Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Down on Hatfield.
c. David Grim (taken 9/2/07)
It's a bit strange now to think about what Hatfield Street in Lawrenceville used to be like a few years ago. With the huge Heppenstall Plant eclipsing the sun for blocks on its northern side, the street often seemed like an urban valley. It's one of the lowest points in Larryville, and back in 2000 it had characteristics that added to the feeling of engaging the demimonde.
Only a decade ago you could score just about any drug and have your choice of many prostitutes just by walking out your door on Hatfield. Heppenstall was already abandoned by all life and industry, other than the many forms of vermin that inhabited it. It was a black hole in what was rapidly becoming a vibrant neighborhood.
A casual friend and I once scaled the wall and entered the complex for a lark. We explored its many buildings and crawled up on top of its roofs. There was some decent grafitti here and there, but for the most part it was simply filled with detritus. There wasn't much worth salvaging. I'm glad I went in though, because it was a memorable adventure with a guy that would die tragically a few years later.
Anyway the shots above were taken in 2007, toward the end of the demolition. Right now its just a brown field, and I'm not sure what's going to be built on the site. Unfortunately the view of the Allegheny River is still obstructed by industrial buildings. Who knows? Maybe there will be townhouses there some day.