The other day my husband and I were driving around and we ended up in Collegeville, home of Ursinus College. You may remember a visit we made to the Berman Art Museum, which is located on campus, earlier in the summer.

While we were there we noticed this large smokestack with what looked like writing all over it, but we didn’t have time to eaxmine it. On this day, though, we did. Here is what we saw.

It’s the creation of Katie Merz, serving as artist in residence at the college in 2020, and the work was done in fall 2020 to commemorate the class of 2020, whose year was cut off so abruptly by the pandemic. I won’t go into the process: the museum has a very complete site on the work, its meaning, and how it was done, plus info on the artist. Look here.

I’ll just show you the photos I took, instead. You can enjoy the graphic look of the chimney and then you can delve into examining the symbols and deciphering their meanings. It’s something to see, all right.

Art Drop Off 6-7-20

Well, we continue our exploration of the various interconnected trails of Skippack and Perkiomen. You remember the previous trips that started from Palmer Park and covered the Skippack Trail? Yes, of course. And you also remember a mention of the Perkiomen Trail from a couple of posts. All of these trips are recent; if you want to look back at the past few posts, you’ll see them. Otherwise, I’ll go on with today’s activities.

On this day we walked a stretch of the Perkiomen Trail. We started off from Graterford and walked into Collegeville, about a 5 mile round trip.

This stretch of the trail is not the most exciting trail we’ve ever walked, but it was a nice sunny day. The trail follows the roadbed of the former Perkiomen Branch railroad so it’s level and easy to travel.

Art drop off 6-7-20 (1)a

We started off by passing the electrical station that we saw in the distance from the Skippack Trail a couple of weeks ago, which is way off in the background of this picture.

Art drop off 6-7-20 (2)b

We traveled along the Perkiomen Creek for a while. It’s a pretty big body of water with a good fast flow.

The trail crossed the road and gradually moved away from the creek, so that we were walking above the road now.

Back in the past, this area was a place for city dwellers to get out of the heat of Philadelphia in the summer. There were many cottages built along the creek for fishing. Lots of them are still in use these days. You can’t tell from the photo, but the creek runs right behind the houses – they are almost in it.

Art Drop Off 6-7-20 Group 2 (2)g

We came into Collegeville at this intersection.

There was a kiosk with information on the area as well as town events. I set the tile there.

This section of trail is in the middle of the route of the Perkiomen Trail. If you want to see the whole thing, look here. You can see we have a lot of ground still left to cover!

We turned around here and headed back to our start point. Next time…let’s see where we go.

Art Drop Off: May 22 and 23, 2020

Here are a couple of art drop-off sessions.

The first one on May 22 is pretty routine: A tile left on an electric tower base at the Power Line Trail, Horsham, PA. This trail, a county park, is a place you’ve seen me go to a lot recently. The trail follows the line of enormous towers for 5 miles or so. If you go a round trip walk, think about what a nice bit of exercise it would be…

The drama of the huge towers’ silhouettes against the sky, though, never gets old to me.

Art drop off Power line 5-22-20 (1)

Now, for a new site to me. On May 23, my husband and I took a drive out to Collegeville, maybe 30 minutes away, to check out this location for a future walk. It’s Lock 60 at the Schuylkill Canal Park.

The lock is a restored version of what was a long series of locks in the canal, which paralleled the Schuylkill River. I set a tile on the bridge over it.

As you can see, the site was very quiet, with just a few people fishing or biking along the trail. We walked over to the Black Rock Dam, which regulates flow of water from the canal into the Schuylkill.

Look at this photo again. The dam is just to the left of this photo…Art Drop off 5-23-20 (6)

…here’s a view looking over the dam as the flow heads toward the river (which is the water further out in the picture)…

Art Drop off 5-23-20 (7)

and here is a photo of the dam from the other side (we were standing on a portion of the dam that bends around to form an L). You can see the walkway I stood on to take the above photo – and the canal is behind the walkway.

Art Drop off 5-23-20 (8)

This canal is of course no longer in use; in fact, this is one of the few sections with water in it now – but the idea of using a canal to provide safe shipping routes was important in our area’s history. The Delaware River, which like the Schuylkill, flows to Philadelphia (in fact the Schuylkill empties into the Delaware at that point) also had a canal system.

The trail I mentioned is part of the Schuylkill River Trail, which originates in Philadelphia and depending on how you count it, runs through Valley Forge and points west for 75 miles or so. There is a great site here that tells about it.

Like so many trails in our area much of this trail runs on old rail lines.

This summer, I know that we will not be going many places and our usual routines will be disrupted. But…I see there are so many parts of this trail I have never traveled in our local area – most of it is within a couple of hours’ drive. I think there could be more explorations of this trail this year for us.



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