Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Built Environment

From the Archives of 2005—5


July 26, 2020

Photographs from the archives of 2005 finish up with scenes and objects in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

1 Before we moved back to Oberlin, we lived next door to this barn and silo.

2 Around the corner, a quarter mile away or so, is an old barn. I have often wondered if that Future Farmer of America stayed on the farm.

3 Further down that road was another, even older, barn.

4 I longed to get closer to it, and finally one day, I did. The hand-hewn beams alone were worth the dare.

5 Not too long after I visited it, the barn was demolished. I often wonder if its owner, across the street, saw me go inside and considered it too dangerous. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to go back.

6 Did J.E.J. put his initials in the barn out of pride? Did someone save this plank?

7 Continuing down the road I saw more history played out in the fences. I wonder how long this one has stood.

8 On the other side of the road a living tree was put to service in guarding the property or corralling livestock.

9 Heading back home I came upon a gorgeous maple tree on that gorgeous October day.

10 In Michigan for a niece’s wedding, I had some time for photographing before the festivities.

11 In Wisconsin my daughter drove while I played photography out the car window. This is one of my first Intentional Camera Movement images—taken before I knew there was such a thing, and maybe before the term was coined.

12 At Dr. Evermor’s I played with mirrors.

13 This may be part of Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron.


From the Archives of 2005—4


July 19, 2020

When I went to Japan in 2005, we visited Hiroshima. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I remember feeling uneasy during the ride there. I really didn’t want to go. It turned out to be a moving experience I’ll always remember. I’m posting only two photographs from Hiroshima because you can find many online. On another part of the trip our group saw the Aso volcano, site of a geothermal power station.

1 Thousands of origami cranes hang near one of the sculptures in the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park. A plaque near the park entrance was my first indication that the park was to be a particularly memorable experience. This is what the plaque says:

Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace

(Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims)

Erected 6 August 1952

This monument was erected in the hope that Hiroshima, devastated by the world’s first atomic bomb on 6 August 1945, would be rebuilt as a city of peace.

The epitaph reads, “Let all the souls here rest in peace; For we shall not repeat the evil.” It summons people everywhere to pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased A-bomb victims and to join in the pledge never to repeat the evil of war. It thus expresses the “Heart of Hiroshima” which, enduring past grief and overcoming hatred, yearns for the realization of true world peace with the coexistence and prosperity of all humankind.

This monument is also called the “A-bomb Cenotaph,” for the stone chest in the center contains the register of deceased A-bomb victims.

In putting together this post, I learned that the plaque is controversial. This is from a Japanese travel site:

The carefully-worded Japanese message inscribed on the cenotaph says: 安らかに眠って下さい 過ちは 繰返しませぬから. In English this translates to, “Please rest in peace, for [we/they] shall not repeat the error.” The “we/they” discrepancy is a result of an intentional turn of phrase. The sentence, written in formal Japanese, does not include a subject, leaving it open to interpretation as to whose error is being mentioned. However, right-wing political activists have taken exception to this possibility, and strongly objected to it possibly admitting Japanese guilt. In 2005, the cenotaph was vandalized by someone for this very reason.

While the decisions of all the related governments will likely be discussed and debated for generations, the Memorial Cenotaph will continue to remind us that the loss of any life is a tragedy for us all, and the loss of so many lives should be remembered forever.

While we were in Japan we felt no blame, even when we met with a woman who had survived the attack. The emphasis was always on peace.

2 This was the morning view out our hotel window in Hiroshima.

3 Our travel to the volcano wound through mountains that fascinated this flatlander.

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9 We visited a sake brewery; that may be where I took this photograph.

10 A building and the reflection of a person somewhere in Tokyo—or Kyoto. I regret not identifying the locations of many of my photographs while I still could.

11 Even in 2005 we saw many Japanese, mostly young people, glued to their cell phones, but we also saw people reading paper books on the subway and elsewhere.

12 View from a subway platform in Tokyo—or Kyoto

13 Nightscape from our hotel room window

14 A construction fence with reflections

15 We visited a fish farm . . .

16 . . . and some pipes.

