History 📆 Forensic planning

Dan

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Old warehouse facility. No employee parking, so probably built for long term storage for one specific business. Not military, because the site is constrained, and the facility remnants would be further back from the road.
 

Maister

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Using your years of experience and finely attuned senses of pattern recognition, would you believe this building is in fact an adaptive reuse? If so, what would you guess it was in the past - a gas station, a dentist office, an old head shop? Who can say with certainty

 

Maister

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Old warehouse facility. No employee parking, so probably built for long term storage for one specific business. Not military, because the site is constrained, and the facility remnants would be further back from the road.
There's another clue present and I'm not sure what to make of what appears to be water storage near the south end.
 

JNA

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Using your years of experience and finely attuned senses of pattern recognition, would you believe this building is in fact an adaptive reuse? If so, what would you guess it was in the past - a gas station, a dentist office, an old head shop? Who can say with certainty


By the bucket up on the sign - was it a KFC ?
 

Dan

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There's another clue present and I'm not sure what to make of what appears to be water storage near the south end.

Well, this is getting more into the territory of air photo interpretation, not just being able to "read a city".

Whatever use was there generated wastewater that couldn't go into a storm or sanitary sewer; thus, the basin. It's not a typical ugly detention basin; it's defined by sharp edges, which means it's not just a pit, but a lined basin. They didn't want whatever was there to enter the water table.

There's no evidence of a current or previous railroad siding.

No chemical plants or heavy industry nearby, so I can't imagine anybody would be storing anything really toxic on the site. It's really close to the Kentucky state line, though. What's Kentucky famous for? Bourbon whisky. What do you have to do to whisky before you sell it? Age it for years. What's the best place to do that? Close to distilleries, on land that's cheap. Labor isn't an issue, so it doesn't need to be near a poplation center.

Whisky aging facility. That's my final answer.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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I thought first an agriculture use but that would not explain the landscaped areas between buildings and same goes for a warehouse facility. Past Google Earth imagery show the buildings were removed not long ago. Also appears there was a water tower on site.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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Well, this is getting more into the territory of air photo interpretation, not just being able to "read a city".

Whatever use was there generated wastewater that couldn't go into a storm or sanitary sewer; thus, the basin. It's not a typical ugly detention basin; it's defined by sharp edges, which means it's not just a pit, but a lined basin. They didn't want whatever was there to enter the water table.

There's no evidence of a current or previous railroad siding.

No chemical plants or heavy industry nearby, so I can't imagine anybody would be storing anything really toxic on the site. It's really close to the Kentucky state line, though. What's Kentucky famous for? Bourbon whisky. What do you have to do to whisky before you sell it? Age it for years. What's the best place to do that? Close to distilleries, on land that's cheap. Labor isn't an issue, so it doesn't need to be near a poplation center.

Whisky aging facility. That's my final answer.

You have made a reasonable guess, Dan. My question as a follow up would be why the multiple access points on north and south sides of the pads? I would think a truck would need to drive into the building to load/dump barrels. Plus, no truck turnaround area, the drives just dead-end. Cannot be a use that required many people as off-street parking is non-existent so some type or storage facility is correct. But what?
 
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jsk1983

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FYI there were still buildings there in 2008 Google Streetview, though the quality isn't quite good enough to read any signs.
 

Faust_Motel

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Moderator note:

Forensic planning: see the definition here.




Consider this west of Milan, Indiana -

Lots of farm fields around, bunch of big buildings. Storage/drying for some kind of commodity crop?
 

bureaucrat#3

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The property was, until 2008, owned by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. I googled Seagrams and Milan and there is an order regarding the ethanol emissions from their whiskey aging warehouses. Apparently, there was concern over the 100 tons of ethanol released per year and whether the buildings were properly vented.

I also learned that the 1954 Milan basketball team was the basis for Hoosiers.
 

estromberg

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There's another clue present and I'm not sure what to make of what appears to be water storage near the south end.

Water storage like this is commonly for feeding fire suppression sprinkler systems when a building is not serviced by public water. Which it likely wasn't if it had an on-site water tower.
 

estromberg

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DVD

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There are also a couple near Yuma. The City of Surprise built their city hall on one. I think there are a few that have been repurposed north of Phoenix so you can't tell unless you know what you're looking for.
 

