Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

cloudship

Blackstone Canal Fest and Worcester's OTHER canal

2 posts in this topic

This past Saturday I ventured to Worcester's CanalFest - an outdoor fair designed to promotoe the restoration or recreation of the Blackstone Canal through part of Worcester. I took a few pictures tracing the route of the Blackstone to show the potential (and current dilapitated condition) of the neighborhood. I also took the opportunity to take a few pictures of Worcester's other canal-like feature - the Middle river.

First, a sattelite overview of the area commonly refered to as Green Island (which is actually a few blocks away). Keep in mind this is an old image, so things have changed a little bit. Oh, and the captions for the pictures are below the pictures!

post-6913-1158109568_thumb.jpg

The Blackstone runs along Harding street, which stretches behind Union Station. The black arrows and numbers show where pictures were taken.

post-6913-1158109688_thumb.jpg

#1 The backside of Union Station. Union Station was built pratically on top of the Blackstone Canal. It was recently rescued from a very dilapitated condition, but has so far failed to live up to it's potential.

post-6913-1158109706_thumb.jpg

#2 The very corner of union station luking under the railway viaduct. The canal runs right below here, under the corner of Union Station (was it planned that way?)

post-6913-1158109719_thumb.jpg

#3 Harding St. The Blackstone was covered over, and Harding st (NOT water!) was built along it's path. The canal is significantly narrower than the street.

post-6913-1158109739_thumb.jpg

#4 A little sidetrack - they had opened up a few of the lofts for an open house that day!

post-6913-1158109757_thumb.jpg

#5 Another loft pic

post-6913-1158109772_thumb.jpg

#6 Along the wall of the building, to give you and idea where they were built.

post-6913-1158109795_thumb.jpg

#7 This was their "recreation" of the canal. I have seen bigger ponds at garden shows! To be honest I think they may have hurt themselves more than helped after people saw this.

post-6913-1158109807_thumb.jpg

#8 This is what they want to do with the whole canal, not just downtown but along rt.146 as well.

post-6913-1158109818_thumb.jpg

#9 More pics along the canal route

post-6913-1158109830_thumb.jpg

#10 More pics along the canal route

post-6913-1158109842_thumb.jpg

#11 More pics along the canal route

post-6913-1158109856_thumb.jpg

#12 More pics along the canal route

post-6913-1158109868_thumb.jpg

#13 The first building to really go over as lofts. A small start, but a start, none the less.

post-6913-1158109878_thumb.jpg

#14 The ugly Rt.290 expressway. Worcester Cold Storage (scene of a gruesome fire where several firefighters lost their lives) stood on the other side where the brick building is.

post-6913-1158109893_thumb.jpg

#15 The front of Union Station. So far not a success story, but perhaps it is yet to see it's glory days?

post-6913-1158109903_thumb.jpg

#16 What really separates downtown from the highway. The canal ran just on the other side of the tracks.

post-6913-1158109917_thumb.jpg

#17 Looking along the path of the canal. It ran beneath the hospital building, and supposedly turned right. But a section continued staright and was only discovered when they poured footings for the Centrum (sorry, DCU center) and they sunk!

post-6913-1158109929_thumb.jpg

#18 These next three show what is under the causeway. I think this area holds potential.

post-6913-1158109943_thumb.jpg

#19

post-6913-1158109955_thumb.jpg

#20

post-6913-1158109973_thumb.jpg

#21 Inside Union Station

post-6913-1158109998_thumb.jpg

#22 Up above on the loading platform

post-6913-1158110011_thumb.jpg

#23 The unused platform, this is the route of the canal. It is also where any trains for Providence would board. If they had them.

post-6913-1158110024_thumb.jpg

#24 Looking out along Harding street, to get a bird's eye view of the canal route.

post-6913-1158110036_thumb.jpg

#25 Finally, looking down the tracks. The P&W is to the right, CSX to the left. Gives you an idea how much trackage is there. And this is still pretty active!

post-6913-1158109568_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109688_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109706_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109719_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109739_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109757_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109772_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109795_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109807_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109818_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109830_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109842_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109856_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109868_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109878_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109893_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109903_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109917_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109929_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109943_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109955_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109973_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158109998_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158110011_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158110024_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158110036_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Worcester's OTHER canal!

