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Barton & Argo Dams + More! (AA)


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I had my first day of class today for the new semester, and since it was only from 10:30 - 11:30, I pretty much had the whole day to do anything. It's rare that I ever have nothing to do, so I decided to take a walk all the way to Barton Dam to take some pictures of it. My friends thought I was crazy since it is kind of far from campus, and somewhat of a hike through the more wild parts of City Park. Reguardless, I decided to walk the distance through somewhat wet conditions. The trip there was miserable. It was cold first off. I was walking through an industrial area of the city with horrible, muddy, wet, crumbling sidewalks. Then, I realized I couldn't cross the M-14 freeway, so I had to go through a drainpipe to get to the other side. The journey wasn't over though. Through the northwest valley is this awful winding road with lots of traffic. So basically, I had to avoid getting hit. Another thing is that nature and I don't mix too well. So walking the dirt trails of the far end of City Park was a bit of an annoyance for me. I thought I was going the completely wrong direction because I felt I was going too far North. I kept hearing a dull roar, but I had my headphones turned up and assumed it was the freeway. Suddenly the trail opened up near the river and I found the dam! I was going to throw a couple pics in the AA photo of the day, but I felt it was a bit more deserving of its own thread. I hope you enjoy the pictures to follow. I was cold, wet, and tired when I got back to my res. hall.

You'll notice alot of the images have been touched up in photoshop, because the light quality today was very poor, and I regret not having a tripod.


Argo dam viewed beyond a railroad bridge.


The walkway was just inches above the surface of the water at the base. If those things opened, anyone nearby is surely to get drenched. I ended up getting wet anyway.


Barton dam is one Ann Arbor's more significant structures. Not only does it protect the city from flooding, but it's responsible for producing over $500,000 worth of electricity each year. Judging by the massive lake this thing is holding back, a break in the dam would put a significant portion of A2 under water.


Large water gates


Let's face it, I wouldn't walk, let alone boat anywhere near the edge of this.


Walkway to powerhouse. The machinery inside was pretty loud. I wonder how many customers it serves.


View of the dam from the raildroad bridge. Looking down the tracks I saw an overpass for M-14. There was a nice well cut gravel path alongside the tracks so I took that back instead. It was also a direct line back into the city. No more winding trails. The only thing sucked was walking across another bridge where the Huron River wound back again. There was no railings, and about a foot of space on each side of the rails, so it basically would have been bad if I got run down by the 4 o'clock train to Chicago.


Here's some graffiti beneath M-14, just at the downtown exit. Normally I'm against graffiti on buildings, but I do believe it can exist in places such as this where time and talent can produce some good work. I recognized some tags such as RODEO and The Leather Jackets which you see frequently in Detroit. I thought the above tag was pretty cool


Some More.


Ghetto wolverine


I discovered I did not in fact have to pass through the industrial section again and instead could enjoy the freshly paved pedestrian walkway behind it. As you get closer to the downtown is the CSX (?) rail bridge over Argo pond.


Another shot of the bridge.


Beyond it is the much smaller Argo Dam. It's only purpose was to create Argo pond and generates no revenues whatsoever. The city has now proposed to demolish it to drain Argo pond, and restore the Huron River. The dam has been around for quite sometime, as the river turns East, it wound through another industrial area south of town where a lot of mills used to exist. As nature reclaimed that area, all that was left was the remains of cement foundations. I love that area because there is a lot of history, and not much is written about this part of town. Draining the pond would likely put some of the sparse remnants of these structures under water. However, the city wants to reclaim their lost land, and the dam is a money drain anyway.


Another shot of Argo


Instead of heading straight back to campus, I figured I'd walk a bit down Main St.






Hope you enjoyed!

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The courthouse above is somewhat of an L shape. This one was built on the original courthouse lawn, around the old building. Eventually the old one was demolished for a parking lot. The inside of this building is still preserved in its original 50's style. I know it's kind of ugly on the outside, and of course the old building was far more beautiful. But I kind of love the retro look inside. I had to testify as a witness there over the summer, when I saw a drunk driver crash into a pedestrian bridge pier. The courtrooms are really nice, and there is even a cafe inside that makes really good sandwhiches and shakes. You can see another one of the county buildings in the far background. It's that brick structure with the glass tower. It was built in the late 90's.

Original Courthouse. The only historic government building to be demoed. The rest were preserved and converted into annexes or businesses.

Courtesy of U of M's Ann Arbor and Detroit online archives.


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