Beware of the Hostile Observing Flying Men

Happy February and long weekend!

My focus has shifted completely back to BOHA in the last three weeks, with the Navy Yard and Denali sneaking their way into my peripheries every now and then. I completed final (final) edits for the Commandant’s House planting plan, and next week Eliot and I will be getting together with folks from BOST and Branching Out to present the finished product (shout out to Branching Out for all their great research assistance, it’s very much appreciated!). This week we also got the OK to finalize the Vegetation Management Plan for Fort Andrews, which is very exciting news. As for the BOHA CLR, there are still a few images and permissions I’m waiting on, and some for which I’m working on finding replacements. Lots of waiting, lots of pestering, lots of failed advanced searches.

Some successful advanced searches happened at the National Archives in Waltham last Wednesday. Eliot and I found that Waltham is home to boxes and boxes of helpful and interesting information pertaining not just to Peddocks Island, but also to the entire harbor. Some of the most helpful finds were a 1955 appraisal for Fort Andrews structures, memos regarding the design and layout of the fort as well as later memos talking about improvements that were made around the first World War (searchlights!). There were some pretty funny phrases in a few of the memos, especially one that referenced “hostile observing flying men,” which I found hilarious. The map that I’ve found most helpful is from the 1940’s and clearly labels each Fort Andrews structure. Until I saw this map, I had no idea there was a theatre on the island. It’s the non-shaded building marked “T1,” and it burned down at some point before the 1970’s.

In the same day we visited Fairsted so I could get a tour from Mark Swartz. I had been to the site twice before with Chris but never had the opportunity to get the tour. Unfortunately I left my picture taking device in the car and couldn’t get a photo of my favorite feature which was the blue printer. The amount of work and care that was necessary for the production of plans before CAD or even just photocopying is pretty awe inspiring. It’s amazing to see how many plans and projects were produced and executed by the firm when you realize how long it would to take to produce just one plan. I really enjoy hand drafting because of how much more personal it is, but I really appreciate CAD for convenience and for the ease of changing things. And the ortho snap. Love that F8 key.

The past few weeks have me all archived out (maybe not quite), but I also paid a visit to the DCR archives where Sean Fisher brought in the 1971 Peddocks Island building assessment for me to look at. I knew that there had been a fire house on the island that was part of Fort Andrews so I guess it makes sense that they had a fire truck, and there is a great photo of that truck in the assessment.

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I’m looking forward to working more on the CLI for Peddocks and updating the site map as I make new discoveries about the island!

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