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Close to Home—and an Excursion


July 12, 2020

These days several disasters have been claiming my attention: 1) the worst one: the one we are all dealing with now, 2) corrupted photograph files on an external hard drive, and 3) a burst pipe and subsequent flooding in our cottage. I’m happy to say that the second disaster turned out, I think, to be not much of a disaster after all. I’ve cloned all the files to a new hard drive and checked all the photos from 2001 through 2011, finding only nine corrupt files, all in the folder for 2005. None was a serious keeper, and I deleted them. I’ll keep checking the rest of the files, just in case, but meanwhile I am much relieved. The third disaster, the most  recent, ruined three large prints kept under the bed and the mats of two framed medium-size prints along with a very large drawing. We are living in chaos until all the flooring is replaced and things—rescued from the flooded rooms and relocated to the unflooded room—can be set to rights. As for the first disaster, I’m coping, as are we all, more or less.

All this is to say that I haven’t been out with the camera much lately. But here are four photographs taken in my neighborhood in May and downloaded to the new hard drive. The fifth photo is from a mid-June drive in the country. My locked-down community has begun what it calls a soft opening that allows such drives (as long as we don’t exit the vehicle). After I tame the chaos a little, I hope to take more such outings.

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From the Archives of 2005—3


July 5, 2020

In January 2005 I accompanied my husband and 10 Oberlin College students to Japan. We were there three weeks—they to study land use, and I and my camera to drink in whatever we could. While our group saw sewage-treatment plants and fish farms and such, we also visited tourist attractions, including these two Shinto shrines.

July 8, 2020 Update

New information added in the caption to #5, thanks to a comment from fellow blogger Steve Schwartzman.

1 Aoshima is a small island off Kyushu with an unusual shoreline. In English it is known as The Devil’s Washboard, but I don’t know if that is a translation from the Japanese. If I remember right, the island itself—rather than something on the island—is considered sacred. Shinto shrines are identified by their torii gates, the orange structure in this photograph.

2 On this day the waves were strong.

3 It was low tide when we arrived, so these rocks stay at least partially submerged.

4 I could have spent days just photographing the rocks.

5 The erosion alone is fascinating. I’ve seen photographs of rocks similar to these taken in other parts of the world. Thanks to Steve Schwartzman, who commented recently, I now know that these rock formations are called tafoni.

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7 Iron nodules like this are embedded in the sandstone along Ohio’s Vermilion River.

8 Bits of shell adorn the rocks like confetti.

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10 Some depressions are nests for smaller rocks.

11 Thousands of torii gates wind around the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. The beautiful Japanese characters on some of the gates give the names of corporate sponsors. I prefer to think that they are poems.

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13 We arrived shortly before sunset, which offered interesting shadows.

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Close to Home 6


June 14, 2020

I’m no closer to solving my corrupted-files problem than I was last week, with the possible exception of reassurance from fellow-blogger Michael Scanlon that putting corrupt files on a pristine drive will not harm the new drive. So this week I hope to migrate all the files from the damaged drive to the new one even if I can’t fix the corrupt files. Meanwhile (and earlier), I’ve been sending photos to some people in my community that I took close to home before basically abandoning my failing drive. These are ones I sent out this past week. Most have already appeared on this blog. I hope you don’t remember or don’t mind seeing them again. 1 Before our tennis courts were prepared for action this season, the courts looked like this. Photograph taken April 15, 2020

2 I like to think the yellow posts are keeping the fireplug from harm—and they are. Photograph taken October 16, 2017

3 Housing renovations require dumpsters. How lucky for me. Photograph taken June 12, 2018

4 Don’t fret for these flowers; there were plenty still left on the plant. Photograph taken June 9, 2018

5 The Flowering Chair. Photograph taken July 30, 2017

6 Rock Pond at Sunset. Photograph taken July 3, 2016

7 Rock Pond with Ducks at Sunset. Photograph taken August 8, 2016

8 Rock Pond with Waterlilies at Sunset. Photograph taken August 8, 2016


Close to Home 5


June 8, 2020

It’s been three weeks since the last post, and three weeks since I finally decided not to push my luck with the external hard drive that houses my Lightroom catalog and all my photographs. I had been seeing just too many corrupted files as I was going through the archives. So I have not turned on that drive except to try repairs. My attempts didn’t work, and I’m waiting for an IT person at my former place of employment to get back to me with her suggestions. I have a backup of all but the most recent downloads, so all will not be lost. But still . . .

