A few weeks ago there was a dedication ceremony in my hometown and all of the towns folk got together on a small bridge by the waterfall. The historical society was dedicating a plaque at the bridge and all of the surrounding houses that were historic opened their doors for a little house tour. My parents participated and opened the doors of the Silkmill in Piermont, which is an old silk factory that they purchased in the 1970′s and spent the next many years restoring, mostly themselves. Even though the Silkmill is now five loft apartments, it was once full of commerce and most people that lived in the town worked there. The top floor has 40 ft ceilings, and you can still see the oil stains on the wooden floors from the old ribbon machines. I learned how to ride my bicycle inside and used to play basketball with my friends inside too. It was a little unusual but rather delightful.
On the wall of the street level entrance was all of the pictures of what it has looked like through the years. It was originally called “Haddock’s Hall” after Roger Haddock, the man who built it. The street level was a department store at one point.
There’s Michael Shapiro on his tour.
My mama played tour guide for folks.
I heart red geraniums.
In case someone ever asks you what kind of flowers I like. Now you know.
Here is my little bro and one of the fellas who lives in the Silkmill.
Here’s a view from the doorway of one of the apartments.
And here is a view from the doorway of one of the other apartments.
And here is a view from the stairs of the top floor which spans the width of the entire building.
And this is the entrance to the top floor.
This is the bottom floor loft. I’ve always loved the cobble stone steps that lead to it.
And this is the other side where the cobble stone patio and yard is. There is a rock along the creek there that I used to catch trout from and then I’d eat them for breakfast.
Across the road is this beautiful building called Ferdon Hall. It was once owned by an old bachelor from the south named Jimmy Rico and it was always a bit mysterious when I visited. He used to serve us tomato juice in the kitchen. And I think he had bats.
Across the creek from the Silkmill is a brick house that used to be very very simple. Old Agusta and Ed used to live in that house and my brother and I would walk over and visit her and she’d ask us if we wanted a “knuckle sandwich.” We thought it was just hilarious.
The creek runs below and it sounds like music.
And then, across from it, there is this building which is one of the oldest structures around. Sony and Elise Gaston used to live there and I just loved them. He would inspect my chubby ankles as a child because he was a doctor and assure my mother that I was going to have normal ankles one day.
So that is my tour of the Silkmill, the buildings surrounding it and the cast of characters that have been a big part of my life. Hope you enjoyed! I’m off to sign and return a book to the fellas that own the deli next store. They requested that I sign their copy and since they used to feed my brother and I bologna and mayonnaise sandwiches stacked very high, it’s time I say thank you.