Sunday, August 30, 2015

Building 59

Today's post isn't about United States Civil War history, but, rather, history in my own backyard near Johnson City, NY.

My regular readers know that my neighborhood, among others, was flooded in September 2011 - enough that my neighborhood was pictured on the cover of a commemorative flood book published by the local newspaper.

In 1942, a building called Air Force Plant 59 was built in my neighborhood.  At the time, it was built for the war (World War II) effort, and was the largest wood framed structure in the United States.

After the flood of September 2011 it was irreparably damaged.  It has stood vacant ever since, a subject of my photography.  Waiting patiently...

Waiting patiently for its fate, a fate tied in with the future of my neighborhood of almost 30 years.

Yesterday, we received a letter from the United States Air Force, which still owns (sort of) the building.

The demolishing will happen soon. We've already seen people setting up trailers and porta potties on the property.  It will be a long and complicated process, with the possibility of release of various hazardous chemicals.

I live in walking distance of this building and, needless to say, the demolishing process will impact my spouse and me.

I will follow the progress in my blog.

Here's a post from July, 2012, one of many I have made about this building, and its interaction with my community of Westover.

As of today, the long goodbye still continues, as the building still waits.

The Long Goodbye Continues

Last night, I was amazed.  I was watching TV when a commercial came on.

It featured a building.  A very familiar building.  A building I've passed nearly every day these past 25 plus years that I've lived in Westover, near Johnson City, NY.

I've blogged about this building time and time again, since the floods of September 7-8, 2011.

Ruined by the flood, it stands vacant, patiently waiting for the demolition ball.  Snowball bushes bloom near the former entrance.  The day lilies were blooming not that long ago.

The once green lawn, meticulously cared for with a lawn care service, stands brown with wildflowers starting to bloom here and there. (I've been tempted to do a blog post on how nature slowly starts to come back into its own when man stops interfering.  Well, let me qualify that. The county has mowed the grass a couple of times since the flood.  But other than that, nature is starting to reclaim.)

Now, NY State has made a commercial about the former BAE building in Johnson City, NY. (the link is no longer available online as of August, 2015.) 

The flood took 1300 jobs from our neighborhood, and several other employers who will never return. Those buildings lie vacant, too.

But the good news is, the state saved those jobs, at least for five years, and other vacant buildings once owned by IBM, a few miles away, are now buzzing with activity.

It's bittersweet.  And I still wish the building could be saved.  In my daydreams, the building (or at least, a replacement building after the BAE building is torn down) becomes a farmers market.  The location would be so ideal, near to highways and right in back of a bus stop on a major BC Transit line.

Or not.

The long goodbye continues.

1 comment:

  1. Kind of sad. But I hope it's replaced with something wonderful.


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