Not an Art Drop Off 6-28-20

…but, there is art that someone did drop off, and I found it. Read on to learn more.

After the 40-mile trek along the Perkiomen Trail, subject of the last few posts, my husband and I toned things down and did some local walks this past week. On Sunday, June 28, we decided to try a walk through a built environment – aka a journey along the main road through some Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia.

Background. This area, west of the city, is called the Main Line because in the way back, the main commuter train line connected this series of towns. The area was very wealthy, with large estates and many substantial homes. Even today, though most of the estates are gone, it is a very well-off area. Let me put it this way. If my house were located here, it would be worth twice as much.

This section of the Philadelphia suburbs is very familiar to me. I went to college at Bryn Mawr College (graduating in 1980), minutes from the Bryn Mawr train station. After college, I lived in various apartments in the area until I moved “across the river” (the Schuylkill) to the area where I now live. Though I did not grow up in Pennsylvania, the Main Line is sort of my “home town” as far as where I started out here in the state, so long ago.

Enough talking. We decided to park at my husband’s office (when he used to go to the office) in Ardmore, walk west along Lancaster Avenue through Haverford up to Bryn Mawr, then cross the railroad tracks and come back via a parallel road, Montgomery Avenue. Now I could go on and on with many extremely fascinating memories stretching back 40 years, but I will try to stick with the sights I photoed as we walked along.

We parked the car in the lot at my husband’s office, which was located behind the buildings lining Lancaster Ave. Cutting through to the street, we saw this outdoor beer garden behind a bar. Now I just have to say, this is not picturesque, but it is outside, and I guess that’s good enough in these times. Me, I’m just not feeling it, even though I see they have tiki torches.

Ardmore is a tightly-packed area with shops and restaurants built right up on Lancaster Ave. In my era it was the everyday shopping kind of place to go vs. the boutiques and specialty shops further west.

It was very quiet – we were out about 8:30 in the morning. The day was warm and sunny. As we went along, we encountered mostly runners or others, like us, walking for exercise.

I was taken by this mini-me model in the window of the video store.

Moving west, we passed through Haverford, which doesn’t have much of a presence on Lancaster Avenue – what you mostly see here is Haverford College, the Haverford School (private school), and apartment buildings. We arrived in Bryn Mawr and turned right off Lancaster to go toward the railroad. There is a small square here (really, a parking lot, used for… parking… and a farmers’ market on Saturdays, and also weekend parking for the postal service).

I’m very familiar with this area – the bank here is where I cashed my paychecks from student work (at $2.65/hour), mailed letters, and shopped at the card shop and pharmacy (the latter of which is still there). But we went toward the train station. It’s not much of a building, but my eye was caught by the decrepit control tower.

I’ve never paid attention to it before. I had to get a closer look. Now, this is a big station here – Amtrak runs trains through it as well as SEPTA, our local commuter system. I remember very well in college being warned over and over not to cross the tracks at grade. And having traveled on both types of train through here, I can tell you – do not cross the tracks at grade. The trains, especially Amtrak, flash through here and gone in the blink of an eye.

No, use the tunnel under the tracks. It is not that hard.

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Here are some photos of the control tower. It’s in awful shape, as you can see, but what a wonderful amount of detail and care went into its building.

We were also interested in the concrete structures – the little octagonal building, and the entrance to the tower. Both look like they were cast elsewhere and brought here? The entrance structure in particular is intriguing – even the “shingles” are cast concrete, not separate pieces set on the walls. I wonder if I can find out more about these sections…

Anyway, just take a look.

Do you want to know more about this building and the station? Click the link to see some photos (click through the series). And if you want to know more about the Main Line, look here.

Moving on. We headed out of the train station, turned, and started east on Montgomery Avenue, which parallels Lancaster Avenue. It’s lined with more schools, including a small college (Harcum College), houses, and apartment buildings.

So, we’ve crossed the train line and are now walking parallel to it again, but in the other direction.

I got a shot of a power station for the line, from behind Harcum College. It takes enormous amounts of electricity to power a train, and there are complicated structures for stepping the power up (or down) as it flows through the lines. First I show you the electrical towers – in the next photo, you can see the Bryn Mawr station off in the distance.

We went along the sidewalk, me full of anecdotes about this location or that one

(did you want to hear the story about how one night in the spring of 1980 as I was driving a carload of friends for ice cream, I ran over a dachshund on the lam, we stopped and moved him out of traffic, he couldn’t walk but otherwise seemed all right and notĀ  much in pain, we got a nice older couple in a nearby apartment building to give us a box and blanket, took the dog to Bryn Mawr hospital emergency room where the staff struggled not to laugh themselves sick at us for bringing a dog to a people hospital, but duh, we knew it but where do you take a hurt dog at 10 PM? while acknowledging our good intentions and who then pointed us to an all-night vet, where we piled back in the car and hauled the dog there, and the good little guy never made a peep, just sat in the box and waited, and it turned out he had a broken leg – oh thank goodness only that! – and the next day a friend and I searched out the dog’s home from his collar tag, knocked on the door, but the people in the house said he belonged to the people who used to live there and who had moved a mile or two away, and the dog was trying to come back home, something he had done several times, it seemed, and they gave us the owners’ names and we called them and whew, it all was fine and as far as I know, the dog healed up and I hope stayed home. Oh, woops, I just told you the story, didn’t I?)

