Evidence of time past


imageMill building, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts © Steven Willard

I guess I get about as much enjoyment from looking at old buildings as is possible for someone who doesn’t have skin in the game. I don’t own an old building (anymore), I’m not in the business of fixing them up, and I’m not in real estate. I just like old buildings. I enjoy trying to guess their history and imagine their trials, and the best buildings for that are the ones that wear their history where all can see.

I was intrigued by the shadow of the smaller structure that had been both added to, and later removed, from the end of this  building. The evidence of the roof flashing in the sawtooth pattern. The red door that now leads to nowhere. The ghost of an old doorway that was converted into a window when the extension was torn down, and the near vertical fire escape ladder. This is a building that has seen some use and abuse. I would have loved to have been able to get inside.

Old buildings (like photographs) serve as wonderful memory stimulators for me. Architectural details, textures and smells call forth memories from years ago, of places I’ve been and experiences I’ve had. They are physical, tangible, evidence of time past.




4 comments on “Evidence of time past

  1. Maria says:

    I also love old structures, they seem to stand there not in shame of there obvious wear but in someway even more beautiful, and in combination with the physical elements and its human contact an evolving work of art, just like a human being.


  2. When I look back through my photographs it’s obvious I have an affinity for old buildings and old trees. As you say, there is something humanistic in lone survivors. I frequently find myself feeling strangely sad and proud for them at the same time.


  3. The complexity of this image just blows me away.Thanks for recounting what you can deduce of the building’s life story.


    • I generally prefer old industrial buildings just because there is usually less artifice; what you see is what was put there out of necessity. The designs are simple, but they can be elegant in their simplicity.


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