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Friday, November 16, 2007

I Think I'll Take a Walk

The other day I decided to get up from my desk and take a walk instead of raiding the junk food supply. So, I took my camera, and preceded to Romano Street that is just a very short distance from our office on “A” Street. Our office is located on the fringe of the downtown area in a slightly older part of town, and just a few hundred yards form Pensacola Bay. I've walked the street before and thought it might provide some interesting photo opportunities. It was interesting to see how the neighborhoods change as I moved down Romano, across Palafox, Intendencia, and through Aragon Place.

Looking West on Romano

Looking back (westward) on Romano Street you see an old, somewhat neglected, neighborhood. Don’t misunderstand me, the majority of folks who live along this end of the street take care of their property, nothing extravagant, but it’s their home. Unfortunately, the neighborhood also suffers for reasons other than economics. Just south of this end of Romano is the city’s sewage treatment plant, and when the wind is out of the South, South East, it pretty apparent who their neighbor is. Once the new Maritime Park is built, on land just to the South East of Romano Street, plans are to move the plant to the upper reaches of the county. When that happens, the property values will sky rocket, and the complexion (no pun intended) of the neighborhood will probably change. Only time will tell.

Some Older Homes on Romano

Well, I apologize for the somewhat dark photo. Houses on this end of Romano Street are generally old, bungalow style or the “shotgun” homes. They are quite different in style from the homes on the other end of Romano Street, as you will see as you read through this blog. Shotgun homes are small, one or two bedroom homes with the front door and back door in line with one another. Myth has it that if you shot a shotgun standing in the front doorway, the blast would pass right out the back door without causing any damage.

Blue Roof

Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola like a ton of bricks in 2004. There were “blue roofs” everywhere, tarps that FEMA put up to provide “temporary” relief. Well, three (temporary?) years later you will still find homes and other buildings with the remnants of the blue tarps. Here, on one of the city’s own buildings (Mosquito Control), the tattered remains of a blue tarp are left to flap in the breeze. It’ll probably stay that way for a while, as the city tries to figure out where it’s going to get the revenue to fund various projects and city services when new property tax reforms take place.

Red Hybiscus

Even on this lower end of Romano Street, there are some things that stand out, and not because of blight or social status.

Red Brick and Green Shutters

As you get near the center of town, the architecture begins to change noticeably. There is obviously more money available to restore properties the closer you get to the center of town.

The Corner of Romano and Palafox

There is a lot of restoration going on in Pensacola. The architecture, like that shown here is typical of the buildings along Palafox Street, the main business area downtown. This particular building houses a loft apartment that a local architect redesigned. It was recently featured on a HG TV show.

Guarding the Fish Wrapper

At one time you could find these Pelicans all over the downtown area. Many have been sold, or raffled off for charities. This one is outside the Pensacola News Journal, our local fish wrapper.

Lots of Bricks

Downtown Pensacola probably hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last 50 years. There is still a mix of old and new businesses. At the corner of Romano and Intendencia Streets, just two blocks from the center of downtown, is a brickyard.

Some Typical Homes in Aragon

Here are some examples of the types of houses that have sprung up in this “Upper Class” downtown neighborhood. The area has some pretty stringent design covenants that govern the style of house that can be built in this section of town.

Three Ladies of Aragon

Hey, I had to give the picture a title, Three Ladies sounded good.
These three homes typify the architecture of Aragon Place. There style reflects “Old Pensacola.” The stark differences in the neighborhoods, less than half-a-mile apart jump out at you. It’s interesting to note that these homes were built on land that once was the home to residents of one of the city’s low-income housing projects. Oh, did I fail to mention the property is only a couple of hundred yards (walking distance) from Bayfront Parkway and Pensacola Bay?

The Gate Posts

Unlike the other end of Romano Street, which is marked only by your typical green and white reflective street sign, the gate at the eastern entrance to Aragon, supported by it’s two strong concrete pillars presents quite a contrast.

What Time is it?

As you can see, it was just after noon. It took about 20 minutes to get this far. The Aragon section of Romano Street architecturally reflects another time in the city’s history, typified by this clock.

Flowers Along The Way

I’m not sure what this flower is. There was a small tree, I say small but it was about the feet tall and almost as wide, full of these bright yellow blooms.

New Helo

At the end of Romano Street is the Veterans Memorial Park. It honors veterans of all wars. During hurricane Ivan the “Huey” (UH-1) helicopter that was mounted on the site was destroyed. A replacement Huey couldn’t be located but a “Cobra,” which joined the fight in Nam toward the end of the war was preserved and mounted on the site just before Veterans Day.

Alone at the Wall

Along with the Viet Nam era helo is “The Wall South,” a somewhat smaller version of the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC. Here a lone veteran maintains some distance between himself and the Wall and looks on as the “Cobra” gunship is put into place.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The "Willows"

The last time Susan and I were home was back in September. I had business in Rhode Island so we combined some business with pleasure. We spent some time with family and friends before heading south to Newport. Some of the photos from Newport follow these postings. Every time we make it home we make a trip to the "Willows" usually for some chop suey sandwiches, popcorn and saltwater taffy. Well, we didn't have the sandwiches this time but we did get some taffy to bring back to Florida. The weather was great that day, and provided some wonderful photo opportunities, including this one of one of the Willows namesakes.

"For the Birds"

Anyone who has ever been to the Willows knows that one of the pastimes there is feeding the birds and squirrels. They are all quite bold and if you don't look out, they will steal your lunch if you're not looking. Here the birds are anxiously waiting as this guy unravels a block of popcorn. One has to be careful feeding the birds, they also don't pay much attention to when and where they choose to relieve themselves - trust me I know.

Care for a Cruise Anyone?

The old fishing pier at the Willows is also home to a local Harbor Cruise operation. The colors of the boat stand out nicely against the water and pier. The pier looked to be closed to fishing, with chain link fences up to keep people away from the edges of the pier. I spent a lot of time fishing that pier when I was young, never caught a lot, but I had a good time.

Views of Beverly Harbor

The Willows provides an excellent vantage point from which to view Beverly Harbor. We stopped as we were leaving and I tromped up to the grounds of the old Girl Scout camp and shot about thirty or so images of the harbor. The sky was pretty clear except for a few fluffy clouds and the water reflected the blue color of the sky that contrasted nicely with the white hulls of the boats riding at their moorings.

Beverly Harbor

Here's another view.

Beverly Harbor

Oh, it was a pretty day!