. I found it really interesting how the founder Olayme Dabls collected the African beads, sculptures, textiles, pottery, and metalwork for years before he found the final location for the museum. I liked how he incorporated traditional African architecture with the mirrors, paintings, and painted wood for the exterior walls.
    I then read “Alley Culture”. I think this was my favorite out of the three to read. The gallery was in a converted garage behind a house. It displayed works of contemporary artists and exposed wood-frame walls. I liked how the space was used as an exhibition space but also as a community meeting place. I really liked reading about the “Voice of the People” exhibitions that it would have. They would have annual seed exchanges where local organic seeds were distributed. I think the space is a great way to get the community together.
    The last article I read was “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery”. Tim Burke turned an existing house into a work of art. He would collect and exhibit abandoned objects on and around his house’s walls and grounds. He got people talking about the Detroit real-estate market again when he put a for sale sign on his house with an asking price of 1 billion and on eBay for $500,000. He was able to raise questions about the reality of values that the market economy fabricates. I thought that what he did was really interesting.

  90. The first section that I read was the “Heidelberg Project” which has to do Tyree Guyton. Guyton is an artist in Detroit who uses abandoned buildings to express his artwork. Guyton is said to have wanted to improve the neighborhood but I feel as though his artwork was not the direction that they should have chosen. Guyton’s art makes you feel lost and abandoned and since the scope of the project was to improve the neighborhood I feel like it did not work. In order to improve Detroit I think something useful and practical should have been placed in the lots instead of his artwork.

    The second section I read was “Detroit Industrial Gallery” which also talks a lot about the Heidelberg projects but this section focused on a house bought by artist Tim Burke. Burke uses abandoned objects and “junk” and puts it all over his house and his yard for art. He then goes and puts a for sale sign up and lists the house being worth 1,000,000,000 dollars and the same house on ebay for 500,000 dollars. These are both extremes but he is bringing up a good point that he is not doing it for the money but to show the reality of value in economy. I feel as though that this is a stronger message than that portrayed in the “Heidelberg Project”.

    The third section I read was “Detroit Geographical Expedition” which studies the segregated areas in Detroit that got less care and ended up becoming very run down. William Bunge was the head behind this idea and he, along with the help of his students and other local activists tried to expose the spatial effects of racism. This was interesting to be because it looked at the poverty that has stricken Detroit from a different angle. We always hear about the car companies leaving Detroit and that is the reason that they are struggling so badly, where Bunge feels that it is largely caused by racism and separation throughout the city.

  91. The chapter “Alley Culture” talked about taking something old and deconstructed and repurpose it. Going off the reading, Detroit does not have much to just make more things whenever they want so it would make sense to repurpose and use what they already have.

    “Catherine-Ferguson Academy” is about reforming what used to be bad real estate into something with a purpose. The Catherine-Ferguson Academy was named after a freed slave who promoted education and children’s health. The school was made for pregnant women or women with kids and even used what was once unused land for farming, which helped teach them a sense of community.

    The Heidelberg Project consisted of a group abandoned houses in Detroit and was used by Guyton who once grew up in the old neighborhood. He took a lot of junk and objects and made them into a nice exhibit to show the beauty of his childhood’s neighborhood.

  92. The story on the Detroit Geographical Expedition, again, revealed to me just how heavy an impact a small group of college students can have on a city. Of course, their efforts were built upon lost documents from half a century before – but they were able to use this information and update it for a new atlas. They were, at the end of the day, ultimately able to publish what Bunge could not, and make the public aware of segregated and neglected spaces within Detroit.

    The reading on the African Bead Museum was a helpful example of the preservation of a lost cultural heritage. It allowed the descendants of slaves to reconnect with what their ancestors lost from their homeland. It’s a powerful cultural asset in Detroit, for it not only preserves the past, but is the epicenter of new art inspired by the traditions housed within.

    The Heidelberg Project brings up an important issue concerning art made through illegal and uncooperative means. Although Tyree Cuyton’s intent is noble, he does not communicate with – nor query the consent of – the neighborhoods surrounding his sites, and so they are sometimes met with protest and destroyed. The spontaneous nature of the work might arguably be an integral aspect of the project (not an argument I personally would make, but that I can understand someone else making) – but some compromise should be made; if not with the law, then at least with the neighbors of properties that Cuyton ultimately do not own.

  93. The excerpt in micropolitanism on Farnsworth Street shows just how innovative people can be and the opportunities than can arise out of nothing. By simply starting a collective farm people of all skill sets could come and learn from one another to better the community. If deindustrialized cities started this practice more it could lead to increased development in cities like Detroit.

    John’s Carpet house in the temporary communities chapter is a great example of a low cost, weekly event that can bring together a community. If one group of people dictate the space and set up the main event, other people will come and show there support through barbecues and other fun activities. Temporary communities are such a good idea because they use the space that is already available instead of building more structures that could possibly be left tot ruin.

    The Full Scale Design lab in the Extreme housework section provides the surrounds areas with the means to do experimental architectural design and come up with new ideas in perhaps a stale architectural present.

