Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wittemore Ave. Greenhouse, Cambridge

Updated Nov. 24, 2011: Here's the follow up article about the greenhouse; the demolition is going on right now... "Update on Whittemore Ave. Greenhouse"

When I was a kid, I cried over 1999, thinking I was determined to die young. Well, nothing happened. Dragging the feeling of being deceived, I became obsessed with imagining a parallel universe filled with an Apocalyptic cityscape.

But I didn't need to imagine. Apocalypse was now; decays were violently eating into the towns like Detroit and Gary while I was feeling doomed by 1999...Now I don't cry over 2012. I'm too old and cynical for that. 

An abandoned row of greenhouses along the Cambridge section of Minuteman Trail Extension is a sample size of Apocalypse in my North Cambridge neighborhood. I've always thought the property is related to a chemical company right next to. (i.e.: they used to grow plants for...uh, testings, and it failed a soil test or somethin' prior to cranking out a reuse plan.) But the answer was more simple; it was a closed flower and plant nursery called Edward F Norberg Inc.

A rather familiar view from the bikepath
Less familiar view of the entrance

What I don't know is: how long it's been vacant? Trees are popping out from the greenhouses!

We can do an educated guess from the size of trees but there are crucial factors to determine the year of closure: a) they had been trees for sale grown inside of the greenhouses, eventually the overgrown ex-products broke the sheets of glass. Or b) the glass ceilings broke after the prolonged abandonment, and tree seeds entered into the greenhouse through the openings.

The annual snow fall isn't a good news for the poor greenhouses. It must have been filled with vivid flowers and plants before, now the invasion of wild plants eating into the structures.

I know people who are aware of real estate values and neighborhood safety don't like the state of the greenhouses, but there is a strange beauty in this crumbling down structure. Chipped painting, wild plants hanging down in a carefree manner, surreal trees penetrating the glass ceilings... A mock antique themed clothing shop ubiquitous in shopping malls can't beat the space. 

Locate Wittemore Ave. Greenhouses @ Google Map

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