Road Trips

A walk through Burlington, Indiana, on the Michigan Road

On my recent day trip up the Michigan Road north from Indianapolis, I stopped in Burlington. This is a small town of about 600 people, 45 minutes north of Indianapolis and 15 minutes west of Kokomo.

Shortly after Carroll County was created in 1828, David Stipp, said to be a cold and stingy man, laid out Burlington. It was hoped to become the seat of a new county made partly from the Great Miami Reserve, which was two miles east. The Lafayette and Muncie Road crossed the Michigan Road here, but I’ve had no luck finding any information about that road. Burlington was an important stage stop, mill village, and trading center for both whites and Indians from the reservation. The town, named after a chief of the Wyandot native Americans, was incorporated in 1967.

The Burlington Methodist Church is the first major building you pass as you enter town from the south. It’s been expanded several times since it was built, probably in the early 20th century. The original church is made of cinderblock and the expansions are faced in limestone. The church’s original entrance was at the bottom of the steeple tower.

Burlington UMC

A little farther north is this building, which looks for all the world to me like a former fire station. I’ve seen historic photos of it containing the Burlington State Bank. I have photos of it (and the adjacent building to the left) containing a hardware store and later an antique store, but it’s currently vacant.

former Iron Rooster, Burlington

Across the street is Burlington Pizza, in this odd building. I’ve never seen a curved roof except on a Quonset hut before. This has been Burlington Pizza for at least 15 years.

Burlington Pizza

A little up the street on the west is this pair of buildings, which have contained a succession of restaurants. I remember the Dinner Bell, Treece’s, BJ’s, and now Hawg Heaven (which is closed) and Burlington Boathouse. The building on the right started out as Oyler and Huddleston’s dry goods store many, many years ago.

Burlington Boathouse

This handsome building was originally a general store, and was one for a very long time. But in the years I’ve been driving by, it’s been an antique store, a boutique, and now a coffee shop and cafe. It’s also been vacant at least once in my memory, and has undergone at least one renovation.

One More Cup Cafe

Across the street, the Burlington Church of Christ is mostly hidden behind that tree.

Burlington Church of Christ

This building’s unusual entrance features steep, curved steps and a cornerstone announcing 1908 and 1843, which must be the years the building was built and the church was founded, respectively.

Burlington Church of Christ

I’ve never had any idea what this building is, but it’s another one with an unusual roof.

Burlington

Finally, shortly before crossing Wildcat Creek and heading out of town, here’s the American House. It’s a former stagecoach stop and hotel. When I first started passing through Burlington, it was painted a golden yellow and was obviously in poor condition. It’s undergone a renovation in the last five years or so. We had a Historic Michigan Road board meeting in Burlington in 2017 and got to take a tour of the house during its renovation. I have no idea why I didn’t photograph the inside while I had the chance, but I didn’t. I do know that several of these windows were beyond repair, so they had a skilled craftsman build new windows to the same design.

American House

On my old Roads site you can see this page, which shows photos of my 2008 visit to Burlington. It also shows some historic photos of town that I scanned from a book commemorating the town’s 150th anniversary.

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Film Photography

More adventures in home film developing

I’ve had the best results yet in developing black-and-white film. But all’s not perfect.

This time I shot my last roll of original Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros in my Yashica-12 and developed it in Rodinal 1+50 for 10:30 at 23° (as that’s the temperature of my bathroom). I used the Massive Dev App and, thanks to a tip from a commenter, removed the Hypo Clear step that I don’t use. I agitated by twisting the agitator rod. As you can see from these phone photos I made of the negatives, one edge was washed out.

I think I know what happened. I didn’t push the reel to the bottom of the core I’m using, which is longer than the reel. 500ml of Rodinal solution in the tank was therefore not enough to cover the whole negative.

The well-developed part of each negative looks really good to me — neither dense nor thin. But my scanner tried to compensate for the washed-out edge of the film and I had to play with the exposure, highlights, and dehaze sliders in Photoshop to fix that. I also had to crop out the washed-out area. But all twelve photographs are usable.

I took this camera with me to Plymouth, Indiana, for a board meeting of the Historic Michigan Road Association. I made photographs on the way home, in Plymouth and Logansport, at Sycamore Row near Deer Creek, and in Burlington and Kirklin.

