Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Anyplace, USA

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: The railroad corridor cuts through the center of American Brass in Ansonia. When this looked like anyplace because such corridors were spreading everyplace, this was someplace to stay. Now that it is no place, and will soon be gone, its antiquity begins to make it someplace worth remembering.

The building on the left with the sawtooth roof and the extended bay of corrugated metal is all connected to the casting house of the previous photographs. Opposite, on the right, a large mill space still houses a giant extruder that can turn out metal rod in almost limitless lengths. I’ve never seen it run. The bridge connecting them is inaccessible and unused. Once it housed a monorail crane that could circle through all of the buildings.

Further down the track on the left is the powerhouse, where a roofed structure carries utility lines across the track. Beyond the Powerhouse the main road through the complex crosses from Liberty Street to the riverside.  Beyond this crossing are the longest buildings on the property. On the right, the light colored buildings are known collectively as the “Flat-wire Mill.” Harder to distinguish on the left side of the track are the damaged, high windows of the, “Rod Mill.”

Long before the train gets to this place, whether from north or south, the train’s horn begins sounding - no longer a whistle, but a throaty horn with a distinctive and threatening bend in its pitch. Wherever I am in the buildings I stop to listen to the sound that rolls off the hills and absorb the full cadence as it rises and falls with the rumble of the train in the middle.

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