Fitchburg Mass.

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Patrick

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That's tragic. I just took some shots of a closed catholic church down here. These things are irreplaceable. Hopefully they can find some use for it. I know in Portland and New Bedford churches are reused as restaurants and art galleries; even colleges reuse them. Maybe something like that could happen in Fitchburg?
The idea of reusing a church as a restaurant is weird in my opinion. I went into Grace to have some dinner a while back and besides the fancy new bar they installed it felt like I was eating in a building that was still a church. Only instead of pews there were tables. It wasn't my cup of tea, but many other people seem to really like it. It tends to draw quite the snobby crowd, more so than many better restaurants around town.

The art gallery idea is much better. On Munjoy hill (in Portland) they demolished St Lawrence church, or at least the best looking tower part of it, and the other portion is being reused as a performing arts venue/theatre. Saint Dominics Church in the west end (again in Portland) is now the Irish Heritage Center. These structures can be reused, but as what takes some thinking about.
 

Lrfox

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The idea of reusing a church as a restaurant is weird in my opinion. I went into Grace to have some dinner a while back and besides the fancy new bar they installed it felt like I was eating in a building that was still a church. Only instead of pews there were tables. It wasn't my cup of tea, but many other people seem to really like it. It tends to draw quite the snobby crowd, more so than many better restaurants around town.

The art gallery idea is much better. On Munjoy hill (in Portland) they demolished St Lawrence church, or at least the best looking tower part of it, and the other portion is being reused as a performing arts venue/theatre. Saint Dominics Church in the west end (again in Portland) is now the Irish Heritage Center. These structures can be reused, but as what takes some thinking about.

I don't have so much of a problem with restaurants in churches. I actually think, that if done properly, it can be great. It's not a new idea at all. I have a harder time thinking of cities that DON'T have an old church converted into a restaurant than cities that DO have them. It's funny that you say that about Grace. My gripe about Grace was that I thought the food was mediocre. I thought the setting was quite nice. The light was wonderful. It really provides a different atmosphere. It's a change of pace. Fall River's recently closed Abbey Grill was the best of a number of former area churches now used as restaurants. People seem to enjoy it.

I like the Art Gallery idea better too. Gallery X in New Bedford is now a modern art gallery and performing space. The openness of a church makes for great exhibit space (and older ones can be had at low cost). It's great for performing art space too because churches were designed for, well, performance (crowd facing a particular point where action occurs along with music, etc).

It's funny you mention the Irish Heritage Center. Fall River is working on turning a church into a Portuguese Heritage Center/Museum. Probably got the idea from Portland.

Anyway, it does take some thinking about, but a little creativity goes a long way. Personally, I prefer a performing art space or gallery to a restaurant but I don't mind either. Restaurants can go almost anywhere, but it's hard to find decent performing art space.
 
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Patrick

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While your point ("if done right") makes sense, I guess it just makes me restate my comment to read that I DON'T think Grace is done right. To each their own. Clearly, its subjective, but I think Grace is too much on the 'church inside a restaurant side', rather than the side it should be on, the 'restaurant inside a church' side. A little too much church, not enough restaurant. Don't get me wrong, the bar looked neat, but the entry way wasn't renovated at all. The steps leading to the restaurant still look like an old dusty building, not the look the business was going for. The lighting is odd, too, and if you're not at the right table, the atmosphere isn't right at all. Also, the waitstaff was a tad bit too snobby. I mean, they are waiters after all, not Kennedy's. I thought the food was very good, but way over priced. Anyway, not to hijack the thread. I still think churches can be reused, but a restaurant isn't one of the uses I would prefer. Out of curiosity, would you eat at a restaurant in a former jail?
 

