Broad Ford Forsaken: Inside Looking Out
Compiled & Written by K. R. Overholt Critchfield 8-28-2009
Photographs & Commentary by cjb19772009


"between rainstorms" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-22-09

~~ Inside Looking Out ~~

If the "19772009" part of cjb's name indicates his age, we could assume he is 32 years old -- and we would be right! He is actually 32 years old. Yet, with the change of his Flickr name to Mtnbiker09, maybe we get a hint about how he sees himself as a person and as a photographer. Of course, when we view the work of any artist, something of the artist is embedded part and parcel in the art, itself. Then it is up to the beholder to recognize the language being used, and try to understand what is being said. Art is a form of communication, after all.

In the several pages of cjb's photography -- artwork -- published in Karen's Branches, we can see he put a great deal of effort into recording the history that is written on the walls, so to speak, in brick and mortar, rust and decay. His pictures of what is left of the A. Overholt and Company Distillery are among the best I have seen of this type of photography. He has shown us the structures as they appear in "real life," given us objective records shadowed only by actual shadows, colored only by actual colors. The funny thing about Broad Ford is the way the buildings look in different light, how the bricks change their colors and can appear red or brown, rusty or golden, depending upon the weather.

We can see a lot of what my generation termed "soul" in this collection, but in the two pages listed under the heading Broad Ford Forsaken, we are given pictures that speak the language of poetry to those of us who can listen, even sing songs to those of us who can hear. Beginning with the portrait of the Overholt Distillery Building above, cjb wrote, "In between rainstorms, the sun magically appeared for me when I was wanting to get this shot. It is from a first-floor window of the office building."

~~ Inside The Office Building ~~


"tracks of modernity" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

~~ A Track Runs Through It ~~

Built long ago as part of a vast railroad system connecting all corners of the Commonwealth to the rest of the nation, the track skirting the Broad Ford Distillery site is still alive and well. From inside the front door of the Office Building, cjb caught the shot above of the CSX track -- a very modern view taken through the broken glass of a thoroughly trashed building.


"corner room" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

~~ Looking Toward The Light ~~

Standing inside the Office Building, surrounded by every example of physical and psychological ruin, cjb's photography allows us to contemplate what lies beyond -- out there in the bright sunlight. Regarding the picture above, cjb wrote in a comment, "A room on the corner of the first floor. One of the most trashed rooms in here. The CSX tracks run in front, to the left, to get an idea of where this room is."


"bathroom sink" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"waiting chair" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"ruination" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"toward the rubble" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"from the inside" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

From inside a first floor room of the Office Building, a broken window looks out towards the very old Free Warehouse A. Elsewhere in the building, another broken window gives us the view below.


"jagged frame" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"blue entry" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


~~ Light & Shadow Inside Free Warehouse A ~~


"looming doors" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


"beyond the doors" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


"exit light, enter night" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


"coming down" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


~~ Inside The Granary Doorway ~~


"doorway of despair" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-12-09


~~ Inside The Water Tower Supports ~~


"underneath" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


~~ New Fermenting House & Attached Buildings ~~


"rustic halo" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

~~ Inside The Glow Of Past Glory ~~

Standing inside a ring of light, looking up through a platform missing its fermenting tub, gazing out at an overcast sky, we can only wonder at the stories told by ghosts of a lost and forgotten industry.

Below, "The distillery had a back door with a perfect view of the Youghiogheny River."


"back door, perfect view" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"old red brick" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

"Here you can see that the building was done with red brick on the inside. But outside, this is the large building with the yellow brick that was added later." -- i.e., the Drying House.


"crumbling back wall" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

"A view of the Youghiogheny River from the crumbling back wall of the distillery that looks like it could collapse at any moment."


"room of bricks" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

This photo shows an arched doorway to the last-standing walls of a structure that might have been the Drying House, or the final section of the Machine Shop. It is located at the southwestern end of the row of connected buildings that now begins with the Distillery Building, itself. These walls may have been dismantled this past spring, at the same time the last-standing bonded warehouse met its fate.


~~ Inside The Ruins Of The Tax Paid Case Warehouse ~~


"crashing down" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09

For cjb, this structure was "the end of the road" on this building adventure, because there was nowhere left to go. "This was on the northernmost end, which would be exposed to the worst weather, especially in winter." For the next picture, he added, "This building was connected by a door to the Old Overholt Distillery bottling/cafeteria building, but seems to be built completely different. The violent collapse makes one wonder if there was a fire underneath all this rubble." 

The Bonded Bottling House used to have Bonded Case Warehouse "I" attached to its southeastern side, and a Tax Paid Case Warehouse attached to its northwestern side. This must be the remains of the Tax Paid Case Warehouse, and probably the single-story structure that I photographed back in 2004, that looked as if its rusted steel was being salvaged.


"steel skeleton" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


~~ The Window As Art ~~


"broken dreams" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09

Found in the Bottling House, this is, "A traditional set of windows in the center . . . surrounded by the glass block type of windows on the left and right. You can see a few remaining blocks up on top. This window was across from the metal fire door."


"nature wants in" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-12-09


"nature will find a way" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09

"A rare window in the machine shop/fabrication building at the Overholt Distillery. At least it was a nice looking one, and still is." (i.e., Free Warehouse A)


~~ Inside Looking At The Outside Green ~~


"green gateway" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-12-09


"the gateway to summer" - Photograph by cjb19772009 7-24-09


~~ Real Eye-Openers ~~


"portal to field of rubble" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09


"vision inside the stack" - Photograph by cjb19772009 4-16-09

"I was thrilled to be able to finally get into the stack and get a photo like this. It was very surprising to still see the interior brick in such good shape. Of course it was well protected from the weather." In an added comment, cjb wrote, "This was my target photo. I've wanted to get this one for years and they never had it opened up until now, when it is ready to be torn down."


Go on to the second page of Broad Ford Forsaken, Outside Looking In
or go on to Broad Ford Views 2, the first of several new pages in the Views series.

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