Diamond Chain Co.

Diamond Chain Company
Pentax IQZoom 170SL
Kentmere 400
HC-110 B
2022

Recommended Reading is taking a two-week break. I’m consumed with some other things right now and need the time back that I usually give my weekly blog-post roundup.

Steel roller chain was key to the Industrial Revolution because gear teeth could grip it and the chain could withstand the forces of high RPMs in industrial machines. could In 1898, the company that became Diamond Chain created an improved steel roller chain by adding a tiny bush bearing on every roller. Henry Ford’s Model T assembly line ran on Diamond Chain! You can also find this kind of chain on your bicycle.

Diamond Chain’s factory stood at 402 Kentucky Avenue in Downtown Indianapolis. The company sold to Ohio-based The Timken Company last year. Timken quickly began relocating operations to a plant it owned in Illinois, and announced that it would close the longtime Indianapolis facility.

The owner of the Indy Eleven soccer team has purchased the property and will redevelop it, building a soccer stadium, apartments, a hotel, office buildings and retail space.

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Photographs

single frame: Diamond Chain Company

A b/w photo of a factory that is soon to be razed.

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Preservation, Travel

The hotel at West Baden Springs

West Baden Springs Hotel

Would you believe that in the 1990s, this grand structure sat abandoned and crumbling? An exterior wall had even collapsed. Yet here it is today, restored and jaw-dropping.

This is the West Baden Springs Hotel, completed in 1902. Nestled among the mineral springs in Orange County in far southern Indiana, the hotel attracted people looking to relax and let the springs heal what ailed them — and people looking to gamble in the illicit casinos here.

Billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, its enormous domed atrium was the largest domed structure in the world at that time.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel

There are four exits from the atrium; one of them leads to this lobby, which is also round.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel

A deep porch curves around the front of the hotel. Some of it is covered and some is not; this uncovered portion was closed this day. The covered portions gave surprising relief from what was a very hot day.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel

You’ll find a sunken garden next to the hotel. This is where the springs used to be. They’re probably still there, but they’ve been closed up for years.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel

The main entry and exit road to the hotel is paved in brick. This road shows every sign of heavy use over decades. It was very rumbly as we drove in and out.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel

The entry arch dates to the hotel’s beginnings, when the springs were marketed as the main attraction here. “West Baden” is an Anglicization of “Wiesbaden,” a springs and spa town in Germany.

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Physical plant

Physical plant
Yashica-12
Ilford Pan-F Plus
2018

In my book, Square Photographs, I include a couple images I made at the Central State Hospital for the Insane. One of those photos is a detail of this building, which I entitled “I Wonder What This Could Be?” It was so named for the boarded-up window I photographed, onto which someone painted those words next to a little girl holding her arms out to the sky.

I said in the book that the building was in sad condition, and that an extensive renovation would be needed to make it usable again. This photo shows you what I mean. I didn’t share this in the book because I’d already selected two images from Central State and I needed to move on to other subjects.

I made this on Ilford Pan-F Plus, an ISO 50 film. I bought a five-pack of this stuff hoping it would be a good film for my box cameras. But it turns out it lacks the exposure latitude of Ilford’s FP4 Plus and wasn’t a great choice for my old boxes. I burned this roll in the Yashica-12 and sent my last roll to a blogging friend to try. As you can see, it performed beautifully in this camera that has an onboard meter for precise exposure.

My new book, Square Photographs, is available now!

The Standard Edition is $15.99 at Amazon.com. Get yours here.

The Deluxe Edition, on premium paper and ink, is $24.99 at MagCloud.com. Get yours here.

Photographs

single frame: Physical plant

A dilapidated building at the former site of an insane asylum.

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Photographs, Preservation

8 Odd Fellows buildings in Indiana

Washington at Addison
Indianapolis, Olympus XA, Kosmo Foto Mono
Downtown Richmond
Richmond, Canon PowerShot S95
Centerville
Centerville, Canon PowerShot S95
North Salem, IN
North Salem, Kodak EasyShare Z730
Odd Fellows Building, Eminence
Eminence, Kodak EasyShare Z730
IOOF, Roann
Roann, Yashica Lynx 14e, Kodak T-Max 400
IOOF Thorntown
Thorntown, Kodak No. 2 Brownie, Model F, Kodak Verichrome Pan (x 6/82)
IOOF
Rolling Prairie, Kodak EasyShare Z730

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Wrigley building

Between the Wrigley Building towers
Minolta Maxxum 5
35-70mm f/4 Maxxum AF Zoom
Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2022

I’m fascinated with the Wrigley Building in Chicago. You’ll find it on Michigan Avenue, on the west side of the street, just north of the Chicago River. The building has two towers connected by an arched pedestrian walkway. This creates a courtyard of sorts, one of concrete rather than of grass, between the towers. I find this to be a stunning view and I love to photograph it.

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Photographs

single frame: Between the Wrigley Building towers

Between the towers of Chicago’s Wrigley Building.

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Photographs

Farmers and their banks

It struck me as I stood in downtown Rushville, Indiana, photographing the Farmers Trust Company building that I have photographed a number of bank buildings in my travels with Farmers or Farmer’s in the name. Here are all of the Farmers bank building photographs I’ve made that I could find. All of these banks are defunct, and house other banks and even other businesses today. Now I’ll be sure to photograph Farmers/Farmer’s bank buildings wherever I see them.

Rushville, IN
Farmers Trust Company, Rushville, IN. Pentax ME SE, 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M, Foma Fomapan 200 @ EI 125, Ilford ID-11 stock, 2021.
Farmer's State Bank
Farmer’s State Bank, New Carlisle, IN. Kodak EasyShare Z730, 2008.
Farmer's Bank
Farmer’s National Bank, Sheridan, IN. Yashica-12, Kodak Tri-X (x-6/1981) @EI 200, L110 Dilution B, 2020.
Downtown Bardstown
Farmers Bank & Trust Co., Bardstown, KY. Nikon FA, 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 AI-s Zoom Nikkor, Agfa Vista 200, 2019.

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