We’re on our way to Pittsburgh for a family event, and a chance to look around. Here’s a look at what we’re seeing, and a bit of what we’re thinking, as we go.
Day 1 began with a drive to Erie, PA. We strolled along, first south and then west, across the state. On country roads – I can no longer bring myself to drive expressways.
As we headed west, across Wyoming County, we began to see a few wind turbines. Then we saw lots of wind turbines. Then we realized that there are 236 of these giant windmills dotting our field of vision. They’re everywhere, like this:
From the City Newspaper.
Of course, we could barely keep driving because the noise was so deafening. Ear splitting. Just kidding. But the locals aren’t – noise concerns are a part of their legal strategy to stop turbines here, and elsewhere in the state. NY state ranks about 9th in wind generation, despite the critics.
Through East Aurora, we cruise past two of our favorite sites: Vidler’s 5 and 10, which somehow has survived the Big Box and thrives on Main Street, like this:
Photo by reisende54 on flickr.
And Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft community, an Arts & Crafts era mecca, and definitely worth a visit. The Roycroft Inn remains a true wonder.
Then a long and windy drive along the south shore of Lake Erie, to Erie, Pa. Along the way, we stopped in scenic Dunkirk to stretch our legs, and admire the fabulous coal-fired power plant which obliterates the Lake’s edge.
And then we arrived, near “rush hour,” in Erie. Perry Square, downtown and named after the Commodore, is a lovely two block stretch, and the old library enfronting the square is strong and dignified. A very nice civic space, all the zooming cars and trucks notwithstanding.
Unfortunately, the disappearance of heavy industry, and the substantial ravages of autodom, has done lots of damage to what must once have been a nice, though heavily polluted, city. Waldameer Park survives, and the roller coasters loom above the roadways and bluffs as you near the lake. You can look it up.
Of course, you can guess what once ran on Erie’s streets:
In Erie, as in many cities we visit, we find ourselves weighing the price a city pays for becoming a specialist, as against remaining a self-sustaining place. In Erie’s case, heavy industry, now mostly gone, was the specialty. Now the community, with its specialized skills and jobs and attitudes and habits of thinking and living, must find new ways to sustain itself. Steep climb, we think.
More about the tour in a bit – off for some chow.