Lrfox

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Just a difference of opinion, I guess. I felt like they were trying to be "trendy" like the big city restaurants, but it wasn't working-- just felt off to me. I guess I admired the space and the architecture of it in a separate light from the restaurant. I see your point about the stairs and the entrance. I went to Grace twice (my girlfriend insisted we give it a second shot). We escaped with a bill of under $200 each time including wine and a few courses which wasn't terrible, but the product wasn't worth it. Overly presented (did you notice how big their plates were?), tasty, but nothing special (like you said, not worth the money). She is a server at Hugo's (still the best in Portland by far, IMHO) and a friend of hers started working there and insisted we try it. Maybe that's why they didn't come off as pretentious (I never understood pretentious waiters). I still think there are a bunch of better places with better food in Portland.

To answer your last question... Yes. And I have (Clink Boston). It was another instance of where I felt like I was paying for atmosphere and the food was just O.K. Food was "creative" but not so wonderful. It was cool inside though and I have been back for drinks. Another place that feels like it's trying too hard. I DO like the renovation from an architectural point of view though. you should check out the photos of the hotel on the main website.
 

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My little brother starts college next fall so today we visited two of the colleges he was accepted to. We started off at Keene State (absolutely beautiful up there... 100 times better than I expected) in the morning and then spent the afternoon at Fitchburg.

It was my first trip to the city and I didn't know what to expect. I guess I had a general "hard on its luck" mill town in mind. We skipped out on the propaganda tour and went out on our own. We checked out the campus itself first and then went downtown and into some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

My impressions were that the city has great bones in some instances. Unfortunately, it seems as though so much of it is in disrepair or destroyed all together. Highlights for me were the little pedestrian strip that connects Main Street to Boulder Drive at an angle. It reminds me of a less active, less dressed up version of the little strip near Portland's monument square. Portland's is in much better condition, but the one it Fitchburg has potential. Main Street had some excellent buildings but SO many vacant or really low $ storefronts. The Boulder Cafe looked SO inviting, but we didn't have time and I wasn't sure they were open. There was a lot to like about the architecture and density (in spite of the damages done) downtown.

What REALLY struck me about Fitchburg is how the hills affect driving and walking. I knew it was a hilly city, but I had no idea just how hilly. We walked and drove around some of the neighborhoods and it was unbelievable. The stairs coming down from Longsjo Middle School facing downtown are quite dramatic. Jay Street (once blacktopped, but mostly cobblestone now) is VERY impressive. I wouldn't drive up it if you paid me! The hills really threw me for a loop. I grew up near Fall River which, believe it or not, is VERY hilly. However, it has nothing on Fitchburg.

The final verdict was that I really liked Fitchburg. It appeared larger than I expected. The potential for improvement is certainly there. However, it appeared worse than I even imagined in terms of economic struggles. The vacant homes (many beautiful) and storefronts were worse than I've seen in most places in MA (even worse than in Fall River). The condition of many of the buildings was deplorable.. again, worst than just about any city I've seen in MA. The college is and should be a bright spot for the city. However, I felt that it was still too quiet (chalk it up to the weather, maybe?) It didn't seems like kids were walking around too much. At Keene, despite the rain, the streets and campus were jamming. Fitchburg felt much quieter. I know the discussion is of the college playing a more active role in town, but it just felt like it was... segregated... even though it really is so close to downtown.

If he had to choose between the two (he doesn't), my bro said he'd take Keene. Mostly for the academics, but the town was a lively, beautiful place and he enjoyed it. Fitchburg, though larger, didn't have the activity he was looking for which was a real shame. With some TLC, it could be a vibrant little city (the building in question from a few pages back needs to go... awful structure in person). I do want to get back and take some photos. There are some great buildings there.
 

Boston02124

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As someone who grew up there Your comments hit the nail right on the head!And yes it is a hilly city,some say the 2nd most hillyest after San Francisco,I myself grew up at intersection connecting 5 steep streets no fun in the winter unless ur sledding
 

Ron Newman

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It would be hard to beat Pittsburgh PA for hilliness -- if anyone's been to both Pittsburgh and Fitchburg, I'd be interested in hearing a comparison.
 

Boston02124

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You know you're from Fitchburg when.....

