Repurposed

Bright and early Saturday morning, my brother and I drove out to Nahant to get pictures of sunrise on the beach. Of course, rather than waking up at 4:30 am to get there in time, we chose to just stay up and then go to sleep after we were done. We got lots of good pictures, and it brought me back to doing my senior project. The spot where we were taking pictures has had several military purposes over the years, from early American defense of Boston onwards. Most recently, the site – which is now a marine biology lab site for Northeastern University – was part of the Nike missile system surrounding Boston. During World War II, there were gun emplacements and several large concrete towers for spotting U-boats or other German naval vessels.

This picture is a 4 x 5 Polaroid instant color print taken with my homemade pinhole camera, a 10 minute exposure in the early-morning light. In it, you can see one of these towers (it is the rectangular thing in the center of the frame). It just so happens that this tower is owned by the family of my brother’s friend, whose house is just feet from the structure. So, after his friend woke up, we went over and visited him and got to go see it from the inside.

It is always interesting to see how former military sites are reused or adapted after they are no longer in service. Some of them get bulldozed. Often they are bought and used by towns, for schools, highway departments, or other public services. If they are abandonded in place, they often become covered in grafitti and strewn with the remnants of teenage partying. This submarine-watching tower is now home to a darkroom, a pinball machine, and a set of bunkbeds, which are on the very top floor.

I’ll put up more pictures after I hook my card up to my computer. Until then, you should go see my brother’s pictures here.

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