Meanwhile, here are a few photographs I took around my neighborhood last year that I don’t think I’ve posted and a few more that I downloaded before declaring my drive dangerous to use. Maybe by next week I will have repaired the damaged files and transferred the uncorrupted ones to my new drive. But if I can’t repair them, I have a question for other photographers or techies reading this post: Will cloning corrupted files to a brand-new hard drive hurt the new drive? I have thousands of photographs, and to go through them all to find those that are corrupt would take a bit of time. If you’d rather not put your recommendations in the comments section, you may used the email form in the About section of this blog.

Tree reflected in Buttonbush Vernal Pool, May 5, 2019

2 Ghosts on Wildflower Hill, June 15, 2019

Waterlily leaves in Meadow Pond, May 3, 2020

4 The last—for a while—sunset through bare branches, May 7, 2020

5 Dumpster discovered in the groundskeeping area of our community

The side of the dumpster in full sun

7 Another side of the dumpster

8 Detail of an untitled sculpture by Forbes Whiteside on the Kendal at Oberlin grounds


From the Archives of 2005—2


May 17, 2020

Here are some photographs I took in Ohio in 2005.

1 Yes, Ohio. This photograph featuring a portrait of Joseph Stalin was taken at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, where a movie set in a Soviet prison was shot. The 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption was also filmed here. The reformatory has long been shut down, and the facilities are now used for special events, like my husband’s high-school reunion.

2 The Flats—A.K.A. the floodplain of the Cuyahoga River—requires many bridges. The sun was setting on this one.

3 Otto’s Greenhouses once thrived near Vermilion, Ohio.

4 Morning light hit the redbud tree outside the second-floor window of my former residence in May.

5 I used to pass this field on my walk from my former home to the Vermilion River.

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7 This is a young film of Leptothrix discophora, one of the iron bacteria, on the Vermilion River.

Algae clings to the undersides of some leaves floating on the surface of the Back Pond at Schoepfle Garden.

9 The reflection of a maple tree is almost obliterated by the tree’s leaves.

10 This view is one I often spent time taking in on my walk back home from the river.


Close to Home 4


May 10, 2020

The ponds in my community continue to fascinate me. You’ll probably see a lot of them before our lockdown is lifted. I’ll also keep checking out our groundskeeping area.

May 12, 2020 Update

Last night Robert Rodriguez critiqued the first photo on his Creative Critique-Live #6 event. If you want to see what he said about it and did to it, fast forward to 20:55 on the YouTube video. The whole video may be of interest to you other photographers who read this blog.

1 These feral apple trees were flowering at Green Pond.

2 A friend said this photograph made her think of a moon gate.

3 I was aiming for the ripples in the middle distance as they were lit by the sun setting over Meadow Pond, but the ripple in the foreground was an unanticipated gift.

4 My resident botanist tells me that many young leaves make their appearance as pink or red rather than green. The advantage is that light is less able to penetrate the tender young tissues until they have matured, by which time they will have developed their chlorophyll and turn green. There may be even more to it. I found the following on a web page of Northern Woodlands, a quarterly magazine published by the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, a nonprofit in Lyme, New Hampshire:

Scientists studying the physiology of fall foliage have suggested that the anthocyanins responsible for red color in leaves—in fall or spring—may help them withstand cold and screen them from damaging ultraviolet rays, air pollution, and various other assaults. This may not seem all that clever in an autumn leaf that’s about to drop, but in a spring leaf just getting started on a full growing season, it’s a brilliant strategy—especially considering all that could go wrong for a young leaf.

