The Archives

Today’s image is from the archives at the Lawrence History Center.  This small room is filled with journals and records from the Essex Company and other businesses from the 19th and 20th centuries.  This particular journal is dated from 1850 through 1857.  These are what would today be spreadsheets and databases, but are instead preserved in leather-bound journals and books.

The Essex Company was was chartered in 1845 explicitly to build a dam and canals on the Merrimack River for the purpose of providing waterpower for textile mills.   The directors at the time planned to create a city (Lawrence, Massachusetts) by selling land on either side of the river for mills, homes for workers and managers, stores, churches, schools and local government.  The Essex Company was also created to build mills and machinery on contract.

This history of this city, and the stories that go along with it, is endlessly fascinating to me.  It’s made that much better by the fact that many of the buildings/mills are preserved in their original state, allowing us to experience what life was like 150+ years ago.

19th Century Home Depot

This collection of bins in the blacksmith shop at the Lawrence History Center may very well have been the inspiration for the warehouse-style hardware stores we rely on today.  Rows of hardware in various shapes and sizes.  A ladder for the staff to get the stuff up high.  It’s all here, just on a smaller scale.  A much smaller scale.

Then again, maybe it’s just where the blacksmith stored his bolts, etc.

Tools of the Trade

Another image from the blacksmith shop at the Lawrence History Center.  This one tiny room may contain the most photo opps per square foot of any of the places I’ve photographed in Lawrence.  Lines, colors and textures are everywhere.  I wish I knew what half of these tools were used for, but I guess the mystery is part of what makes it so interesting.

If you happen to be in the area on Friday, the Lawrence History Center will have two blacksmiths on site for demonstrations throughout the day. Please visit their site for more information.

Three Eighths

This past weekend, Bob Lussier and I led a photowalk around the mills of Lawrence as part of the annual Essex Heritage Trails & Sails event.  In addition to visiting the Stone Mill and walking along the North Canal, we were also able to spend some time at the Lawrence History Center exploring the archives and the blacksmith shop on the property.

Bob and I are very fortunate to have a great friend and supporter in Susan Grabski, the History Center’s executive director.  She was kind enough to meet with our group, and provide everyone with a wonderful tour of the facilities.  Thanks Susan!

This is one of the shots I made in the blacksmith shop.  This little corner was lined with bins that at one time were used to store bolts and other items.   The shop is such an incredible place to photograph, and I’ll be sharing more images from here in future posts this week.


A few weeks ago I posted several shots of this beautiful 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airplane, and I now realize that I never actually posted a wide view of it, having instead focused on detail shots like thisthis and this.  So just in case you’ve been patiently waiting for the full monty, here it is.

Draper Corp

It’s back to the Boott Mill for today’s post.  I previously posted some detail shots of this equipment, and wanted to show a wider view of the textile machinery.  Watching the machines in action is so impressive when you think about when they were built and how they were originally powered.  This is one of the things that really fascinates me, and drives my passion for photographing the mills.


This is one of the engines from the 1929 Ford Tri-Motor which I originally posted about here.  When I first arrived at the airport, there were several people wandering around the plane, so instead of shooting wide views of the plane with people in them I decided to spend some time focusing on the incredibe details of this flying museum.

Flight Controls

This is the cockpit of a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airplane.  The world’s first mass-produced airliner, it was visiting a local airport for the weekend, and I managed to find a little time to check it out (I didn’t have time for a ride unfortunately).  Ford Motor Company built 199 Tri-Motors from 1926 through 1933, and interestingly, the first three Tri-Motors  actually seated the pilot in an open cockpit, as many pilots at the time doubted a plane could be flown without the direct “feel of the wind”.

While this is a passenger plane that seats 10 people, there is very little room to move around inside, and there was no way I could use my tripod.  So unfortunately the shot is not perfectly centered as I had to handhold for this shot down near the floor.  And the reason that the sky looks different through the side and top windows is not because I tried blending different shots, but rather from some tinting of the glass on the overhead windows.

 Quick post for today.  One of the local farms in my town hosted an antique car show this past weekend, and I decided to head over and try my hand at some car shooting.  It’s something I haven’t done much in the past, and it was fun experimenting with different lenses, angles, compositions, etc.  For this post, I’m highlighting several detail shots of a few of the cars, and I may post some additional images in the near future.  Stay tuned.