Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Say Goodbye: Essex House

The Holyoke skyline, yes there is one visible as you are traveling north on 391, is about to be changed permanently. There are organic changes that cause a cities landscape to change, some for the better, some for the worse. This sad case is a prime example of how an urban landscape can change for the negative. The Essex House is on the chopping block. Like an onion facing the swift blade of a clever, this beautiful, dying building is about to be chopped up, cut to pieces, shipped away. The sounds of the machines tearing, jarring, removing, demolishing the skeleton of an iconic view of the city will mask the sounds, tears, and cries of the history bleeding out onto High St.

I have always enjoyed seeing this building. In 2008/9 when it was given to a developer, it sounded like he was going to make the right changes and bring the building back to life. Had he done so, they real estate possibilities would have shaped, re-shaped, and given downtown a breath of fresh air as new faces began living downtown. Who knows what state High st would be in today. For that matter, what condition downtown would be in as well. Perhaps we would have seen more restaurants, new business, new faces, new friends, new communities members. But we won't be. Instead, we will see a vacant parcel of land. I am a big believer in the theory that vacancy is a readiness to occupy, not a negative things, but a positive, meaning there is space, potential, a new life on old soil.

The following photos of the Essex House are the last ones I will be making. Once the building has been amputated from the skyline I will go out and make some photos to do a compare and contrast. I find it useless to make photos of the chopping up. I will leave that to the media. Share your stories, comments, memories below.

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