Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Category: Postcards

COLONIAL LINES

Facing the street ...

Facing the street …

Novelist Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) was born in this 1774 house owned by her grandparents, which she would inherit from them. The site, sitting in the heart of South Berwick, Maine, just a few miles from us, is now owned by Historic New England and open to the public.

Like many New England houses, additions have kept growing to the original structure.

Like many New England houses, additions have kept growing to the original structure.

FORTRESS OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE

While much of the surrounding financial district of downtown Boston is rising ever higher in the sky, some of the older buildings hold their own, adapting to change.

While much of the surrounding financial district of downtown Boston is rising ever higher in the sky, some of the older buildings hold their own, adapting to change.

Downtown skyscrapers embody the financial and corporate enterprise of a great city.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

ON THE GREAT WORKS RIVER

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Standing proud today …

 

Seen from the far side ..

Seen from the far side …

 

Even a small stream could be put to work.

Even a small stream could be put to work.

Not all of New England’s water-powered mills sat along major rivers. This woolen mill in North Berwick, Maine, was founded by Quaker William Hill, beginning in 1862, and made blankets for Union soldiers. The Great Works River itself had been named by earlier Quakers.

The mill has been renovated into residences and offices.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

COMMITMENT TO LIBERTY

I didn't ask the name of the reenactor, lower right. He was proud of his unit, and now stands representing all of them.

I didn’t ask the name of the reenactor, lower right. He was proud of his unit, and now stands representing all of them.

Public sculpture typically celebrates famed men or mythological figures, but the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw Memorial and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which sits across from the State House, is in a league of its own.

Within its unified design, the focus turns to each of the enlisted black soldiers as they resolutely march to battle to free slaves. Every face is unique, sympathetic, tragic, and each body moves with muscle, even anger and justice. If August Saint-Gaudens had created no other work, this masterpiece would have sealed his reputation.

Each face is unique and distinctive.

Each face is unique and distinctive.

 

The ugency and motion compressed into the relatively narrow sculpture is amazing. By the way, as the reenactor pointed out, the artist knew he was placing the canteens on the wrong side of the soldiers. It was a matter of artistic license.

The urgency and motion compressed into the relatively narrow sculpture is amazing. By the way, as the reenactor pointed out, the artist knew he was placing the canteens on the wrong side of the soldiers. It was a matter of artistic license.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

 

 

OVERLOOKING THE REMAINING MILLS

In the heart of downtown ...

In the heart of downtown …

The Cocheco Millworks stretch through downtown Dover.

The Cocheco Millworks stretch through downtown Dover.

The Washington Mill complex picks up on the other side of the Cocheco River.

The Washington Mill complex picks up on the other side of the Cocheco River.

Hard as it is to imagine, Dover once had twice as many mills along the river, plus tanneries and other supporting enterprises.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

HOT AND SOUR

The gateway is just blocks from South Station.

The gateway is just blocks from South Station.

Chinatown is a delightful contrast to much of Boston’s more Yankee reserved style. We recommend feasting on dim sum on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but be sure to arrive early – the restaurants are soon packed for the inexpensive rounds of adventurous platters.

You never know quite what to find in its shops, either. A resourceful puppeteer I know discovered the perfect fabric in one of its retailers aimed at, shall we say, exotic dancers? She was hardly the type, and the owners were amused.

The city is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

It's streets are narrow and busy.

It’s streets are narrow and busy.

GATEWAY TO GREAT WATERS

Looking at Logan International Airport.

Looking at Logan International Airport.

Boston Harbor has long been a major seaport to Europe and Asia alike.

The city is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

 

FANCIFUL CRITTERS

Rabbit,run!

Rabbit,run!

The animals circling on the carousel in the Rose Kennedy Garden atop the Big Dig are a vast improvement over the days when the Expressway overhead was jammed.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

Yes, we have lobster.

Yes, we have lobster.

 

POWERING MANUFACTURING

At the Slater Mill ...

At the Slater Mill …

The modest Blackstone River flows through Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where it powered the birth of America’s industrial revolution.

The stream reaches to Worcester, Massachusetts, the second-largest city in New England, and once ran many factories along its way.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

Just upstream ...

Just upstream …

 

Viewed from inside the Slater Mill ...

Viewed from inside the Slater Mill …

 

SPIRE OF INSPIRATION

Old North Church, in Boston's North End.

Old North Church, in Boston’s North End.

Lanterns in the spire of North Church signaled directions to Paul Revere and other riders at the outbreak of the American Revolution. The race to Lexington and Concord was on.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.