Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lofty



PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: Among things to notice while dallying in the past is the care taken to utilize height. Bank barns, railroad loading structures, steamship docks all are built to use the economics of height. Earlier I posted photographs of Coal Pier 18, a multi-acre structure at a key coal transfer point to turn train-loads to barges-full. The recently photographed American Brass monorail is another example.

Physics defines Work as the amount of the force applied to move a mass across a distance. A falling mass was work saved or conserved; it was money banked. How did gasoline engines and powerful electric motors, which made energy always the click of a switch away, change the economics of structures like this? 

Designed by someone and carefully built by hand, who was he? Was this a unique construction or were these plans used widely?

We passed this along the road after leaving Pennhurst. I’m not even certain what it held. I recall we walked around it, figured out how it worked, saw where the rail line ran, but at seven months’ remove, I can’t recall what the shadowed side looked like.  I wish I had a photo!

It's hard for communities along the endless corridors of strip malls and super highways to reclaim a distinct identity. How much is it worth to have structures like this stabilized and preserved for future generations to wonder at as they try to understand a world that was, to which they are the heirs? Would it help if we called this sculpture?



2 comments:

Ginnie said...

Sculpture, art, history, business...I can't imagine this not being preserved forever, Ted. Thank god you're there to take the photos, which hopefully will outlast the structure itself!

Emery Roth II said...

I doubt it will last, nor is my picture quite as good as it, I'm afraid.