Thursday Doors – Maple Street

Mill Door
Door and reflected door

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.”


  1. You showcased one of those handsome industrial New England buildings that are still standing strong and straight with good memories for you. Nice. As I was reading about the reasons for it being separate, I was thinking about all those workers without the proper equipment to filter out all that dust. I’m glad we have progressed where that is concerned. Happy Thursday, Dan. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first thing I thought about was the fat that they were worried about fire and explosion, but not necessarily the workers. I’m sure there weren’t many safeguards on the slashers and mangles…either. Thanks for dropping by, Judy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They definitely never cared about the workers . . . . having gone round many old English mills it seems they never worried because there were always more children being born who could replace injured workers. Quite terrifying the working conditions. They at did at least though build beautiful factories unlike today’s monstrosities!!


  2. Ho — I never hear the words “Maple Street” without thinking of the monsters being due. Twilight Zone left its mark on generations. I think the folks who scanned those documents are now trying to drop spam on my web site. I would ask them what that passage was supposed to mean, but they’d only offer to sell me Canadian pharmaceuticals at discount prices.

    What a wonderful building, and what wonderful doors! Thank you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks Marian. I can’t say or see Maple St without making the connection. Paul’s comment below is right on target. The scanned section is a product of Google’s effort to make all the books ever printed, available in e-fromat. Good job Google.


  3. Ha, well, I appreciate the disclaimer, Dan! Though, truth be told, you can harm all the monsters you want. The nasty things are always causing trouble, so it won’t bother me in the least. O_o

    Selecting the name “Maple” turned out to be a smart move for Serling. He picked a common, almost boring name to indicate that what he was depicting — the tendency to turn on our neighbors when things go wrong and we’re scared — was a universal problem. Yet it has also helped cement the show’s fame, because there’s hardly a town in all of America without a Maple Street somewhere.

    I’m a sucker for red doors in a brick building, and if it looks a bit dilapidated, well, so much the better. Not that I want things to be sitting around in a neglected state — it’s just that I enjoy looking at a place like this and picturing it in its prime and wondering how it got the way it is now. It’s almost like a little mystery.

    Anyway, good post — thanks for the shout-out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is something about this building that just called me across the street for a walk-around. I never thought about the benefit of making it Maple St instead of Serling Blvd. Very good point. Thanks for the comment Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary, I do love these brick buildings. Overlooking the pond, it would be nice. Unfortunately, the EPA has declared it a flood plain and prohibits 1st floor apartments, which hurts the financials. That’s one of the reasons they struggle with this project.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this post while I was sitting in my chiro’s office this morning and I’m finally getting around to finishing this comment!

    I love to see old buildings like this restored and given new life. I really hope that happens with these buildings because they have so much potential. I hope they find a solution to the flood plain issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I hope the boards don’t lead to the end. And sad that they did that modern door on that glorious old building. It looks odd and out of place. Looking forward to next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. About the doors – I like the first one the most! And you’re right many doors for one building!
    But something else caught my attention. You mentioned you have a daughter who was in art school. Always am curious about artists – does she have her work somewhere displayed on the internet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. She had some paintings up for a while. She majored in photography and she works in marketing now. She has a Flickr site with some of her photo gigs posted as well as photos from hiking. She’s ‘bumblebeeeats’ on Flickr.


  7. To use the children’s slang, This doors post is doing the most.
    Great pictures, of course!
    What a wonderful building with such interesting history, and oh, thank you for all the learning. That fire hazard business was a gem. Really wonderful find and share :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! These buildings are fire hazards in many ways. The think wood floors are fairly well soaked with oil, both from the fibers and the machines. I’m not sure what they do with them to clean them up. The one my shop was in, was just left the way it was. I swear, you could sweep the same spot all day and still get dirt to come up. Still, I love big brick buildings and red wooden doors.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. I really loved the red color brick walls and the way the architecture is done. Hard to find such buildings here in Mumbai, but there are a few such buildings here as well hidden in the corners of the city. You do a fabulous job with your Thursday Doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The flood plain ruling by the EPA complicates planning and financing. The owners still have to renovate the lower level, but they have to be creative in how they plan to use it. There’s an engine shop in half of the building, but that’s probably not a good thing to have in the lower level of a bunch of condos :)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I just returned from vacationing in Ocean City and I thought of you as I took so many pictures of doors. I think anyone watching might have reported me to the authorities under the assumption that I was evaluating security in a plan to rob everyone. I don’t know if I will ever participate in the Thursday door challenge, but I took pictures just in case!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This week I’m having serious door-shot envy! These are so nice. Currently I have Montreal, Ireland, France and now your neck of the New England woods on my visit list and I’ve only hit on 4 participant’s blogs…. I think I may have spent my life savings on door travel by the time I finish looking at everyone’s posts…these are lovely Dan, such character, so nice to see, just love that red-brick and solid wood….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan, the door you featured has similar brick arches that matches many on the building. I was very interested in the different background details. So sad the paragraph given is like a confused person wrote it. It is gibberish, like you said it would be only a guess to translate this. Cotton “picker house” is indeed different (also) from “cotton picking house, dab nab it!” :)
    My favorite door is what you labeled the Mill Door. The red looks like “brick red” or “redwood” stain my Dad liked to use on our deck.
    It looks like a “dock” door, for loading up a train or truck. I liked it best due to the shelf or ledge and wondered if it is made of granite, limestone or another type of stone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would guess that it’s limestone. I haven’t found evidence of railroad routes in the area but there is an abandoned bridge that might have been for rail. I like the door you like because it reminds me of the door to my shop Thanks for the comment, Robin.


  12. I’m late to the party, but here! I’m slowly digging myself out of the email hole I’m in. :)

    I love all the brick, arches, and windows. The panel doors are terrific. That glass door looks awful!
    I hope the building(s) find new life as housing or businesses. They’re beautiful structures, and the waterfall is lovely too!

    Liked by 1 person

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