For all the hype over the Blackstone Canal through downtown, Worcester's other canal, the Middle River, is a forgotten and forlorn relic all but ignored. The Blackstone Canal required water - lots of water. Indian Lake and Salisbury Pond provided some, but it was not enough. Existing ponds and lakes were tapped and enlarged. To get water from these reservoirs, brooks and streams were widened. This is Webster Square - southwest of downtown, a bit removed from the highway, but still a busy part of the city. The Middle River brings water from Coe's Reservoir to the Balckstone River.

In the days of the Blackstone Canal, this are was still relative farmland. These canals did not exist like this today, they were simply streams which brough water to the canal. It wasn't until the 20th century, after years of flooding, that the Middle River was encased as a flood control project. This resulted in the water way as it now stands.

I think that this is one of the most untapped resources the city has. While it is not a navigable waterway (it is only inches deep in many places), it still provdes a canal-like setting. More importantly, it is still relatively accessible, if not in prime condition. And the area around it is mostly commercial, making it prime for a far-sighted developer.

Here is the overview sattelite. Again it is a few years old. Park Ave is the main road that runs thorugh the top of the picture, Main St. runs through the center.

post-6913-1158111761_thumb.jpg

This is the Webster Square area. Numbers and arrows show where pictures were taken - captions are below the images!

post-6913-1158111464_thumb.jpg

#27 Beside Friendly's Ice Cream. Few peole driving down Park Ave know this is even there - I was standing on the sidewalk of Park Ave. when I took this.

post-6913-1158111482_thumb.jpg

#28 The other side of Park Ave. Yes, this Blue Heron was standing less than 15 feet from Park Ave! I was lucky to get this pic before he took off.

post-6913-1158111496_thumb.jpg

#29 The River on the other side of Park Ave from Friendly's, to the north of that new Thai restaurant, Pho' whatever...

post-6913-1158111541_thumb.jpg

#30 This is taken from Mill St., the old Showcase Cinema is to the right.

post-6913-1158111553_thumb.jpg

#31 The one part most people recognize. Across the street from the old Showcase, this was the knife factory. The parking lot for what was Eddy's (and now Zoot's) is to the right.

post-6913-1158111564_thumb.jpg

#32 Another perspective

post-6913-1158111578_thumb.jpg

#33 Back on the showcase side, this time a little further up by the public housing tower. looking AWAY from Webster Square.

post-6913-1158111592_thumb.jpg

#34 Same spot as above, but looking towards Webster Square. This is the back of the building that now houses the laundromat.

post-6913-1158111607_thumb.jpg

#35 Two pictures from the same spot, just different angles. This is from Main St. where it crosses the middle river. Most people don't even know this is there tucked between the buildings!

post-6913-1158111638_thumb.jpg

#36 I didn't move, just turned a little to the right to show how much empty land is really there.

post-6913-1158111662_thumb.jpg

#37 This is from beside Chopstick's Restaurant, looking towards the fire station.

post-6913-1158111675_thumb.jpg

#38 The pond behind the buildings. I forget the name. The wooden deck was an old railway. This is actually through a chain-link fence. That water is way polluted!

post-6913-1158111688_thumb.jpg

#39 Further down, this is taken from behind the new fire station (which isn't even in the sattelite photo!). I am surprised no one came out to check me out - this is litterally stepping around the building.

post-6913-1158111699_thumb.jpg

#40 From Southbridge St. right beside the new Fire Station. Middle river runs to the right, the spillway from the pond is to the left.

post-6913-1158111714_thumb.jpg

#41 Another place not in the sattelite photo. This is the next to the new Price Chopper, which took the place of one of those old factory buildings. Looking south, this is one of the more picturesque sections.

post-6913-1158111725_thumb.jpg

#42 Looking the other direction - behind (and in) that building is a junk car lot. Really neat stuff - this section of the river was used for transportation, indicated by loading areas cut into the sides of the basement walls. I don't know if this could be restored, but imagine the potential if it could!

post-6913-1158111738_thumb.jpg

#43 Had to throw this in. This is now the Salvation Army. An old factory, it was at one point reconverted into some very nice loft-like office space called Smokestack Place. I worked in there in a video production firm, right next to that smokestack. The most goregous mill renovation I have ever seen! Ironically the developer went bust, and Salvation Army took it over. They gutted it and turned it into a poor old warehouse again! This I am bitter about!

So, I know this was a bit of a long tour, but I wanted to show you Worcester has potential. And if anyone decides to take off and run with this idea, well, remember, I thought of it first!

post-6913-1158111464_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111482_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111496_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111541_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111553_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111564_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111578_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111592_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111607_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111638_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111662_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111675_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111688_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111699_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111714_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111725_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111738_thumb.jpg

post-6913-1158111761_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.