With the Jeep fully restored to clickety-clack-less locomotion, Lady Alone Traveler is moving about Maine again, investigating unlikely places. She remembers to LOOK UP and if she sees tall spires, she walks towards them.
She jiggles the handles on church doors, seeking places of quiet repose.
When the faithful have left the building and locked the doors, Lady Alone Traveler rides around in her Jeep and talks in the third person.
The brick is sturdy Anglo tradition, but the marble entrance is from a continental pattern. The colors match surprisingly well. One wonders where the marble came from and how old it is because it is in excellent shape (this building looks like it’s still in use). The fenestration, however, looks squeezed in, driven by energy conservation and not any aesthetic consideration.
Lady Alone Traveler might recall that northern New England was once the source of so much granite quarried to line the buildings of Boston and New York City, not to mention swamp towns like Washington, DC, and all those places like Biddeford that once flourished but now have slowly deflated, places where no one can see what’s around them as they zip by in their own private insulated locomotion. We had stone masons and imported them where we didn’t (part of the reason for the influx of southern Italians, as seen in the episode where Tony Soprano shows his son the church his immigrant father from Avellino built).
What other discoveries are there out there? There are buildings in Manchester and Birmingham, England, built in the 19th c. by prosperous merchants thriving off the dark Satanic mills that outside are dark and wet, like most of that part of England (there’s a reason it’s called the Black Country), but inside are the most amazing works of marble, layers of grace and charm and beauty to rival some of the highest works of Italy. What might you find in Maine, or larger New England, left behind by the owners of mills …
You are quite right that Maine (and New England) was gifted by mill owners with many forms of architectural elegance. Even the mills themselves speak with a certain permanence and order, based on their sturdy construction. Looking at the mill buildings on Saco Island, there are rows and rows of windows. Light entered into these places. I also saw an “octagon house” in Biddeford, on Hill Street (if I recall correctly). I’m planning to take the train to Saco again to do more exploration. Thank you for your encouragement and interest.
I have always wanted to publish a book entitled “Look up Maine.” There really is so much to see above eye level on any building.
I will admit that I thought of you when I typed LOOK UP because I remember you telling me this. It’s not too late to start writing your book now while there are still lots of buildings around!