Brick Beach

Winooski’s gentrification or rejuvenation, depending on your view point I guess, hasn’t gone unnoticed. The one square mile mill town across the river of the same name that divides it from the overshadowing city of Burlington has began to become known as “Burlington’s Brooklyn”, which is just another recent addition to a long list of American cities that are comparing themselves to the New York City borough in it’s own startling transition from desolate industrial wasteland turned place to grab a $21 cocktail.

My favorite area of Winooski is along it’s most defining feature, the Winooski River. The city made good on an idea to utilize their own waterfront area, and build an attractive river walk along it’s cascaded banks, which brings casual strollers from a nature area, behind the brick edifices of the city’s identity creating textile mills, before turning to a gravel path and following the relaxing river bank for a short distance until it sort of ends in a parking lot behind West Canal Street and another restored mill building. Winooski’s waterfront is a pretty area of deciduous forests, sandy river bank coves and an impressive set of falls that have deeply eroded glistening stony ledges. Parts of it are also surprisingly quiet from the hum of conjoined routes 2 and 7 nearby.

A few days ago, while walking along the Winooski banks, I came across what I think is a cool find. A small path strayed from the trail, leading to the river. Because it’s my nature to explore stuff I stumble on, I changed direction. After veering off the trail and following the path through some thick overgrowth, I stumbled upon a rather nice beach underneath shady cottonwood trees. But there was something that made this beach different. Though it was hidden previously at trail level, the slight drop in elevation down at the beach opened up a cool feature – It’s backdrop was a set of stone arches and retaining walls, remnants of the once expansive mill operations here. These arches would have allowed runoff water from the turbines to discharge back into the river, now dry and filled with mud and driftwood. But it was the beach that was the most intriguing to me. Large portions were made up of deposits of crumbled brick fragments, most likely from the skulking remains of a collapsing industrial mill tower which looms over it – obscured by massive tanglewoods and shadows.

The question of how the brick fragments wound up on the beach, whether it was years of mother nature or human help is questionable, but finding a beach on a beautiful stretch of river cove made from hundred year old industrial brick crumbs is a pretty cool find none the less. The most logical theory I can think of is that years of rainfall have washed away the brick crumbs down through the old mill ponds, where they ended up on the sand bar near the river.

It seemed that this beach wasn’t exactly a secret either. Fire pits were made, as well as some trash from a previous party could be found, including the ubiquitous Budweiser can.
DSC_0763_pe DSC_0766DSC_0757_pe DSC_0769 DSC_0770 DSC_0774

The change in the season brings out the landscape. On a temperately comfortable November afternoon, I was checking out river beaches, rocky islands and outcroppings and thick riparian jungle around Winooski, when I noticed that the banks themselves were made from, well, it seems anything that the city could throw here to make an embankment. More of those old industrial bricks were packed into the crumbly rises, along with chunks of what seems like old asphalt, rusted bands of iron, old grates, and various other ruined construction materials, that a barrage of urban woodlands have long been creeping over.

The change in the season brings out the landscape. On a temperately comfortable November afternoon, I was checking out river beaches, rocky islands and outcroppings and thick riparian jungle around Winooski, when I noticed that the banks themselves were made from, well, it seems anything that the city could throw here to make an embankment. More of those old industrial bricks were packed into the crumbly rises, along with chunks of what seems like old asphalt, rusted bands of iron, old grates, and various other ruined construction materials, that a barrage of urban woodlands have long been creeping over.

dsc_0309_pedsc_0287_pedsc_0290_pe

Quickly making the trek over to the mill tower near the beach, it takes on a completely different persona once the foliage fills in during the summer. The trees block out the sunlight, making the crumbling structure ominous in appearance, and shockingly hide it from view though it sits yards from the trail I was just on. Though I’ve already explored this location before, I loved the chance to revisit it and see it in a new perspective. There was also new graffiti I had noticed, which is common with locations close to urban areas.

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

To all of my amazing fans and supporters, I am truly grateful and humbled by all of the support and donations through out the years that have kept Obscure Vermont up and running.

As you all know I spend countless hours researching, writing, and traveling to produce and sustain this blog. Obscure Vermont is funded entirely on generous donations that you the wonderful viewers and supporters have made. Expenses range from internet fees to host the blog, to investing in research materials, to traveling expenses. Also, donations help keep me current with my photography gear, computer, and computer software so that I can deliver the best quality possible.

If you value, appreciate, and enjoy reading about my adventures please consider making a donation to my new Gofundme account or Paypal. Any donation would not only be greatly appreciated and help keep this blog going, it would also keep me doing what I love. Thank you!

Gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/b5jp97d4

Donate Button with Credit Cards

4 Comments on “Brick Beach

  1. This blog is wonderful, I’m sharing it with friends. My kids live in Winooski, I go down to the river as often as I can with my grandchildren. Now I’m motivated to ditch the stroller and explore further

  2. I lived in the condo building directly next door to this for 11 years. I used to climb to the top of that abandoned building all the time! I also used to photograph the bricks on that beach, and make artwork out of the old rusty machine parts that are strewn about. Most of that debris was washed into that location during floods, and all of it comes from the long-since demolished mills and associated buildings that used to surround the Woolen Mill.

    • That’s awesome! I used to hang around there quite a bit when I was younger, climbing through the structure and then hanging on the beach and salmon hole nearby. That’s such a cool part of town.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: