All photographs are copyright Heather Counselman and cannnot be duplicated or copied without explicit written permission.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Forbes Street Mills, Chelsea, MA

Location: Chelsea, MA
Abandoned Mills currently being turned into loft apartments.

If there is anything that can take me out of a shitty mood, it's a place like this. Discovered by a friend inbound to Boston on the commuter rail, the mill is massive and unfortunately as we later found, still under some active construction. Apparently, the mills are apart of a "gr
een" living program started by the city of Chelsea to offer affordable loft style apartments that adhered to strict environment policy. Not sure on the specifics; I'm currently doing more research on the property. For whatever reason, construction has slowed to a crawl and I highly doubt their completion date of early 2011 will be met.

First attempt at getting in was through a high bridge, still under construction, and swinging down towards the railroad tracks below. My companion for the day is a bit of a monkey and my knees buckled at the idea. Scaling the 7 foot fence made me queasy. I do not do well with heights or security cameras. Or with the 2 construction workers that showed up later with a back ho.

As I respectively pointed out to my friend, there had to be an easier way to enter this place. How 'bout we just cut a big hole in the fence, out of sight of those who are looking for a reason to call the cops? We opted to walk through the basketball court and sliding through a less than 2 foot entrance in the fence, separating the apartment buildings and basketball court from the commuter rail tracks, which we missed by about a minute. Let's add getting running over a train to that aforementioned list. That would definitely ruin your day.

Through the fence, over the railroad tracks and a short trek along the marsh, finally IN. The first building was smaller and filled with construction materials. The second larger, rectangular warehouse was spectacular. Random items from building materials, to leftover items from workers long gone, even sizeable John Deer equipment that had begun to rust and rot from exposure. The ceiling was heavily peeling, circuit breakers and wires littered every wall. Outside, the metal encasing the property twisted and bent, covered with rust. I was surprised how easy it was to get into a place like this. Well, until a back ho showed up and started reversing in our direction. And then we ran like hell, because, as past experience has taught me, construction workers can be far scarier to confront than the cops. And those construction workers then call the cops, and well, that's a whole lotta people I don't really want to be meeting and greeting. Admittedly, a little disappointed that I wasn't able to shoot as much as I would have liked, but the adrenaline rush was worth it. Besides, it will take days to go through and photograph the entire building.

Upon further investigation, and spying on the two workers from a distance, we found a sign that said something to effect of a guard being on duty but was currently on a tour. There was a number attached, so perhaps they'd be nice enough to escort me through their building. Legal or not, I'll be back to shoot the place on my next day off. I always attempt the legal way. Makes the fear of being arrested much less of a reality. I'll be posting more information on the mill and photographs as soon as possible.

I really fell in love with this place. Since the Salem Jail has been demolished and converted into condos, I found it hard to find a place as interesting and massive. I'm psyched to return.

1 comment:

  1. I love your sense of adventure & the photos, Heather. Would you like to do a session together?! I would love to!!!