Maister

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The property was, until 2008, owned by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. I googled Seagrams and Milan and there is an order regarding the ethanol emissions from their whiskey aging warehouses. Apparently, there was concern over the 100 tons of ethanol released per year and whether the buildings were properly vented.
That was quite a demonstration of forensic planning that Dan provided. Walked us right through his reasoning and even happened to be correct in this instance. He deserves a victory lap for that one!
 
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jsk1983

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There are also a couple near Yuma. The City of Surprise built their city hall on one. I think there are a few that have been repurposed north of Phoenix so you can't tell unless you know what you're looking for.
But what exactly are these things, why were they built?
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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arrows.JPG
 
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DVD

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For mine, back in the day Phoenix was a training area for fighter squadrons so the triangles are all old runways.
 

Maister

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Forensic planning #3:

When do you think this plat was developed? Give us as small a year range as you'd be willing to wager a weeks wages on.

Feel free to drive up and down the block for clues. For the record, let me state I don't know the answer, but what we're primarily interested in here is your REASONING behind your educated guesses.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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Forensic planning #3:

When do you think this plat was developed? Give us as small a year range as you'd be willing to wager a weeks wages on.

Feel free to drive up and down the block for clues. For the record, let me state I don't know the answer, but what we're primarily interested in here is your REASONING behind your educated guesses.

1920-1930, looking at house styles and a similarity to what my mother grew up in leads me to the year range I've indicated.
 

jsk1983

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Forensic planning #3:

When do you think this plat was developed? Give us as small a year range as you'd be willing to wager a weeks wages on.

Feel free to drive up and down the block for clues. For the record, let me state I don't know the answer, but what we're primarily interested in here is your REASONING behind your educated guesses.
1925-1930. Depression got in the way of overly ambitious plans and most houses in neighborhood weren't built until after WWII. While you're "in the area" might as well explore south of I-94, east of Clark. It's only an hour away from me but I think I will stick to a virtual visit...
 

mendelman

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1925-1930. Depression got in the way of overly ambitious plans and most houses in neighborhood weren't built until after WWII. While you're "in the area" might as well explore south of I-94, east of Clark. It's only an hour away from me but I think I will stick to a virtual visit...
Dittos. The subdivision was recorded in 1928 with a smattering of houses built 1930-1950, then a deluge when the local steel workers starting spending and/or making those good wages from the local mills.
 

Dan

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When do you think this plat was developed? Give us as small a year range as you'd be willing to wager a weeks wages on.

Feel free to drive up and down the block for clues. For the record, let me state I don't know the answer, but what we're primarily interested in here is your REASONING behind your educated guesses.
This looks like a purely speculative leapfrog subdivision, platted in the early 1920s, that people now call [Something]-tucky or [Something]-bama. I'm guessing this based on its location in Northwest Indiana (a major destination for migrants from Appalachia during and after WWII), the people I see Googledriving (white folks in Gary, and this definitely isn't the Miller Beach area), scattershot develpment with a mix of small site-built houses and pre-HUD mobile homes (most in poor condition), the lack of any effort towards "curb appeal", front yard clutter and chain link fencing, multiple vehicles parked on lawns at small houses, and rural-ish character and road cross-sections despite being in the midst of a heavily industrialized area. It also looks a lot like other "Tucky" communities I've seen. The area probably had minimal improvements from the start; dirt roads, and that was it. The underlying municipality or county had to later foot the bill for infrastructure.

From what I've seen, these semi-rural speculative subdivisions outside of industrial centers are magnets for Appalachian migrants, and their descendants often don't stray far. One example: Painesville-on-the-Lake, Ohio, about 25 miles east of Cleveland, that was originally a summer cottage colony. Eventually, heavy industry moved in nearby, and the summer cottages became year 'round homes for migrants from eastern Kentucky. who came up north to work in the plants. There's a bunch of similar Fill-in-the-blank-tucky areas around East St. Louis, Illinois. I suspect Mount Morris, Michigan, along with much of suburban Flint, are also Something-tucky areas - grids of dirt roads, scattershot building with many vacant or double/triple lots, utilitarian cottage-like houses that look like they were built individually, chain link fencing in front yards, and prevalence of small Baptist and non-denominational churches.

