August 7, 2022
The last time I took the camera to downtown Oberlin I was drawn more than once to artifacts of the past that are still part of today’s built environment. Some of the remnants have obvious causes. Some have origins more mysterious, at least to me. I knew I wanted to create a post of embodied histories, but only two images made the cut from my recent trip downtown. So I have filled in with photographs taken in other towns and at other times. Some of these photos have been posted here before. I hope grouping them adds to their collective meaning: that some of the past exists not only in memory, but also in a visible, tangible, present.
1 A piece of old removed subflooring propped up against a wall shows where tiles were laid.
2 Tiles were also laid on the cement slab of a building associated with a former bank drive-through.
3 What went on to produce this rough rectangle within the sidewalk on Main Street?
4 Ma Bell broke up in the early 1980s, but her manhole (?) survives outside the Main Street building now housing Frontier Communications.
5 The old building by the bank drive-through must have had posts.
6 The orange paint on the pavement of a parking lot must have indicated something—probably not the bit of ice filling a small depression in the middle of the circle.
7 In the nearby town of Wellington a wall charred by a recent fire displays a metal tube filled in with brick that matches the original wall.
8 A coal chute on the side of a building in Oberlin is recognizable only to those of us who can remember when most buildings were heated by coal furnaces.
9 It’s obvious that the brick walls of Oberlin’s Apollo Theater were laid by hand.
10 Many windows in old buildings in Oberlin—and probably across the country—have been bricked in.
11 I can’t figure out the sequence of changes to this building in Wellington.
11 Something cost $3.50 at one time. The Oberlin Heritage Center may know what.
13 In Wellington part of a sign endures along with indications that another building once abutted this one.
14 And in Cleveland another defunct building has left its mark on its neighbor.