I should begin with a quick disclaimer for Paul over at Shadow & Substance – no monsters were harmed during the research for this post. In addition to being a favorite Twilight Zone episode, and the highway exit that I take to get to my day-job, Maple Street, a different Maple Street was the road that I took to get to my cabinet shop in 1985.
My daughter and I visited this area last week, on the way home from our hike, to take some photos. We had visited this area before, when she was in art school, and she used to visit when she was still riding in a car seat. She was interested in photos of a different building, a building that there isn’t time to talk about today, but one which I will visit in an upcoming doors post. In fact, there are three buildings in this area that will be explored for Thursday Doors; but, in order to keep the word and photo count within reason, I will present them one at a time.
In case you don’t know what Thursday Doors is, it’s an effort by Norm Frampton to enable door
addicts aficionados to express themselves in a socially acceptable manner. You can read more about it at Norm’s place, where you can add your doors and view the doors of many others.
Back to Maple Street. 49 Maple Street to be precise. The location of a wonderful building that is in need of some love, or a few tenants, or an owner with a plan. The building was part of a once thriving textile mill complex that tapped the power of Scantic River to turn cotton and wool into fabrics and finished goods. This particular building fulfilled a dual purpose. It served as a pump house for the mill complex and as a picker house where raw cotton was prepared for spinning into yarn.
If you want to conduct a challenging search, try to find information about a cotton “picker house” without finding results for “cotton picker’s housing” … I digress.
As near as I can tell, the preparation required cleaning and mixing the cotton and then getting the fibers aligned. The Code of Federal Regulations includes guidelines and regulations for a host of evil sounding machines, including: slashers, slicers, carders, tappers, mangles, cutters and mules, which are used in this process. An additional problem I encountered while researching this topic is that the source material appears to have been scanned and turned into text via a less-than-perfect process. For example:
“The ribbon tapper is a good place hard thing to keep regulated. It is to produce uneven yarn. If you easy to regulate but is h;ird fo keep don’t watch the help closely they the’ frame tenders to let it alone will raise the stop motion and allow after it has been regulated.”
Your guess is as good as mine.
One bit of useful information I did glean from the gibberish, is the reason the picker house was a separate building. The amount of dust and cotton fibers that this process put into the air caused a significant fire hazard. In the days before adequate fire prevention and suppression systems, and when fire department apparatus was horse-drawn, isolation was used to control the spread of fire and damage from explosion.
49 Maple Street sits adjacent to the Somersville pond and the waterfall that channeled water into the mill across the street. Since I had to pick one building with which to associate the waterfall photos, I chose this one. Then again, I love waterfalls, so you may see more of these in the coming weeks. This particular building has a lot of doors, I’ve tried to describe them in the captions to the photos in the gallery.
Rod Serling would often end a Twilight Zone episode with a description of the upcoming episode. If he were here today, he might say: “Next week, we explore a neighboring building with an interesting history and a surprising ending. I hope you can join us.”