Monday, May 21, 2007

Urban Archaeology--A Crap Photo Essay

Well, the car is on the blink, folks, which means I'm down to my bike until they get the car fixed, which evidently will be a bit longer, but more on that later.
I thought I would take advantage of the weather and the opportunity to flee the never-ending yardwork to take a morning bikeride through town. I brought along my camera. I've been interested in something I refer to as urban archaeology. The pothole that reveals the gleam of an Interurban rail, the trajectory far in from the street and parallel with the wall of a low brick house, which, now that one has the clue of the rail, reveals itself to be an old Interurban depot. Things like that.
Abandoned schools bug me, and there are quite a few of them in Indianapolis. Were quite a few of them in Indianapolis. 3 years ago there were four schools within a mile of my house. Now there are two. The brick that edges my walks is all from demolished schools. I find these buildings a metaphor for a current state of mind that I might go into later on. At any rate, in earlier times, there once was a town named Flackville. The town is no longer, and its main survivor, the school above, is not going to be around for much longer either. Situated on a busy street, it still has a higher profile than its neighbors, a decaying strip mall and an old bank-branch-turned-porn-shop.

More miles on, I coasted through the quiet neighborhoods, most of the residents having gone to work. Indianapolis used to have its ethnic districts, evidenced by a few churches tucked away in between the houses, including this one. The original cornerstone showed, in weathered Gothic letters, that this building was originally a German Reformed Church, as one can tell from the architecture and the script of the year it was built, carved above the door.
Not far away was, evidently, the Slovenian part of town, complete with its own community center. Not far away was a quite impressive church and, across the street, an unused school building, with Slovenian folk motifs patterned in the brick and the terracotta.

I hit the Canal on my way back downtown and would have gotten some pretty good shots if I actually was able to understand my camera. In spite of me, I got a couple of hazy shots. All told, I covered 30 miles on the bike, and am already walking like an octogenarian. I'd do more yardwork tomorrow, but I'm gonna go to the Museum instead.


Kristen said...

Sometimes the atmosphere will give you haze unless you have a filter.

They've managed to turn a number of older schools into apartments here. Unfortunately, the problem with some of the buildings is that they are shot through with asbestos, which makes it more economically feasible to destroy the building and put up something new.

What museum are you going to visit?

Anonymous said...

Dave, good poem. Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

To clarify: I mean that this whole post is a poem. And you don't want to drive in Indy this weekend anyways.