  94. The articles I chose were “Alley Culture” “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery” and “Detroit Geographical Expedition.” The discussion in “Alley Culture” was focusing on the re-purposing of buildings in Detroit for artistic purposes, which is a sustainable act. taking something that is run down and reinvigorating it without destroying and starting from scratch is a not just a main focus of this class but is an important thing to think about moving into the future. How can we use all of the run down buildings in our surrounding areas. In “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery” discussed an artist who bought a building in Detroit and then tried to resell it for an absurd amount of money just to more accurately portray to people what Detroit’s housing market is like. He is saying that it is equivalent to trying to sell someone a small home for $1,000,000,000 or $500,000. This is a completely unrealistic expectation and will do nothing to turn anything around.

  95. Detroit Geographical Expedition article was an awesome article for me to read. I liked how they were just a group of people in college along with William Bunge that made such a difference for Detroit. They studied the vacant areas of Detroit just like we are studying the vacant lot for our project.

    In The Heidelberg Project, Guyton used abandoned buildings in Detroit to display his work. He grew up in the neighborhood when he was younger, so he knew all about it’s history and the people around there. Guyton turned abandoned places into a spectacle for the street.

    Alley culture was different from the other articles that I read. Instead of turning the buildings or lots into exhibits, the inside of an existing garage was turned into one. They recycled old areas and made the spaces become something again.

  96. Gabrielle Monteiro

    The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit was initially depressing. I was confused by the point of the guide. I chose to read “Geographical Expedition”, “Industrial Design Gallery” and in result “Heidelberg Projects”. It then occurred to me that whereas these are all stories of the failed movements/projects, the guide could be representing the steps towards success. This is almost a directory of all previous attempts to in fact guide projects from not repeating the same mistakes. This is new! What a better way to learn to do something than starting with knowing what not to do? It also shows how movements in at-risk communities such as in Detroit can evolve. They will start one place and sometime down the line end and begin at another. This is what I noticed with Industrial Design Gallery and the Heidelberg Project. The Design Gallery developed directly from that initiative; sort of a chain reaction. Whereas both these projects had their mishaps, it makes you wonder what became of this idea and where other inspired people may have taken it.

  97. The article I chose for tomorrow’s reading was Kathleen Reinhardt’s “Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago”. I like that Gates included social commentary and that he used the rebuilding and re-appropriation of space in Chicago. Additionally, I like the description of “artist-activated ecology” and the fact that he incorporates an architectural token of what once was into what can be so much more. That is a very sustainable choice in materials. Similarly, I very much enjoy the idea of investing “in the care of things.” I decided to look up Theaster Gates’ work to see what it looked like. I found many pictures, including before and after pictures showing the extent of work done. It is many different colors because the boards are recycled from other things, and it actually looks pretty amazing for being sustainable, decent to look at, low-cost, engaging to the community…Gates says that he, as the planner, was “not here to redeem anything, but to make things present again”, and I think that is such an optimistic and perfectly simple statement. At one point the author practically outlines our very research problem at hand: “Everything looked a bit duller because of more empty lots in between the houses”. This leads into the importance of this article. We must try to find and use as many functionally sustainable, recycled and/or recyclable materials as possible. The author praises wood as a sustainable material, saying it can be shaped easily and used for many things. This article introduced me to the idea of “urban acupuncture”, which involves small disruptions in the urban landscape that “revive the organism of a city”. I plan to follow up with reading the cited article on urban acupuncture. That is similar to what we are doing with our vacant lot, by taking an empty and unused lot and putting something that produces positive feelings for/within the community. As Gates’ goal was to get the community involved and engaged while preserving history, our project for the Historical Society is very relevant to this reading.

  98. In “Detroit Industrial Design Gallery” I find it interesting what Burke does and the meaning behind it. There are many different ways in trying to reengage life into their community but putting a for sale sign on his front door was a bit much. Even if he was trying to bring up financial matter, visual interest to his block or even bring questioning it is still strange. Why would you want to approach a matter by putting your house “for sale” at and out of this world price range? On the other hand in “Heidelberg Projects” I think the idea he brings forth is great. In a way it brings personality to the empty space and life into the abandoned found objects he uses. This in my opinion is a creative way to shed some light into these lonely places and make it known how many of these places are around and how something should be done to save them. In “Crafikjam Alleys” I agree with this idea in how the youth was involved in a somewhat big deal neighborhood wise. I love when kids are brought into society and they get to be expressive instead of causing trouble else where. Keeping them occupied by doing something productive and keeping them out of trouble is a great way to spread a world of creativity and art around many neighborhoods.

  99. in “Behind the Mansions” I found pretty cool how there are homes from slave families or ex slaves and how closely related they are. It is crazy to think how life used to be back in the day and how slaves would go to New Bedford for freedom and how immigrants would flee over to get better living and jobs to feed their families. I find it in a way kind of comforting to have atlas 19 homes in the same area that have interesting backgrounds to who lived in them and how their journey to be known for who they are today.

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