A Trip to Haverhill

Last week, I spent a Friday morning up in Haverhill, MA for work--it is one of those old industrial/mill towns on the Merrimack River, right near the New Hampshire border. According to Wikipedia, "was known for a time as the "Queen Shoe City of the World." The city was also known for the manufacture of hats." In addition, BirdJen used to work there, and live nearby. It has some chunks of nice downtown (including industrial buildings that were going to be turned into lofts... before the real estate market imploded... oops), but it appears that a chunk of it suffered through urban renewal. I've heard the wag, "... Europe had World War II to destroy its cities so they could rebuild them... the United States used urban renewal to destroy its cities instead.":

Unfortunately, during the 1950s-1970s, city leaders enthusiastically embraced the misguided concept of Urban Renewal, an approach since discredited, and received considerable federal funds used to demolish much of the north side of Merrimack Street, most of the Federal homes along Water Street (dating from the city's first hundred years of development), and throughout downtown. Many of the city's iconic buildings were lost, including the Oddfellows Hall, the Old City Hall, the Second Meetinghouse, the Pentucket Club, and the Old Library, among others.

As I first walked towards the building, I was disturbed to find a great big pool of blood on the sidewalk. With a trail of blood drop spatters leading away from it. Um... yikes? Maybe rat.... dog... person? Not sure. Given how close the town is to Lawrence (one of the sketchier towns in MA)...

Anyway, on to the building. It was a circa 1900's warehouse or mill building, right next to the Amtrak/Commuter Rail tracks. An interesting construction method--it is an all-cast in place reinforced concrete building (more on this later).

A nice view up from the roof. I have to say, I get to go to some neat places in my job.

This was followed by a nice lunch at Krueger Flatbread--thanks for the recommendation, Jen!

But one thing that was more interesting was after I went back to the office to do some research. One of the first hits when I Googled the name of the building was a Google book from 1918 that did a case study on this building: CONCRETE ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK: DATA FOR THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF PLAIN AND REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURES (Hool, Johnson, & Hollister). Pretty neat stuff--it turns out that this building was innovative for its time, when they were figuring out how to build with cast-in-place steel reinforced concrete (something that is essentially a solved problem in construction nowadays).

But the book has a bunch of very classic black-and-white drawings of the building I was looking at:

You could look at the drawing... look at the building... yep, that's the one!

Cool. I've said this before, but Google Books friggin' rocks. You can organize my world's information any day, baby ;).


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