Posted by: Waheeda Harris | May 28, 2013

That ol’ brick magic

Brick buildings have a unique significance for me – its because when I first saw a lot of them, I was amazed at how big they were and the unique decorations found on them.

New Hampshire - ManchesterUnlike most building now, that focuses on concrete, the past was all about brick – and its role in the industrial revolution. It was strong, and bold, yet it could be used in anything from residential to factory.

Arriving in the town of Manchester, New Hampshire, I got to see the old Mill Town neighbourhood, acres of old red brick textile mill buildings, now considered THE area to have an office, retail shop or restaurant.

Seeing these bright red brick buildings, still standing over a 100 years later was heartening, especially since for so many people, its a past they don’t want to remember.

Within several of the buildings, black and white photographs of the industrial revolution are shown, the negativity of their actions enhanced by the grainy lack of colour images we look at.

But despite its toxic legacy, industry is what led us to where we are – its important to see the history, appreciate it, and now see how we can use it for good. Why knock down these buildings, built to last, when they can be modernized inside, used again and still have a uniqueness never to be found from a newly-built building?

I was also glad to see several streets in Manchester had brick buildings too – kept and modernized for today’s needs, but the unique facades having a story as much as the tall trees that grew in front of them in the sidewalk.

It won’t be perfect to always keep these buildings in a city, but it will be distinct, and then you’ll see all us travellers, taking photos and seeing the city in a different way – not just a place near the White Mountains Forest, but a place knowing how to balance the past, present and welcoming the future.

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