All right. Let’s move on. Near the Haverford train station, we stopped at this tiny park. It’s the Sharpe Bird Sanctuary, and it has a nice story.

Ardmore walk 6-28-20 (27)

Catherine Sharpe donated her property to the township for the purpose of creating this sanctuary in the late 1970’s. The house was demolished and the grounds planted and maintained for the benefit of birds. Though this area has plenty of trees and green, it’s quite built up – this is a nice respite.

I’d never been in the park, just driven by, so we took a look.

At the back of the property (built on what we later realized was the former site of the garage) we saw this little seating area.

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And on the table, the art!

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What a nice spot. I am really glad to see it in person after all these years.

But we had to keep moving. We continued to head east, until we reached Ardmore again, turning right to come up to Lancaster Avenue at the Ardmore train station.

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I had to take a couple of photos of these interesting details:

My eye is always on alert for details. I’m not a big picture kind of person; instead I have always homed in on the small parts of the whole. Maybe it’s a function of my poor eyesight, or maybe it’s just how my mind works. In any case, these sights are the kind of things that just make my day, on a walk like this.

All right. We headed back to the car and turned in the direction of the grocery store. We’d done about 4 miles crammed full of interest. I’m thinking I’ll have to do this again – there were a lot of things I wanted to examine further…Storm grate Ardmore 6-20 #2

Add-on to an Art Drop-Off

On June 14 my husband and I walked a portion of the Perkiomen Trail that includes Schwenksville, PA. I mentioned that I took photos of the town and that I would show them to you. Here they are.

Why is this tiny town of any interest to our family? Well, my husband owned an apartment here 35 or so years ago – this location was near his job at the time, and then when he changed situations and worked closer to Philadelphia, he lived here a while longer, moving east a couple of years before we got married. When we met, this is where he lived.

His apartment building was up the street behind the bank. Notice that the name of the original bank in the building is still inscribed across the front, The National Bank of Schwenksville. It’s built in a traditional bank building style and though I haven’t been inside, I know the interior well – a small vestibule, an airy two story lobby, and offices in the back.

Perkiomen trail 6-14-20 (46)b

The town has connections with the American Revolution, with encampments nearby. It grew slowly and added businesses – among them a copper mine and apparently it was also a hub for ice houses, with ice cut from the Perkiomen creek. The town also was a summer resort area 100+ years ago. The railroad brought visitors and moved supplies in and out of the town, including taking milk into the city each day.

Today it looks much as it did when I first knew it. There is an array of large old houses and buildings along Main Street, many now multi-family use and a small amount of commercial space, and a couple of large old churches. A few blocks of houses rises on the hills above Main Street.

The best years of this borough are in the past, I believe; there is just not much here. The town is at the far edge of development in the county and from here on out, it becomes progressively more exurban to rural.

Much of it looks the same as decades ago, as I said, but we did notice that the lumber yard along Main Street has been torn down, leaving a block-long open grassy field. It left me feeling that the street was somehow now imbalanced, a little uneasy.

*******

The houses arrayed along Main Street are something to see. Some are shabby but we noticed a couple that look as if they are being rehabbed.

I’ve got some memories of my own for Schwenksville. Or let’s say, one memory. In my job as a bank commercial loan officer I once had a meeting with the business in this building. I can’t remember what the company did, but I did (and still do) like the building a lot. It looks just as it did 35 years ago.

Perkiomen trail 6-14-20 (60)o

I think if I had not been thinking of needing to walk several miles back to our start point I would have taken more time to photograph more of this faded town. There is always such richness and layers of detail in places with a long history. I saw this drain cover, old-style, set into a new sidewalk:

Ah, how beautiful.

Thanks for going along with me on this little tour.

Revisiting

On Saturday, May 30, my husband and I took a drive to theĀ  Ardmore, PA, area, about 40 minutes from home. We were looking to get out for a little while.

I lived in several places in this area in the early 80’s. We made a short tour of some of my old stomping grounds – the Broadlawn Apartments in Bryn Mawr, for example, though they are not called this name now, but they look pretty much the same.

Anyway, one place we visited was Ardmore United Methodist Church. We were married here 33 years ago. It looks the same as it did then. I’m glad to see these guys painting the steeple, keeping it looking nice.

Ardmore 5-30-20

It was a nice trip and grounding to visit scenes of our past that still are familiar, when so much else has changed.

Art Drop Off 4/12/20

My husband and I took a walk in Ambler, PA, on April 12, on a route we’ve followed before. Here’s how it goes: We park at the Ambler Y, cross the street, follow the blacktop path along McKean Road until it veers into the grounds of Innovation Park, a business campus – we follow it through their property and then switch to a similar path through a neighboring campus.

It’s very quiet and no foot, bike, or running traffic to speak of. A nice place to walk.