The lots were either extremely cheap-- a few hundred dollars at most -- or they were initially given away as raffle prizes or newspaper subscription incentives. Dirt cheap lots attract dirt cheap houses and low margin commercial uses. There were some similar subdivisions outside of Buffalo (minus the Appalachian migrants and pervasive blight) that date back to the same era. In one promotion during the 1920s, new subscribers to the Buffalo Courier would get a free lot in Lake Erie Beach.
 

Maister

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It probably led to a former or planned restroom facility. If it's a former restroom facility, it probavly got removed because it was a rendezvous point for cruising, and neighbors likely complained.

Here's another one from Gary. What's the deal with the Ironwood Avenue roadway?

Based on the different color and condition of the street asphalt, I'm guessing that ~12' right-of-way, was in fact illegally improved by the adjacent property owners. Likely the shoulder was initially improved with a sidewalk/walkway immediately adjacent to the grass, and gravel was later added as an auxiliary parking area for residents. The gravel was later resurfaced with asphalt. Note you can't drive all the way down the street along that 'expanded r.o.w. as you end up running into a grass area just a few hundred feet down the road. This image provides a clue as to the original state I believe.
 

Doohickie

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It probably led to a former or planned restroom facility. If it's a former restroom facility, it probavly got removed because it was a rendezvous point for cruising, and neighbors likely complained.
Not quite. Any other guesses?
 

Doohickie

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My guess was right. Was able to confirm it. Former swimming pool...
Winner winner chicken dinner!

That pool was walking distance from the house we moved into. Unfortunately by the time we moved in, it was gone.
 

Dan

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Based on the different color and condition of the street asphalt, I'm guessing that ~12' right-of-way, was in fact illegally improved by the adjacent property owners. Likely the shoulder was initially improved with a sidewalk/walkway immediately adjacent to the grass, and gravel was later added as an auxiliary parking area for residents. The gravel was later resurfaced with asphalt. Note you can't drive all the way down the street along that 'expanded r.o.w. as you end up running into a grass area just a few hundred feet down the road. This image provides a clue as to the original state I believe.
Kind of like this?

I think you're right. Just for shits and giggles, I looked at the Lake County, Indiana GIS site, and it looks like the roadways in that area make up only a small part of the right-of-way area. Roadways also don't always follow right-of-way center lines. All up and down the street, and in front of houses in other parts of the Miller Beach area, there's similar parking pads with continuous curb cuts in the rights-of-way. Many other communities would frown on the parking pads, because it's private appropriation of on-street parking and drainage ways (otherwise a public good); along with the problems that continuous curb cut create (reduced landscape area, harming what little pedestrian environment there is, and confusing vehicle circulation). I think in Gary, the powers that be in whatever public works agency they have just don't care.

I also did a bit of research into the area around West 24th, that you linked to earlier.

1) There's miles and miles of paper streets and ghost subdivisions in the area. Looking at Gary in general, there's probably as many paper streets, if not more, as there are paved and opened streets. I've never seen an incorporated area with so much pre-Depression speculative subdivision cruft.

gary_paper_streets_01.jpg


gary_paper_streets_02.jpg


2) The Black Oak area is literally swampland. A lot of the area is designated wetlands or in 100-year floodplain areas. Flooding is endemic. Black Oak was annexed to Gary in 1976, with the promise of better services -- sewers, flood control, and so on. Considering the steep decline in Gary's fortunes through the 1960s and 1970s, I doubt those promises have been kept.

3) I searched through newspapers online, and found a lot of obituaries for Black Oak residents that mentioned a birthplace or relatives located in Kentucky. There's a lot of "country" names in articles mentioning Black Oak residents; Polly, Cora, Norma, Tammy, Fill-in-the-blank Sue/Ann/Lynn, and so on. Also, I saw a news article about a fundraiser for area students, to help pay for a multi-day educational trip to the Appalachian center at Berea College in Kentucky.. The article stated that many who settled in Black Oak through the years were from Appalachia.
 

Maister

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An aside: turn a little bit, and there's this faded stop sign. I'd say odds are 50/50 it's so old, it was originally black on yellow.

View attachment 51325

Not far way, there's a pile of smouldering ... something. Nobody's around.
I'd say that has always been a black on yellow sign. Stop signs are (at least during the last half century) typically white letters on a red background. While it's possible a red background could fade to yellow, it seems less likely white would turn uniformly to black, unless there's some serious grime in the air.
 
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