Sunday we visited the Lexington/ Concord Massachusetts area. There were several old houses along our walk that sit in isolated locations, the road at a distance. Time capsules of a sort, neither in use nor out, their windows continue to watch the world go by. Only memories inhabit these houses, unless you believe in spirits or ghosts. How many tracks has the sun cut along these floors, sweeping across it and illuminating the dust motes. How many storms have battered the walls, cold drafts sneaking in to chill the ankles of those gathered around the fireplace. How many small feet pattered through the rooms, out the doors and on the stairs. While the building might not be old in comparison to castles and ancient dwellings, it is still part of a full, rich human history that is timeless.
Old houses draw me in, yet I always half expect to see a curtain twitch even if I know no one lives there anymore. It’s the eerie feeling of the windows gazing out mutely at me, trying to tell the story of the place that is slowly slipping away.
This old 1849 mill is getting a do-over, a second chance after years of sitting empty. It has suffered from neglect and bad window changes. But here it shows what the new windows will look like, ahhhh just lovely. The developer could have gone for a squared off window and filled in the arch, but instead chose to get exactly what this facade needed to be brought back to life. The old windows are lovely too, but in rough shape, hopefully they will be salvaged. Currently asbestos removal is being done, but through some open upper windows around the corner the underside of the floors are visible, beautiful wide warm toned wood with huge beams. There was a plan years ago to make this a mixed use of businesses, art studios and start ups space. Now I believe it will be mid to high end housing units. Still, it is at least going to be used and not left to deteriorate more. Parking might be a bit of a problem as it is a big building not originally designed for residences. But it is a good example of re use instead of demolition.
While visiting in the land of limited cell service, I stopped by this slice of days gone by. Had it been geographically correct it felt like maybe Laura Ingalls or Nellie Oleson might appear and start browsing the shelves. But what really caught my eye as I passed , was the vintage bike standing in the window. Once upon a time, not that long ago, this was a functioning store. Then it became an antiques store, now it sits quietly at a country intersection as the traffic flows passed. I don’t recall it ever being in use, but my mother does. Apparently the house behind it is where the proprietors lived. It is now empty, as is the one next to it. Though we did see a raccoon on the roof, so I guess unoccupied is a relative term. It can be hard to tell sometimes as people seem to walk out and close the door behind them, leaving personal belongings in place like some strange tableau. It can make it a bit unnerving to approach as I certainly have no desire to encounter a resident in what seemed to be an abandoned house! Often in these places, even when empty, there is a palpable feel of previous lives still being played out. Tread lightly, tread lightly.
A couple weekends ago while in Provincetown for a wedding we strolled by this house. It is an old firehouse and the porch is behind the original door to the fire truck bay. Anyhow, I could pass many a pleasant hour on this porch. It soothes me just to look at the photo. I also would be unlikely to accomplish very much, but what a spot to be lazy in!!
This house is just a couple of streets away from the studios, though I didn’t happen upon it while out walking. I found it online in a piece about unusual houses and wanted to see it for myself. It seemed like just the right image for wrapping up this week, which has been evenly good. And I am savoring it as I know the ebb and flow that goes on in life. Anyhow, this is the Bower’s House (Lowell Massachusetts) if anyone wants to look it up and get some more information. I have seen a number of octagonal houses, with the chimney in the center so each room was served by a fireplace before central heating. But I can’t recall seeing a round house, though maybe it has slipped for my mind. I do wonder what it would be like to live in a place where the rooms are pie shaped, or at least where 1 wall doesn’t have 4 right angle corners. Would it be disconcerting or comforting? What would it be like to see a whole neighborhood of this shape house?
Anyhow, it is fun to see something so unique still being used as a dwelling.
Have a great weekend!