“Once Proud”….


My home town, and surrounding area, was once known as the hub of the booming glass industry in Southern New Jersey. Wheaton, Kimble, Owens Illinois, Armstrong, were all names that everyone knew and respected. Here in Millville, at one time, just about every family had at least one member employed by one of these industry giants.

Time passes and foreign competition, changing packaging techniques, and several other factors led to the slow decline of the industry.

The image above shows the sad state of only a small portion of the original Wheaton complex. The property has changed hands several times and now sits dormant. There is talk of a possible demolition to extract recyclable materials. So, why do I post about this facility? Obviously, for some, the decaying structure offers up countless photographic opportunities. Along with that, is also the opportunity for us as photographers to document a slice of history. Capturing what was, as a counterpoint to those creative images that can only spring from our own inner vision, can be a valuable and rewarding experience.

Granted, this image does lean a bit toward the creative side. I could have shot it during the daylight hours, but felt the stark darkness along with the rusted dilapidated structure told the story well. I am working diligently on trying to get permission to gain access to the interior for one final session to complete the story of “Once Proud”.

Perhaps you have a similar story in your own town. I’ll invite you to get out there and tell its story. It can be interesting, educational and beneficial to many.

Take care till next time.

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4 thoughts on ““Once Proud”….

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    1. The decline has been gradual over many years, and folks have moved on to other vocations. We are still a very economically depressed area. The state has even created zones in our area that provide for a lower sales tax rate than other areas. A good news, bad news scenario is that the area now is home to a total of 5 prisons. This does provide employment opportunity as guards and such (good news) it also brings in a certain percentage of inmate families which in some cases (not all) brings with it a higher level of drugs and crime (bad news) We don’t look at ourselves as having any more problems than any other area in the U.S. that has had to deal with the loss of manufacturing jobs. We will survive.

      Liked by 1 person

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