Thursday, November 29, 2007

Altoona, Pennsylvania -- Zip Code 16602

Back when I was a kid growing up and running around my hometown of York, Pennsylvania, I knew almost every street and back alley in the town. Some of the most interesting places to see were the building and warehouse areas that set next to the railroad tracks. This week's blog is like a trip back into my life in the mid to late 1950's (mid century modern). Only now I am in my 60's and still act like a kid of 12 or 13. All of the photographs this week were shot in Altoona, PA. Most were shot between 17th and 25th Streets between North Branch Avenue and Ninth Avenue.

Altoona, Pennsylvania, as seen from the parking lot of Best Buy.

Looking at the back of the James E. Van Zandt Veterans VA Medical Center located on Pleasant Valley Boulevard.

Once a nice looking building along the main line of railroad tracks that run thru Altoona, is the Alto Tower. Unfortunately, today the building is just another eye sore of interest only to rail fans.

Norfork Southern 9774 leading a line of tanker cars past the Alto Tower heading east.

For Vets Field, take the next right.

Once a beer distributor. Once a tent maker. Now abandoned.

I've always said that if I ever had to live in the city again, it would only be in an old warehouse next to the railroad tracks. This building looks like home to me!

The next six photographs were taken around the same building. The company makes steel girders.

Along the main line.

Wall of glass and brick.

American Graffiti, an Art Form

Some people consider graffiti as being destructive but I view it as art. This and the next two pictures are examples of an art form that are well beyond my capabilities. The choice of colors and the execution say volumes for the talent of unknown and unheralded intercity artists.

This painting is called "Postcard from Altoona" and it is in downtown Altoona, PA.

Altoona Railroaders Museum

Silver Chief was created by Rob Fisher

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Barns and Farms

This week I spent Sunday and Monday driving around the area looking for barns and anything else that would look neat with the background of snow that we received in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Sunday the idea was to find what we could as we took a 30 minute drive on the back roads heading to Wal-Mart in Ebensburg, PA so that I could find a good pair of gloves that would allow me to keep my hands warm and still shoot pictures in the cold weather. The 30 minute ride turned into the proverbial three hour tour. Monday was just as long...What was to be a 5 mile drive took more than three hours and only covered about 30 miles.

The Miller Farm, along Miller Road, formerly known as Old Route 36. This is approximately 3 miles outside of Hastings, in Elder Township.

This old apple tree sits alone in the middle of a field. Although this looks like a black and white photograph, it is actually as I shot it in color.

Scobby's Barn.

Pine tree.

This barn is located along Ridge Road, Susquehanna Township.

Abandoned farm shed.

Route 271, Barr Township.

You can see the change in elevation as the trees in the background are high enough that the precipitation was falling as snow, while there is little evidence of snow in the foreground.

Also located in Barr Township is this Amish farm with its' unique stacks of corn stalks standing in the fields.

Stars on the side of a barn.

Spud Mobile.

This scene was shot at the edge of a strip mine located on Rock Run Road in the northern part of Elder Township, near Rock Run ATV area.

Horses on Skebeck's Farm.

This is another place that, if you looked out across from where I am standing to shoot this photograph, you would see the snow still on the top tree tops. The difference between the road and the location of this farm is probably no more than 200 feet in elevation.

This is called "The Barn" located near Prince Gallitzin State Park. From what I could learn from one of the locals, this privately owned barn serves as a community center for the local youth. The inside is setup as a gymnasium and includes a basketball and volleyball court.

Do you think they take hunting seriously around here? This "motel room" is a deer hunter's tree stand in a field on the same property as "The Barn".

The Carl Farm, located on a back road near Dysart, PA.

Another abandoned barn located in Clearfield Township. It's unbelieveable to me how many old, abandoned farms there are in the area.

Another view of the above barn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some Sports, Some Art, Some Sawing

Well, we've had our first snow of the year, over the weekend. Not much, just enough to cover the ground and make things look all winter like. Even as we get ready to publish this week's blog it snows here in the northern part of Cambria County.

Friday night is football night and the games still go on. These pictures are from the second week of play offs and are from the Portage vs. Penns Manor game held in Portage, PA. Portage won the game 27-13 and will play at home again on Friday, 16 November 2007.

Boy in Hat.

Girl in Pink.

Mike Sinonsky of Portage gets hit at the line of scrimmage but manages to fall forward for a three yard gain.

Jarod Pisarshik of Portage is hit by Carson Rhea of Penns Manor.

Kevin Stager and the front line of the Portage Mustangs create a hole for Mike Sinonsky.

Jake Adams of Portage joins in the sacking of Penns Manor quarterback Chris Gahagan.

Mike Sinonsky gets tackled by Joe Gillo and David Thachik of Penns Manor.

White-breasted Nuthatch about to take off from a mixed seed feeder.

A Tufted Titmouse at a sunflower feeder.

Snow Frog.

Frozen in Time.
These leaves are frozen in the bird bath that we leave out for the birds all year round.

The snow laying on top of the branches is what first caught my eye for this photograph.

Moss growing where our swimming pool once stood, provide the background for this shot.


I'm not sure if this Canadian Goose is just passing through or is going to make this farm near Chest Springs it's winter home.

Portrait of a Horse in a Barn Stall.

Rain, looking out into the world.

We close this week's blog with pictures of a saw mill that belongs to Ed Holtz, Susquehanna Township, Cambria County. Ed is a wood carver and we attend many of the same arts and crafts shows in the area. The logs that he is cutting into boards belong to another wood working craftsman that lives just up the road from us.

Ed Holtz's Saw Mill.

Starting up the Detroit Allison diesel engine that powers the saw.

Using a short handle cant, Ed moves a log onto the saw cradle. This Frick O saw assembly was manufactured in the late 1890s or early 1900s.

Keeping one hand on the brake, Ed uses his right hand to move the log forward on the cradle until it is in line with the saw blade for the first cut. This is called squaring.

Once a log has a flat side, it is turned over and each side is cut off until the log is squared. Then Ed can begin making boards.

The saw mill can use saw blades of different sizes. This blade is 48" and can spin at 500 to 550 rpms. The boards are rough cut at approximately 1" which allows for later planing down to 3/4".

Francis (Ed's cousin), Ed's wife Shirley, and Gary Talerico, the log's owner, help in the sawing process.