5 There’s one in every crowd, right? (And no, these wheelbarrows are not waiting to turn green.)

6 I also found a collection of traffic cones for my collection of traffic cones in our groundskeeping area.

7 The sun begins to set on Green Pond. The flowering tree in the background is the same tree seen in the foregound of the first photograph, taken in the morning a few days earlier.


Close to Home 3


April 26, 2020

A few days ago I walked over to our grounds-keeping area. In the almost-four years I’ve lived in this community, I’d never done that. The natural areas also called to me.

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From the Archives of 2004


April 19, 2020

1 In July 2004 I took a two-week embroidery workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts from the renowned Renie Breskin Adams. If the word embroidery conjures stuffiness for you, be sure to click on Renie’s name. On the weekend between the two weeks of workshop, I wandered around with my brand-new DSLR, a Nikon D80.

2 I took this photograph in the women’s restroom of a restaurant somewhere.

3 This still-life arrangement was in a display window of an interior design firm in downtown Sarasota, Florida.

4 My friend Britt and I were driving home from downtown Cleveland again when we came across a collection of burned-up cars that we thought were the remains of a used-car dealership.

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7 Haystack is on Deer Isle, Maine. The ocean there is nothing like the Gulf of Mexico at Sarasota, a sea location I’m more familiar with.

8 There is a lot more visible life on the Deer Isle coasts.

9 The seaweed is different . . .

10 . . . and so are the rocks.

11 Maine rocks are unlike the rocks (like this one, covered in silt) along Ohio’s Vermilion River, too.

12 I have made many photographs of the Back Pond at Schoepfle Garden, most of reflections.

13 The Vermilion River’s bedrock is shale.

14 Vermilion River shale includes iron, mostly microscopic. Benign iron bacteria love it.

15 The iridescent iron bacterium Leptothrix discophora sometimes coats the precipitate of other iron bacteria.

16 Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are edible. It was very tempting, but I didn’t pick this one in Schoepfle Garden.

17 People in Oberlin are used to seeing white squirrels on the town square, but we don’t often see a white one and a grey one arranged (with contrasting backgrounds, even) on the same tree.


From the Archives of 2003


April 5, 2020

The last post comprised photographs that I took around the grounds where I live. With things as they are, for a long time in the future new photographs will be taken on the grounds where I live. So here’s a little deviation for you (and me).

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Revisiting the Kipton Grain Elevator in 2020


March 22, 2020

The Kipton grain elevator series started October 24, 2014. Last Sunday I went back to Kipton. Among the grain-elevator ruins a local farmer has erected some new silos and paraphernalia, but those aren’t what interested me during this trip. I’d love to show you close-up details of many of these photographs, but that would make this post ridiculously long. I restrained myself to one, #22. Tell me if there are any other photos whose details you would like to see, and I’ll put them in the Other Files section of the blog.

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From the Archives of 2001 and 2002


March 15, 2010

Not having any new photographs to show, I went through my photographs of 2001 and 2002 today hoping to find something shareworthy. I found only one from 2001 (the turkey-tail fungus) and 14 from 2002. It was frustrating to see many photographs that might have been good if only I’d framed them better. Even more photographs were images of interesting things rather than interesting images of things. Ah, well, photograph and learn. These were all taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-F707. You may have seen some of them in earlier blog posts.

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A Trip through Archived Ladders


March 8, 2020

The last few blog posts have included photographs of ladders. With ladders on my mind I took a tour of my archives this week.

1 The first three photographs are of a ladder attached to a diesel tank in Cortez, Florida. This one is from April 2014.

This and the next photo are from April 2012.

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4 This January 2010 photo is also from Cortez, but I can’t place where in any greater detail.

5 This ladder photograph, circa September 2013, is of the old Kipton, Ohio, grain elevator.

6 This photo was taken in March 2005 in a Sarasota, Florida, alley.

7 I took this December 2012 photograph in an old building in Sarasota’s Rosemary District that my friend Janet and I snuck into.