Rees Theater, sign lit
All the sweaters you can buy!
Coffee shop
City Building
State Theater, Logansport
People's Winery, Logansport
Sycamore Row
Sycamore Row
Mercantile
For sale
Burlington Church of Christ
Kirklin and its Carnegie library

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Collecting Cameras

Certo Super Sport Dolly, Model A

Old folding cameras are so elemental. You get a lens and a shutter, but everything else is up to you. Plus, even the most straightforwardly styled of them look elegant. It’s like having a beautiful but difficult girlfriend. Especially when something’s wrong in the relationship and she leaves it entirely up to you to fix it. That’s how it has gone for me with this Certo Super Sport Dolly.

Certo Super Sport Dolly

Certo was a German company, headquartered in Dresden. It produced a wide range of Super Sport Dollys (Dollies?) from about 1934 to about 1942. Mine is a Model A, the most common version by far. It takes 120 film. SSDs could be had with a dizzying array of lenses and shutters, but mine happens to feature the most common lens, the capable 75mm f/2.9 Meyer Görlitz Trioplan, set in the most comon shutter, a Compur, which operates from 1 to 1/250 second.

Certo also offered the Model B, which adds the ability to use plate film, and the Model C, which adds to the Model B the ability to rewind rollfilm. Most SSDs have a pop-up viewfinder, but the Models A and C could be had with rangefinders. And some SSDs focus by twisting the front lens element, and others focus by moving the entire lens board.

Certo Super Sport Dolly
Certo Super Sport Dolly

But back to my Model A. Notice the three frame-counter windows on the back, behind a door that covers them. Masks that clip on inside the camera let the SSD create either portrait 4.5×6-cm or square 6×6-cm negatives. The top and bottom windows count 4.5×6 frames and the center window counts 6×6 frames. My SSD came with only the 6×6 mask. New SSDs shipped with an exposure calculator card inside the door. As you can see, my SSD’s original owner replaced that card with some personal exposure notes.

Certo Super Sport Dolly

My SSD shows signs of heavy use and rough service. But the lens is clear and focuses smoothly. And the shutter snaps with square-jawed, steely-eyed authority. It sounds like it means business. It’s the Charles Bronson of shutters.

If you like folding cameras like this one, also see my reviews of the Voigtländer Bessa (here), the Kodak Monitor Six-20 (here), the Kodak Tourist (here), the Ansco B2 Speedex (here)

But before I could use this Certo Super Sport Dolly, I had to repair it. The focusing mechanism was broken. I outlined the repair here. Once fixed, it behaved beautifully.

I shot a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 at Crown Hill Cemetery on an overcast day late last autumn. Just look at the great sharpness that Trioplan lens delivered. The bokeh is middling, though.

Test

I found it hard to frame in the tiny viewfinder. I worried that close shots would be misframed, and I was right. My framing of landscape shots turned out fine, though. I shot a lot of landscapes to check the SSD’s infinity focus. A complete repair of the focusing system would have included properly collimating the lens. That sounded like a hassle so I set infinity focus quickly and dirtily. It turned out okay.

Autumn tree in Crown Hill

Oh bother, a light leak. See it there, on the right, about 4/5 of the way down? There really isn’t much to go wrong with a simple camera like this, but bellows pinholes is one of the most common problems. My cursory initial check of the camera didn’t find any pinholes, but I suppose that’s the problem with cursory checks.

Lane in Crown Hill

This throwaway shot of cars in my driveway shows the leak at its leakiest.

Cars

I took the SSD into a dark room and shone a bright flashlight into the bellows. The corners lit up with pinholes. I dabbed fabric paint onto them all as a quick fix, let it dry, and tried the camera again. The film this time was Kodak Tri-X 400.

Old Bank Antiques

I took the SSD out on a short trip up the Michigan Road. I stopped in Kirklin first for a few photos.

Truck Parked

Then I moved north along the road to Burlington for a few more photos. As you can see, the fabric paint cured the light leak. At least it did for now; who knows how permanent a fix that stuff is.

Burlington, IN

Once again I discovered that the SSD is best at medium distances and beyond. Anything too close, and you can’t be sure of the viewfinder’s framing. This is my only real gripe with the camera.

The 1848 "American House" in Burlington, IN

If you’d like to see more, check out my Certo Super Sport Dolly gallery.

I really liked using the Certo Super Sport Dolly. I need to shoot it again soon, because a beautiful but difficult girlfriend gets crabby when you don’t take her out often enough.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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