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A Rift in the Space Time Continuum?

February 2nd, 2011 by

Has anyone ever really looked at the mural at The Tap?

I was hanging out in the dining room the other night, waiting for a turkey wrap, when my eyes drifted upwards and I began admiring the sweet ‘staches on the dudes at the bar. Then I noticed the nude on the wall behind them. Then my eyes drifted to the scene painted on the street and…wait- is that a 1980’s muscle car!?

This can only mean ONE thing: The Tap is some sort of portal for time travel.

If Doc Brown was from here, of COURSE the time machine would've been an Iroc.

Now that I know the secret, it was tempting to go back in time and warn myself not to eat all those fries, but if Back to the Future taught me anything, it was to be very careful not to interact with my past/future selves. Wouldn’t want to cause a major paradox!

Haverhill’s unique old window shopping

June 3rd, 2010 by

As much as I enjoy speculating about downtown’s available real estate, and constantly clamor for a few necessities to come to town, (like clothing boutiques, paper/book/gift shops, or a coffee shop that stays open evenings) this series of photographs by Kerry Hawkins of K Hawkins Photo and Design has reminded me that even on the path to gentrification, we should always be sure to stop and smell the roses.

One of Haverhill's many downtown barber shops.

One of Haverhill's many downtown barber shops.

In the early evening after the shops have closed and before the restaurants and bars start filling up, I can walk down Merrimack to Washington and hear little more than the rushing of the river and the clicking of my own heels on the sidewalk. Sometimes it feels like I have the entire downtown all to myself. How much longer is that going to last?

Bold enough to eschew flat screens? This model is for you.

How much longer will these dusty windows be packed with outmoded technology that give me the giggles? Beppers are already gone, after all! How many more trips past the hair braiding salon will I take before someone buys that amazing red, white, and blue tri-level wig I still have yet to get a good photo of? In order to get the amenities I so desperately want, is the compromise to lose out on all of this?

Wigs for stylish ladies

Though I get excited each time I see a glimmer of Haverhill’s future, (be it a building remodeled or a new business set up shop downtown) I realize that with each step forward we’re moving away from the Haverhill of the past and present. Someday, these quaint tableaus will cease to be there to amuse and inspire.

(Aren’t Kerry’s photos great? Check out her blog for more or support local art by making a purchase from her Etsy shop.)

Personally, I’d go with Veronica…

May 29th, 2010 by

…but that’s just me.

Last week, we learned that Haverhill’s Bradford College was the basis for spooky Miskatanic University in H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.

However, Lovecraft was not the only writer inspired by the Shoe City: Bob Montana, the creator of Archie Comics lived in Bradford and attended Haverhill High for three years.

Guess where he got the inspiration for his characters and settings?

Two Girls, One Archie

That’s right – Bob based the characters on his classmates and the locations of his favorite Haverhill hang-outs.  From Wikipedia:

His friends Skinny Linehan and Arnold Daggett were the basis for Jughead Jones and Moose Mason respectively. School librarian Elizabeth Tuck inspired Miss Grundy and principal Earl McLeod was the model for Mr. Weatherbee….Pop Tate’s Chocklit Shoppe, a soda shop where Archie’s Gang hang out, was based on real-life locations frequented by Haverhill teenagers during the 1930s — Crown Confectionery and the Chocolate Shop on Merrimack Street and the Tuscarora on Winter Street.

Man, I wish I had friends named ‘Skinny Linehan’ in High School. (Side Note: If you happen to KNOW Skinny – then let us know. We’d love to talk to him!)

Good choice, my man (It was all a dream...)

After 69 years, the story of an ageless small town high school love triangle is still going strong.

But I guess that’s what the kids are into these days.

And in honor of Archie Comics and today being Caturday – here is a picture of my cat Archie* reading a comic book:

Ironically, he's reading 'Mice Templar'

*He is named for Archimedes, not Archie Andrews.

Conveniently located right behind the dumpster

May 27th, 2010 by

I have no idea if Mr. Herman Steckerl is still in business – but you’ll have a heck of a time getting through the door.