-You always have to spell out your town name because people think you're from Pittsburgh
-You pronounce it Cleg-on
-You don't eat at the Cleg-on McDonalds after midnight
-You know the difference between lower, middle and upper Cleg-on
-You hate Leominster and swear they start every fight
-You wonder what stores in Twin City Plaza are in Fitchburg
-You unconsciously look at the rock to see if the high school painted anything new
-You have painted the rock at least once in your lifetime
-You know how to drive around the potholes because the city doesn't fix them
-You actually love the snow because it fills in the potholes
-You have a "Boston" accent
-You don't think you have a "Boston" accent until you travel and somebody points it out to you
-When the thermometer hits 65 you open your windows
-You NEVER, and I mean NEVER wear blue to a sporting event
-You call it the "Burg"
-When you are talking about a homeless person, another Fitchburger knows just who you're talking about
-When you graduated everyone went away to college, but eventually came back to Fitchburg State
-You know NEVER to walk on Main Street at night
-You can name at least 5 Pizza places off the top of your head
-You will always call it Searstown, even though it's The Mall at Whitney Field
-You hear gunfire in front of your house and you think it's just fireworks
-West Fitchburg is a completely different place
-You almost hit parked cars on Mechanic Street because the street isn't wide enough
-Did you ever try to get out of your car in front of the post office?
-You remember when Hannaford's was Victory
-You remember when Market Basket was Stuart's
-You always went to Whalom Park as a kid
-You wish Whalom Park was still open
-You remember the old fifth street bridge
-You get angry when people from the outer lane cut you off while you're trying to go around the boulder.
-You feel awkward when you travel because you miss all of the hills




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Boston02124

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In the burg last week end
old factory district now wipe off the face of the earth!
new train station entrance
construction
my old porn shop torn down
5th st bridge
 

found5dollar

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about that demolition......

The dilapidated building at 161-181 Main St., at the gateway intersection of North Street, was demolished this month. The Fitchburg State College Foundation purchased the building earlier this year, and the site will be replaced with green space for the time being.

City leaders are hopeful the intersection can be redeveloped with a mix of commercial and residential uses.

The demolition represents just the latest efforts by the college to improve the North Street corridor. Another property is being torn down on North Street near the Campus Police Station, and renovation work has already begun on new office space for the Exercise and Sport Science program across from the recreation center.

The top photo shows the demolition as of May 6, while the bottom image shows the site as it appeared on May 11.


 

Boston02124

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It would be hard to beat Pittsburgh PA for hilliness -- if anyone's been to both Pittsburgh and Fitchburg, I'd be interested in hearing a comparison.
came across this today Fitchburg, Massachusetts
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to:navigation, search
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
? City ?

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.1 square miles (72.7 km?), of which, 27.8 square miles (71.9 km?) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km?) of it (1.07%) is water. The city is drained by the Nashua River. Fitchburg is very hilly and is often referred to as the second hilliest city in the United States after San Francisco.
 

Boston02124

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today Fitchburg area from Lunenburg Mass
The Rock FHS 2011
this used to be an old cow pasture now a hill off a Walmart parking lot
this used to be Whalom Park North Central Mass. largest amusement park
 

found5dollar

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Ground Breaking for new Science Building on campus

Fitchburg State Today Newsletter

The formal celebration of Fitchburg State's new identity as a university will be held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Weston Auditorium. Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray is expected to be on hand as we mark this historic day in the institution's history.



The celebration occurs on the day that the name-changing legislation takes legal effect. Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed the measure on July 28, but there was a 90-day window before it became law.



The day will also mark the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Science Center. The $60 million facility will be built where Parkinson Gymnasium now stands.

I also drove through campus the other day (Roller Derby at the Laundry Arena!!) and saw that they are finally rehabbing and expanding the building on North Street that was saved from the recking ball. They say it is going to be offices for the Exercise and Sports Science Department, but it is way to big for just that.
 

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