11 September 2007

Oberlin Road beneath the blue suburban skies

Last week I wrote about what appeared to be the ruins of a house in a wooded area near where I work. The topo map showed at least 3 roads that were once present there. One nameless road, identifiable from short segments of a concrete surface at a couple places, coincides with the narrow path that crosses the area (see the satellite photo in the previous post).

Map from TopoZone.

A few days later, I went back to search for Oberlin Road shown on the map. It turned out that the south half of that road had been obliterated by the overgrowth of miscellaneous plants. So I wondered around for a while under the trees not knowing exactly where I was. Along the way, I discovered 2 or 3 more ruins of foundations of buildings similar to the one identified in the previous post.

Eventually, I ended up in a wide overgrown path surrounded by trees along both sides. I suspected I was on the right track and kept on pushing thru the densely intermingled plants. Then suddenly, a concrete surface appeared in front me: Oberlin Road.

oberlin road

A reader, in her comments to the previous post, identified the ruins as those of the buildings that once housed the workers of the nearby and now-closed Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) plant. The area is now known as the Cafritz property and not too surprisingly, is slated for development. As if what we needed was more houses in a neighborhood already full of houses, the recovering trees will be cut down, the other plants will be cleared and houses will be built in their places. Despite the upscale image they are attempting to create for the planned development at the web site, I very much doubt that it is going to look like that; they are surrounded by noisy railroad and Metro tracks on one side and some commercial buildings and a non-existent town center on the other.

It would make more sense to me if the area was instead joined to the existing small park to the north. What we need more is green space.


Neil said...

As my friend, and fellow yeoman, once sang "Oberlin, it's a great place to loose anything...except for your mind." Indeed it should stay wild and free, a suburban tract would be so 'un-Oberlin.'

Brenda said...

I was one of those who was encouraging an extension of the hiker/biker path that traverses the old trolley right-of-way along Rhode Island Avenue. Such a path would be a great asset to those who wanted a safe route to the University of MD or shops in College Park.

If you decide to collect snails, let us know. My son and I would be willing to help. I'll bet there are a lot of box turtles there, too. :-(


Brenda: I can always use help to look for snails (most of the time & effort spent while "collecting" snails is actually spent searching for snails). Unfortunately, however, that area doesn’t appear to be too rich in snails. The only place where I found snails was at one of the old buildings. Send me an e-mail: gastropodATearthlink.net (please put "snail" in subject line).