This is my entry for this week’s photo challenge. This is supposed to be photos from your phone but only the last image was actually taken with my phone. I had to snake my hands out over the water through the chain link fence on the bridge to take this so opted for my camera with the strap safely around my wrist. 🙂
This image is from my childhood neighborhood in Berlin, NH taken from the bridge I used to walk across to get to elementary school. Berlin was known as “The City That Trees Built” & “Hockey Town, USA”. In the foreground you can see the remains of the boom piers; stone and wood structures that were linked together by massive chains. In the early log-drive days these divided the river in half for about 7 miles up stream with the logs on the east side owned by one papermill and those on the west owned by another. The Androscoggin River got its name from the Abenaki tribes that lived in the region.
In the background you can see a tall smoke stack, all that remains of the once massive paper mill that fed many of the city’s families from 1852 thru 2006 with the peaks of the White Mountains behind. Berlin was a true melting pot with waves of immigrants from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Ireland, Canada and others coming to work in the woods and the mills. These were hardworking people who were tough enough to weather the long, cold winters and built their own neighborhoods, churches and pubs along the river valley and up the hillsides.
Like other places around the country that depended on manufacturing, the city lost jobs and population with the closing of each company, first the clothing manufacturers, then the shoe manufacturers and then finally the paper mill in 2006. Today the population is about half of what it was when I graduated from high school in 1981 a reflection of similar stories of much larger cities across the country like Buffalo and Detroit.