Rowe Quarry was on the Malden-Revere line, about ten miles north of Boston, just off Route 1 and visible from the highway. For many years, it caught my attention every time I drove by. I grew especially fond of it during the four years that I worked in Revere and drove this route to work every day. I loved the weathered wood, the wonderful angles, and the rocky cliffs surrounding it. I developed had a vague sort of ambition to draw, paint or photograph the site, an odd ambition for me since I can’t draw nor paint, and, in those days, I never took anything but family snapshots.
When I got my first digital camera ten years ago, I drove past this site occasionally and thought I ought to stop sometime and take a picture, but either I didn’t have the camera with me or I was in a hurry or both. One Saturday morning, I finally made a special trip down and took two pictures. I was pretty pleased with myself, and thought I’d take many more. I imagined myself taking pictures of the quarry in different seasons, in different weather, from different angles. It would be my special thing. Rowe Quarry and me! We’d would be like Rouen Cathedral and Monet!
Just a silly, secret daydream. I was unaware at the time that this rock crusher was soon to be torn down, and that the site would be redeveloped as Overlook Ridge. Nor was I aware of the environmental contamination issues present at the site, although now I wonder how I missed all the local news coverage. I was shocked shortly thereafter, when I drove by and it was just all gone.
I still drive up Route 1 frequently, and I still look over to the right at the Revere-Malden line, half expecting to see this old familiar site. I’m still disappointed every time. I miss it. I’m glad, though, that I took two photographs before it was gone. I’m pleased that they get a slow but steady stream of viewers. Nearly all coming from Google searches, so I know that there are some other people out there who miss it, too.