Last week, while y’all were having fun trying to win the Name This Place contest, I was down in New Orleans slaving away. Well, I have to be honest, I was spending my free time and even some of my not-free time walking the streets of the French Quarter and the larger business district that began as the American Sector back when the Americans started taking over.
I have other pictures and thoughts to share from my trip south, but that will wait until next week. Today, I leave you with a few images of what I saw on the occasions when I looked down at the sidewalks upon which I was walking. I started taking pictures of manhole and other utility covers a few years ago, and really enjoyed seeing the great variety to be found in France, where each city and even small village seems to have its own design for these little pieces of metal in the sidewalks and streets.
Down in New Orleans, I picked my habit right back up because I found several examples of Jackson’s own Harper Foundry and Machine Company’s products as I walked along. You would think that New Orleans would have had plenty of foundries to produce all the utility and manhole covers they needed in the city, but maybe they were too busy pumping out the big architectural ironwork that define the balconies around town to be bothered with such lowly utilitarian products.
Harper was located over on East Rankin Street in the southern part of downtown Jackson. I believe they closed down, at least the actual foundry, back around 2003 or 2004. I had heard, but would like to have verified, that their forms and some equipment went to the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum in Meridian’s old Soule Steam Feed Works. I had posted a few of my earlier Harper images on Flickr and lo and behold one of the Harper family commented that they had found some Harper utility covers in the French Quarter, so with that in mind, I made sure to keep an eye out and snap some shots.
There may be two morals, not necessarily mutually exclusive, to this story. The first is to always look down while walking–you never know what interesting things you may see. The second is that something is seriously wrong with me.
Here are a few other interesting covers I saw around town, and now that I look more closely, I see that none of them were produced by NOLA foundries.
Categories: Architectural Research