This Is Where We Belong

(unfortunately, this is a partial post for now - I took my phone for a swim I probably shouldn't have tonight, and lost a lot of photos that way...) It's really been way too long since I've had an adventure like this... meet a new friend, and explore - that's all there is to it. No one to impress, no group to lead, no cats to herd, Of course nothing I ever do goes all the way to plan, and the trip started with fixing a flat tire, but after that, we were on our way exploring. First stop was…

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Call Of Ducky: Quack Ops

After a night of hipstering around in Brooklyn and a frustrating subway ride lost in Queens, I caught a bus from the festering pit of humanity on 41st street to Cleveland. I will admit my expectations for Cleveland were essentially zero. Despite having made what I thought were plans with Johnny and his friends, it wouldn't have surprised me one bit to learn that it was all fake, just meant to send me all the way out to Ohio for nothing. Only a few minutes after I got to Cleveland, something totally unexpected happened. They showed up! We started in…

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Oompa-Loompa Doopadee-Doo

Apologies for the title -- but you deserve just as much of a constant torment coursing through your head in an impossibly lilting and plodding e minor as we were both stuck with as we wandered around an abandoned chocolate factory. At one time NestlĂ©, then based in Fulton, NY, manufactured about 40% of the chocolate eaten in the US, including even franchised production for Cadbury and Hershey's, in this one enormous factory. Open from 1899-2003, it briefly played the role of Oswego County's largest employer, after the Miller brewery closed, but like so many other American factories, foreign production…

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Fallen Champion

Deferiet is everything you might expect a company town to be, when the company leaves. From the potholed entrance road off the highway, to the complete lack of businesses on the village's three streets (which wrap around one side of the mill), this is clearly no boom town. Even the bank, the post office and the fire department closed, all of them maintained by the Champion Paper Company of St Regis, just like the enormous industrial hulk that is still the focal point of Deferiet, even in its inglorious death. The houses aren't all empty, at least -- the town…

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Gould’s Mills

Even though we didn't see all we could have in Utica, we had to get to our next destination, the paper mills at Lyons Falls. Just from the one building we could get into last year, we knew it would be well worth a return trip. A whole building went missing since last time, but the demolition seemed to have stopped with that, at least for the winter if not forever, with some of the fencing and one excavator left but no signs of immediate work going on. The one remaining scaffold gave access to a historical plaque that seemed…

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ACME Corporation

Out of all the buildings I've explored so far, this one might win the prize for most varied history. Starting as a textile mill in the 19th century, G.C. Charles and Co., no single industry has been able to prosper here for more than 20 or 30 years at a time. Facing economic woes, G.C. Charles left their mill behind in 1913, eventually selling the distressed property to the US Government for production of submachine guns. Savage Arms, a local gun manufacturer, took over in 1920, using the entire complex and building more additions, at the time becoming the third-largest…

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