8 I took this photo in May 2006 during the hanging of the quilt show Artist As Quiltmaker in Oberlin, Ohio.

9 These are apple-picking ladders photographed August 2013 on Garfield Road, Henrietta Township, Ohio.

10 I took the last four photographs in our “front yard” on Garfield Road. This is the peach-tree area of the orchard in May 2004.

11 I think this is a pear tree—unless it’s an apple tree—in November 2003.

12 These are persimmon trees in November 2015.

13 Here are the same trees three days later, photographed about the same time of day in different weather.


More Wandering around Downtown Wellington, February 2020


March 1, 2020

Wellington held more treasures, I was sure, than I was able to discover two weeks ago. So last Sunday I went back.

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Wandering around Downtown Wellington, February 2020


February 23, 2020

Last Sunday I drove to the first town south of Oberlin. Wellington’s history is unlike Oberlin’s in many ways. Most especially, it is not a college town but a town with an important role in a farm-related business: cheese making. Murals on downtown buildings depict Wellington’s past, and the town’s big old Victorian houses reflect the prosperity of some of its early citizens. Another thing that sets Wellington apart is that Archibald Willard worked in Wellington and is buried there. You may not know his name, but you may be familiar with Willard’s painting (or its take-offs) called The Spirit of ’76. Wellington has a few more-prosaic distinctions, too, as you’ll see below. Then, of course, I found some things I just plain like. Or make that, some plain things I just like.

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4 Mr. Crosier’s cheese-factory building still stands, now housing a yoga studio.

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More Wandering around Downtown Oberlin, February 2020


February 16, 2020

Last Sunday I wandered around downtown Oberlin again. Four of the photographs in today’s post are variations on ones I’d taken during previous downtown wanderings. It’s fun for me to compare the new with the old photos, and on the chance it might be fun for you, I’ve included the old ones here.

1 The old ticket booth of the Apollo Theater, photo taken last Sunday

2 The old ticket booth of the Apollo Theater, photo taken April 30, 2017

3 The old ticket booth of the Apollo Theater, photo taken last Sunday

4 The old ticket booth of the Apollo Theater, photo taken May 29, 2017

5 I wonder how many of you are able to identify this nicely rusted object.

6 Backside of storefronts, photo taken last Sunday

7 Backside of storefronts, photo taken April 30, 2017

8 Alley still life, photo taken last Sunday

8 Alley still life, photo taken November 21, 2018

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10 Tree shadows on old painted wall sign, photo taken last Sunday

11 Tree and old painted wall sign, photo taken May 5, 2018

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An Unexpected Adventure


February 9, 2020

In 2006, years before my friend Britt forsook Oberlin for Santa Barbara (and before I started this blog), she and I drove to nearby Elyria, Ohio, to see what we could see. Starting with a promising alley, we had not been there long when a man approached and invited us into the building we had been photographing. He was renovating it and thought we might find interesting things to photograph inside. Did we ever. Were I to do these photos over, I would take many of them differently, most often by pulling back a bit to include more in the frame. But I had so much fun taking another look at these even as they are that I decided to share them here.

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Wandering around Downtown Oberlin, February 2020


February 2, 2020

Last week I wandered around downtown Oberlin (see last post), but didn’t stay long because the cold commanded too much attention. Today was warm enough (mid-40s, Fahrenheit) that I didn’t keep thinking about how cold I was. And the sun came out! Here’s some of what I saw.

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36 Degrees Fahrenheit in Oberlin


Thinking I’d have to restrict my photographing time to an hour so I could do other things, I headed toward downtown this morning. Hah! Restrict? I didn’t even last the hour. I swear I’ve photographed in colder temperatures, but today was just too cold for me. Maybe the effect of cold is cumulative. 😉 I was lucky enough during my half-hour foray to add to two of my photographic series.

1 Here, and through number 6, is the old bank drive-through again.

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7 I’m not sure what this is, but it was near the old bank drive-through.

8 I’m sure this sign wasn’t referring to my camera, but how appropriate.

9 Speaking of dumpsters . . .

10 A few days ago someone asked me if I had a favorite dumpster. Yup. This is it. The last two photographs are of the same one. What a beauty.

