09 November 2015

Bridgeport CT

updated 11 November 2016

Illumination at Bridgeport
Google Street View
This is the Barnum Museum, donated to the people of Bridgeport in 1893 by P.T. Barnum.
updated 11 Nov 2016


The history of American industry sometimes looks like industrial "slash and burn."

For instance, here's the Lansing NY Penn-Dixie story as related by Lansing Historian, Louise Bement:
"A labor strike at the plant in 1946 precipitated the decision by the management of Penn-Dixie (which had succeeded the founding Portland Point Cement Company in 1910) to shutter the plant and take the operation elsewhere. When the mill was closed in 1947, the homes at Portland Point — all of which, except the then-standing Hancy residence, had been built by the company on land it owned — were razed and the former employees and their families were scattered, homeless, across the Town of Lansing."
Who were the people made homeless by Penn-Dixie? Bement tells us,
“They were all newcomers and the children of newcomers—many southern Europeans and lots of Hungarians, all recruited by Portland Cement to work in the mill. For the longest time they were outsiders in Lansing and certainly not welcomed by the old families when they started to arrive around the turn of the century.” 
Penn-Dixie did not tear down the concrete plant itself and its storage buildings. They were simply abandoned, to tower over Cayuga Lake for decades. Even the old gatehouse was left intact. Only employee residences were destroyed.
Bridgeport CT is home to several episodes of corporate slash and burn, on a grander scale. The results of this behavior--for which individual corporations in general do not hold themselves responsible--are not just stark monuments of rotting buildings. In the case of chemical and armaments companies, the ground (and those who come in contact with it) is often poisoned as well.


"the way things used to be"

Remainders, Bridgeport CT
Google Street View, July 2011

"1984 - Remington announced that it would move its headquarters from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Wilmington, Delaware to reduce costs and improve communications with DuPont. Approximately 50 people from various administrative functions were moved to Wilmington from late 1984 to early 1986. 
"1986 - Remington sells its Abrasive Products business and the Barnum Avenue site in Bridgeport, Connecticut to RemGrit Corporation. [Remgrit assumes Remington's tax liability.] 
"1990 - DuPont transferred ownership of Remington Arms Company to a wholly-owned Delaware holding company, DuPont Chemical and Energy Operations, Inc. (DECO). 
"1995 - Remington announces that its headquarters will move from Wilmington, Delaware to Rockingham County, North Carolina. Forty-nine employees relocate. 
"1996 - Remington builds a new headquarters facility near Madison, North Carolina. Construction is completed in mid-year.Remington announces plans to develop a new Firearms manufacturing facility in Graves County, Kentucky, with plans to invest several million dollars in plant and equipment. 
"1997 - Remington opens a new Firearms plant near Mayfield, Kentucky to supplement the Ilion [NY] plant. The new Mayfield site is the first new Remington Firearms plant built since 1828."
Steps
Remgrit went bankrupt, owing millions in back taxes.
Google Street View, Sept 2012
What's inside?
Google Street View, Sept 2012
Shadows of Industry
(Google Earth)
Here's a YouTube aerial tour near the shot tower in Bridgeport CT:

(Firegroundimages offers additional video of this location.)

Testimony
Google Street View, July 2011
Danny Warpotion has posted a tour of the interior of the abandoned Remington "shot tower" (above) on YouTube:


Ghosts in shot towers do not lurk in the shadows. They are in the air that one breathes, on the stairs, among the dust covering the floors, just waiting for folks to stir them up.  If you decide to explore around old armories or anyplace where lead shot might have been stored or manufactured, please be aware of the symptoms of lead poisoning and take appropriate measures to stay safe! Lead poisons people of all ages, not just children. Those creepy steps, no trespassing signs and security guards aren't the only hazards of urban exploration!

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