Alley off of Essex Street

The College of Cthulu

May 22nd, 2010 by

Haverhill’s greatest academic claim to fame may just be fiction.

World-renowned scary story writer H.P. Lovecraft apparently based his imaginary campus, Miskatonic University, on the now-defunct but still-lovely Bradford College.

No more pencils, no more books

If you wanted to attend Bradford College – it’s too late – but fortunately, for those of you interested in occult-like-things, MU is still taking applications.

And for residents who live on that side of the river – if you hear some scary sounds late at night, don’t worry, it’s just Cthulu coming to get you.

And he's hungry.

In honor of our fictional institution of higher learning – I hearby petition to change the mascot of Haverhill High to The Fighting Cephalopods.

Because that would be awesome.

Go Pods go!

Don’t wake the neighbors

May 16th, 2010 by

One of the reasons I chose to live on the sixth floor of my current building is that the height provides good protection from potential zombie attacks.

Zombies probably can’t operate an elevator and that is a lot of stairs for the undead to climb. Plus, I have a good vantage point to watch out for sneak attacks.

Apparently, the residents of Carleton Street weren’t too worried about zombies when choosing where to live because there’s a creepy old cemetery right smack in the middle of their street:

Carleton Street

Some of these gravestones date back to the 17th and 18th centuries – so these dudes are going to be real hungry when they wake up.

At least the neighbors are quiet.

One of the gravestones indicate that the fellow buried there had been killed by Indians near Lowell Ave in the late 1600’s. So, next time you’re singing karaoke at Oriental Gardens – watch out!

Alley Spelunkin’

April 11th, 2010 by

I ‘spose if nothing else, this blog has already pumped up my inquisitiveness towards the things I stumble upon downtown. Case in point, what is now officially my favorite alley in all of Haverhill: a sketchy crevasse located between Newman’s Discount Furniture and Royal India Restaurant.

How amazing are those old department store windows!? Once I spied those, I knew I had to investigate closer- for blog and for country!

It felt like I was stepping back in time. Stepping in something magical…and oddly slippery…and, in fact, I quickly found myself sliding downhill on a tiny stream of soon-to-be-recycled cooking oil that was seeping out of the giant drums waiting at the alley’s mouth.

If I hadn’t stopped myself, I may have wound up inside John Malkovich! I guess we’ll never know.

At the alley’s deepest point there’s a murky pool of stangant water, from which this haphazard fire escape emerges. I didn’t linger down there, but it looks like someone did:

Now that I’ve been spelunking in Haverhill’s coolest alley, you can feel free to keep a safe distance as you pass. Um, hopefully I don’t contract Haverhill Fever for the reals!

And if you’re as fascinated as I am about what it must have been like back when this end of downtown was lined with department stores, check out this cool video.  The very first Macy’s (and Macy’s Parade!) was actually located right in good old Haverhill.

Beautiful abandonment

March 22nd, 2010 by

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve driven by and never really noticed this small, neglected shop, but I recognized it the second I saw this photo by Jeremiah True.

Jeremiah True: Abandoned Store Front

So much of Haverhill is shuttered, it can feel pretty bleak at times. But, there’s something beautiful in all this abandonment.

On one hand, the downtown is oozing with character, and there’s vast potential for restoration, rehabilitation and development of our unique city.  I moved here because I wanted to be in on the ground floor of this turn around. If you’re reading this blog, are you with me?

On the other hand, while I’d love to see this building transformed into a quirky yarn store or maybe even a coffee shop, part of me loves it just the way it stands-  evidence of all that’s transpired since the Haverhill that once was.

Here are a couple more of my favorites- *sigh* They almost make me want to petition for Haverhill to maintain an official “abandoned district.”

Jeremiah True: Shuttered Diner

Jeremiah True: Mill Building Reflection #1

Jeremiah True: F.W. Woolworth's Loading Dock

You can see more of downtown Haverhill in all of its eerie nighttime  glory in Jeremiah’s flickr photostream. Be sure to check out his Forty Days of Photography project, which also features some really nice, moody shots of Bradford and nearby Lawrence, Amesbury and Newburyport.