Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Life in the Margins


The road into town from the Omaha airport doesn’t show off the better parts of downtown. It leads into a formerly industrial area that’s so low that I’d guess it used to flood a lot. Modern Omaha is built on higher land just up the hill. Cuming Street, despite some new development, is still a dividing line between the modern part of downtown the Chamber of Commerce is proud of showing off and the more Skid Row-like part that you won’t see on a tour.

But it’s in these margins that you can find some of the best photographic material. Take the factory, above. As I came around the bend into downtown from my airport motel (the one beside the gasoline plaza and the gentlemen’s club), the morning sun lit the word “Factory” as if it was a divine message from the heavens. Or at least I took it for that, and therefore obediently pulled off the road and made a beeline for the place.

It turns out the most interesting part of the building is probably that sign. I have no idea what they make, or made, here. But you have to give them credit for at least making its intention clear. Maybe Nebraskans need this kind of literal instruction. I don’t know. In any event, a quick walk around the block provided the opportunity for a few more interesting catches.

Factory Shadow, 2010

A couple of blocks away, I wasn’t so sure about the Fitzgerald Rooms. I get the impression Fitzgerald might be a prominent name in innkeeping in Nebraska. The Fitzgerald Rooms was probably once a reliable tradesman’s lodging. But now it’s a sad reminder of that time and, in case you’re interested, closed and for sale. A former factory just down the street has been converted into trendy loft-style apartments. But, judging from the debris and broken glass on the sidewalk out front, it doesn’t look like anyone but the local rotgut wine contingent is giving much attention to the Fitzgerald for now.

Fitzgerald Rooms, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Love the shadows from the Fitzgerald Rooms' interesting awnings. That FACTORY building is somewhat reminiscent to me of Durham's old tobacco warehouses that are actually now quite attractive, and converted into boutiques and restaurants, etc. I love when they re-purpose old buildings with character. Hope that could be the case with that one.