It has been a long time since we last visited the North Smithfield Auto Recycling, a.k.a. the junkyard. When we were there the last time, Roland, the manager, was going to have a medical leave and we wished him well. After that, I called a couple of times to see how he was doing, but I was told he was no longer there, and the yard was not accepting photographers anymore.
A few months ago, I decided to call once more to see if they opened it to photographers, and to my surprise, Roland answered the phone. I was happy to hear that he fared well and was back at the helm. He said we were welcome to visit and take photographs any time although I am not sure if they are open to all photographers. That visit would wait until Jan was up to walking a little more and the weather offered us a comfortable day.
At the end of July, when the weather was tolerable, Jan and I drove to her favorite shooting ground. It was good to see Roland doing well and looking healthier than the last time we saw him. After chatting with him a little and reminiscing about our photographs on the walls, we entered the grounds of rust and decay.
I was surprised to see the entire yard looking much more organized with neat rows of cars, like books on the shelves of a library. Yes, it is, but only a little exaggeration. There was much less rust and chrome, and the old “Memory Lane” was mostly gone. We walked slowly through the front part and eventually made our way to a short row of middle-aged cars. After meandering among them and taking some photographs we started to walk back. We left our greetings for Roland as he was busy and left the yard.
A Little Trivia
After I sorted out my photographs, I noticed once more how tidy the whole place looked and how little rust remained. Among the photographs I took were a couple of Cadillac insignia. On them, I noticed two groups of three birds that looked like ducks. A little search revealed some interesting background and trivia that I would like to share.
- The original design was based on the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit although some say he did not have any lineage going back that way
- He established Fort Pontchartrain and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne on the Straits (Sainte Anne de Détroit where “le détroit” meaning “the straits” in French), and the fort eventually became the city of Detroit
- The colors also reflect the family crest
- The two blocks of ducks turn out to be mythological merlettes with no beaks and feet, signifying the holy trinity and honoring the mother’s and father’s nobility
- Eventually, the color panels took a more modern look, the famous V was introduced, and the ducks ducked and left, leaving no animals on the current day logo
- And, I learned the origin of the name of the city of Detroit
Jan enjoyed being there although her favorite old cars were gone. The rust and decay being reduced left fewer abstract photography opportunities, but she managed to find a collection that pleased her. Here are Jan’s photos.
And these are mine.