Shelton Wire Mill

Sometimes when i head out on an exploration i find myself having to turn away from the immediate object of my affection and look elsewhere for satisfaction. Sometimes this is due to the fact that my “object” is for various reasons unobtainable: security, tourists, traffic, surveillance, etc. can all conspire to spoil the fun.

In these instances, ya got to make your own fun and so i hunt, i follow, i sniff around, try and get lost in a good way.. and in doing that sometimes find bupkiss, and sometimes find some good stuff and meet some interesting people. I dont usually go out looking to make friends and would rather fly under the radar, but sometimes, shit happens and you got to be good with it and find a way to make lemonade with lemons. Gray hair and not being a young wise-ass helps in these instances.

This was one of those situations, i couldn’t get near what i wanted to get near and so found this interesting little patchwork of buildings kinda nearby, that had the look of a water-powered older’n’ dirt mill or foundry. So i drove right up to the front door once i seen a van and a dumpster…the look of a place soon to fall under the wreckers ball…

So i met this gent who was a master electrician back in the day and worked at all of the major foundries and mills in the Valley. Really interesting dude with a ton of stories. Seems he had 50 years of parts and devices squirreled away  – that he has been selling off to third world folks to keep their old technology and infrastructure running. He needs to ditch this last room full of crap or sell it…and the dumpster indicates to me, the future for this stuff is clear.

Anyway, he is on his way out of this place, seems the roof of some of the interconnected structures has failed in a few places and so the last of the tenants of this old foundry is moving out. He took the time to show me the pattern makers atelier, where the guys who made the molds worked… a fancy and important job in a foundry back then… This was a jamming and successful place back in the days of brass…

Amazing these skilled Americans spent their lives working in small foundries and mills in dirty, cramped poorly lit, dangerous. workspaces…  cranking out the things that made our country tick.

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