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Prowling around Oberlin’s New Theater Buildings


January 12, 2010

For some time I’d been watching the Eric Baker Nord Performing Arts Annex—an annex to Oberlin College’s Hall Auditorium—as it was being built. The copper-tile roof often beckoned, but somehow I never managed to bring my camera over to the building, and I was totally oblivious to the next-door Kander Theater. Today, in subfreezing temperatures, I fixed that. I also revisited a dumpster I’d photographed in the past and made my acquaintance with a new one. Old fall leaves rounded out the morning’s explorations. The sun was playing with me, one minute hiding behind clouds and the next barreling through at full blast. It made for unpredictable camera settings and varied looks to photos sometimes taken seconds apart. At 8:06 PM my feet are still cold, but I don’t regret my foray.

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Wandering in Sunny Ohio


December 22, 2019

Last Sunday may have been sunny (yay!), but it was cold. For most of the time I was out, I shot from the car window. It began to warm a bit toward noon, and I ventured out to see what I could see better on foot.

1 Some trees almost beg to have their portrait taken.

2 I have a small collection of lone trees in farmers’ fields. See Cowshade for Ghosts.

3 I don’t see many cows in my peregrinations. But this sweet lady posed nicely for me.

4 As she approached the fence, a few of her friends joined her.

5 And then a few more . . .

6 And a few more . . .

7 Soon the whole gang was there. Until they became bored and drifted away.

8 I got out of the car to catch this millstone. I assume the grooves are from grinding grain. Many people around here display these stones in their yards. I’m glad they do.

9 This is the side that first attracted me.

10 I was happy to see that the coloration was lichens rather than paint.

11 The bits of color on this old metal post could be paint, but I rather think they’re layers of rust.

12 This is part of an old guard rail, I think.

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14 The new guard rail is attached to an older post.

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17 Walking back to the car, I saw where someone had lost their pull-tab collection.


A Few Garden Finds


October 21, 2019

Here are a few photographs taken in August at the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, Wisconsin.

1 The red splashes are cardinal flowers, Lobelia cardinalis.

2 Here is a birch—I don’t presume to know which one.

3 Here’s another birch, overlooking two inviting chairs.

4 I’m not sure why I’m drawn to empty chairs. Maybe they represent possibilities . . .

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Garver Feed Mill—Renaissance and Memory


October 6, 2019

Twelve years ago during a walk to find photographs in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was visiting, I passed what looked like an abandoned building. On it was painted the name Garver. I have a friend whose last name is Garver, so of course I took a snapshot to show her. This summer my daughter and daughter-in-law treated me to a return visit to the building—vacant for two decades before renovation began in 2017. They didn’t know I had photographed it in 2007 but thought I would find the Garver Feed Mill interesting. (They are great scouts!) This time I photographed in earnest,  trying hard not to wish I had been witness to many more of the building’s iterations. A plaque outside one of the doors gave information about the building, and putting this post together I learned more. I find it interesting that the Wisconsin State Capitol and the Garver Feed Mill were completed in the same year. And it’s fun to see that remnants of old graffiti add an artistic touch to the cleaned masonry. I like buildings that hold visual evidence of their past; this one also included bricked-in doorways and windows, patched walls, sheared-off I-beams, and what must be gouges from former industrial activity. If you’d like to know more about the Garver Feed Mill, don’t miss the Wisconsin State Journal article that features photographs taken through the years, going back to 1924. Also of interest are an article in the Wisconsin State Farmer and two links on a City of Madison web page: the Garver Final Report and a presentation by the restoration architects.

1 This is the photograph I took in 2007.

2 This is the photograph I took of the same wall this August.

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This is steel (I think) cladding on a newer part of the facade. The next two photographs are from nearby sections of the wall.

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11 I learned from my reading that the white bricks indicate water damage.

12 Were these patches on an interior wall made lately or in older times? My guess is older times.

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20 Even the new women’s room’s concrete floor has artistic appeal.

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