Friday, March 18, 2011


The Box surveys the rubble of the school.
Although I really do not know where Progress begins and ends, I was there today to take some pictures of the former Progress Elementary School of the Susquehanna Township School District. This was at the prompting of another former PHMC friend, Jesse, who, when he was executive director of the Luzerne County Historical Society, would dispatch a volunteer photographer to take recordation photos of buildings doomed to demolition. Jesse and I worked at the PHMC together over 10 years ago. He is not an Executive-in-Exile, nor is he a world-class grandma.

Jungle gym, anyone?
Jesse lives in the area of the school and noticed the goings-on, but by the time I got there, a good portion of the building was a pile of rubble. An older woman was walking the perimeter taking photos, too, and another woman in a car stopped beside me to talk. She just wanted (needed?) to tell me that her son had gone to that school and that she was going to ask for a brick to keep as a souvenir.

There was an unlatched gate in the fence, and since no one appeared to be on-site and wrecking anything, I slipped inside (as much as a person my size can "slip") and walked to the playground area in front of the school to take some photos there. The front façade was still standing, and I could see clearly into the two front classrooms in the basement and on the first floor. I wondered how many kids I knew when I taught at the high school had sat here on the first day of school in their new togs, waiting to be enlightened.

The façade was pretty restrained in decoration, but there were two big columns flanking the front door, and a keystone embedded in the brick over the door. I hope the township keeps that keystone as a souvenir.

You'd think the school district could have found another use for that building. Next door stands the former high school, now in use as a commercial building. It's been proven time and time again that people are drawn to historic buildings and districts, so why not try to preserve and re-use them? Once they are all gone, we will have to travel to re-creations like Disney World's Village Square.

Storybook house across the street.
As long as I was in this mystical place called "Progress" (pronounced PRO-gress as it PRO sports, mind you), I decided to take a circuitous route home and take some pictures of some houses that I always found attractive. I am sort of a nut on residential architecture, of the both low-class and high-class sorts. More importantly, these places are associated with times and people who were special to me. The private homes still look great, but I think the rental units are fading beauties. You'll see what I mean below.

On the way home, I was feeling listless and sort of faint, so I decided that instead of a costly medical procedure, I would stop for gas and get a shock to start my system. It worked!

 The back portion of the school bites the dust.

The even older former High School still stands
next door, in use as an office building.

Our friends Joan and Carl lived here for many years.

Carl's a photographer -- I knew he'd
like the shadow cast by his old

Friends Marcia and Gobie lived here until they 
answered the call of the West Shore.

This farm house, further down the road from the
previous two houses, always attracted me. I had
at least one of the kids in school. She became a
doctor, no thanks to me.

 This is the apartment building where we lived for ten
years before moving to the green house in Lingles-
 town. There were four of us in two bedrooms and
one bathroom, but it was a nice place to be. We
called it "Mumperville" after the builder/owner. 

These last three photos were taken in Colonial Park, not Progress.

My sister Rachel lived here on Trent Road in 
Mumperville East, just off Route 22.

Here's what shocked me back into
a normal heart rhythm.

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