Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Holyoke City Hall Tower

It was very late in the afternoon on a warm Monday when I headed over to city hall. I parked my car next to the parking garage and threw some change in the meter. I slid the side door open to my van to access my camera and my equipment. I turned and made my way to the door crossing the street and the parking deck. After a conversation, an elevator ride and a few flights of stairs, I stood at the base of the tower. The wooden stairs, worn with foot steps, stood as a testament to the highest man-made point in the city. The worn wooden stairs are not a heavily trafficked path, but rather a path made by foot steps of people that came before us. History has climbed the stairs one creak, board, and step at a time. Names and dates carved into the wooden railings, beams, and occasionally a step marked the sign of who has been there and when. Inscribed in the wood not as a form of antique graffiti, but as a means to show for one having been there, almost like a clue or a trace back to their existence. I began documenting what I was able to witness in the area where the bell lays. One of the fascinating and exciting finds was the discovery that the bell was made just for Holyoke City Hall. Stamped with the date 1876, I stood facing a piece of monumental history. The shutter echoed around the room as I fired away. Shooting downward views from the mesh covered openings. Periodically I would make a snapshot with my cell phone, as a means to upload quickly or send to someone to verify where I was at the time. Less than a handful of people knew I was exploring the upper most portion of the city. Only during the time I was up there did one image get sent out to someone.

Taking the time to walk up every step and admire the beauty and craftsmanship of this monument was breathtaking. The amount of time, effort, and work needed to produce this building was both impressive and inspiring. I said aloud to the friend that escorted me in, "Imaging standing on the outside of this and being the one building it?" It was a scary thought to contemplate, but nevertheless, a thought that some people didn't even consider when standing on the outside of this massive building. Not to be compared to other buildings in terms of height, but still a tall structure nevertheless. It can be seen from a far and admired for its grand appearance in the way it peaks above the rest of the city. I spent nearly an hour and a half exploring the spaces I was maneuvering through. By the end the heat had soaked my shirt with sweat and I had filled an entire memory card up. I stood in such fascinating locations as directly behind the clock faces. I was watching time, from where I was standing go in the opposite direction. One of the clock faces is not working. Disconnected for a reason unknown to me. I made a photograph of time frozen. Pressing the shutter and freezing the stopped clock face through my lens was a metaphor that left me with a more surreal feeling than the first few steps I took up the tower. It wasnt long before I stood at the upper most, very highest peak of the building. I was able to look out over almost the entire city. I saw views that took my breath away. I stood for a moment. Just stood there to reflect on where I was and the steps I just climbed. It was a secluded spot that yield such breath taking views. It was a great place to stand and think for a few minutes. Everyone always has someone on their mind, that one person they would like to share something like that with. I made that my final thought while grabbing my camera to make some images of where I stood. In the course of an hour and a half, I had made it to the top of the City Hall Tower with my camera. I left behind my foot prints and took back with me sights that not many people get to see. Below is the link in which you can view the gallery of images from my time in the tower.

Holyoke City Hall Tower Photos

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