Anyway, today, we started off along the path beside McKean Road and came upon these chalked messages. There were so many. I did not capture them all but picked out the ones I liked most. I will show you how it went. Here are a couple of views of the path:

Here are the messages:

Here is the end message, signed by the creator:

Art Drop Off 4-12-20 (15)

And some thank you’s from readers:

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I wanted to say thank you too. I set the tile, this one:

Clay Bird Tile 7 3-20 4x4012

next to the telephone pole on the ground a little ways up. (You can see it in the last photo with the thank you messages). It’s not the kind of place I would usually choose but I felt I wanted to participate.

Art Drop Off 4-12-20 (16)

We are expecting a big rainstorm tonight and tomorrow so all of the words will be washed away, but I will not forget the feeling they gave me as I walked along reading them. Thank you to the person who took the time to encourage us out here.

The Orb Has Landed

I was out for a walk with my husband on 4/7/20, and we ended up near the Jenkintown (PA) train station, then continuing on to cut through our old neighborhood and go towards home. As we passed an office building, I saw this object sitting in a row of bushes along the sidewalk. I had to have it. What is it?

An orb. That is what it is.

I brought it home and washed it. Almost felt like polishing it but I stopped myself. Now I’m saving it with a few other items I’ve collected recently. I am starting to get some ideas…

Here are a couple more shots, including a pen set beside it to show its scale. It’s not small. It shows signs of combat and travail. It may be powerful. Let’s wait and see what happens next.

 

Just Pretty

I used to live down the street from this church and these beautiful trees. When I came along here earlier in the week, March 31, for an art drop-off, I found the trio in perfect spring dress. I remember so well this sight every spring when we lived here. It is hard for me to believe that 17 years have gone by since we moved. I would not know it from what the trees show me; they bloom as bright and strong as ever.

I don’t come up this way much; even though I go through downtown Wyncote pretty often, this street is a block off the main road I travel. I am glad I was here on this day.

Green Plant

In my dining room I have this tiny succulent set in the window.

I think it looks like he is reaching out to hug me.

Hugging Plant 3-20

Art Drop-Off 3/27/29

We had a beautiful day on Friday, March 27. I was busy with projects but in the afternoon went out for a walk. I chose my familiar neighborhood route, circling the athletic fields of our local high school right across the street. Each loop is 1/2 mile, so it’s a nice stretch.

Here’s the front of the school:

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And there is my house, over there.

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I took along a tile to join the one set out previously on a bench.

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Here they are together:

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After a couple of loops I turned and went along the parking lot. A gingko tree had been cut down recently. Here is its stump:

The sap glistening in the sun caught my eye. I prodded it gently – it has resistance, but is still sticky. Not quite amber yet. I smelled it, wondering if it had that gingko odor (why I thought it might, I don’t know) but no. It smelled like pine.

I did a circle, observing a couple of student drivers…the high school, with its array of parking lots and drives, is a time-honored location for local teenagers learning to drive. You know them when you see them – the sometimes lurching stops, the hesitant turns, the young person with a death grip on the steering wheel, the older adult in the passenger seat sitting at attention…stay clear of these vehicles if you are walking!

I then went a few laps around the lacrosse/softball fields. The little flowers scattered across the grass attracted me to take a closer look:

I need my friend Diane to classify these little guys for me. I wish she were here and we could maybe do it together. There are plenty of these little clumps, we could easily stay 6 feet apart and yet be here out in the sunshine chatting.

After all of this wandering, I went home and set up my lounge chair in the back yard. It was cool in the shade but I got a light blanket and a book and I was all set.

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My New Gym (for the time being)

A couple of days ago it was pouring down rain. No outside for me today, I thought

But – shout out to the Ambler YMCA in Ambler PA, thank you! – I have some classes on the computer to stream, courtesy of my Y membership. We have the Les Mills series of classes that we do there and I participate in Body Combat.

So I went to the Y’s special site, fired up the old computer, and got kicking and hitting. Where did I do this? My basement. I cleared out a space and set the computer on the freezer –

Basement 3-20 (2)

with my clay table to the left

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and the slab roller to the right, both of them cheering me on.

Basement 3-20 (1)

I’ve got to tell you, it worked out great. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do a familiar activity.

I had plenty of room and I especially enjoyed the instructors’ setting (inside that little computer..) – they were doing most of the workout on a platform set out a little way into the ocean, off the coast of New Zealand. How about that!

 

Spring is Wild Glove Season

When the weather starts to warm, you find gloves perched in all kinds of places. They escape and get out on their own. I think the reason why is – you’re going along on a cold day, but things warm up as they do in spring, and you realize now you don’t need the gloves you started out with. You think you put them in your pocket or your pack, but…one gets away.

Then, with some assistance from passersby, they find themselves a branch to occupy.

Here are some we saw on the Pennypack rail trail on 3/19/20.


Here are two who’ve found each other and plan to stick together, it looks like.

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This black glove, and what a graceful pose it has struck.

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Here is an exotic creature that really stands out in the brown woods.

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