Showing posts from April, 2024

The Deborah Chapel in Hartford’s Frog Hollow

  The venerable Deborah Chapel stands at the fringe of Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood, adjacent to a Jewish cemetery. This 137-year-old structure, with its distinctive red-brick facade cloaked in climbing vines, echoes the stories of a once-thriving Jewish community. Constructed in 1886, the chapel was initially managed by the Hartford Ladies’ Deborah Society, an auxiliary composed of Jewish women immigrants from Germany. These women found a community in Hartford and a sacred duty in maintaining their cultural and religious practices. The Deborah Chapel served a pivotal role as a mortuary where the deceased were prepared for burial per the Jewish ritual of Tahara. This solemn and respectful procedure involves washing and dressing the deceased, traditionally performed by women. This practice underscores the chapel's historical significance within the community, reflecting a deep reverence for the rites of passage. During the 1930s, Hartford's Jewish population reached i

Newark's Kingsland Drum and Barrel

  In the dwindling light of day, my first foray into an area earmarked for its industrial quietude was met with an unexpected hustle and bustle. Vehicles, in a steady stream, traversed back and forth along Station Road that, by all accounts, should have been deserted. It was a stark contrast to the preconceived desolation I had envisioned for such an industrial space. This initial encounter set the stage for what was to become a series of visits, each revealing more layers to the story of a place caught in the throes of transformation. My second attempt to delve deeper into this evolving landscape was thwarted by construction crews who had laid siege to the roadway. Mere meters from where vehicles once freely entered, now stood a barrier of progress, digging into the earth, reshaping the roadway. It seemed as though every attempt to connect with this place was met with another obstacle, pushing my curiosity further. By the time of my third visit, change had swept over the site with a v

Worcester Spinning & Finishing aka Chapel Textiles

In the shadow of Worcester's once-thriving industrial heart, the Worcester Spinning & Finishing Company stands as a testament to the city's storied past. My guide for the day, a seasoned explorer of forgotten places whom I'll refer to as J, had already scouted a path beyond the towering metal barricades designed to deter the curious. Our ingress was not just a breach of physical barriers but a step back in time, a venture into a chapter of history left to mold on the fringes of Chapel Street. Our first encounter within the compound was with a modest brick structure that sat quietly beside the city pond—a reservoir of still water that mirrored the sky above. The building housed two rooms, each telling a different story of the past. In one, we found barrels, rusted and swollen from age, their labels bleached by time yet still proclaiming "Chemtech caustic soda beads." The contents remained a mystery, sealed within their metal confines. Wisdom and a healthy respe