Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Water Feature

This big vacant lot is smack-dab in the middle of "old" Willits, and is right next to the Deco house on the Hiram Willits property seen yesterday. To the south is the Van Hotel. To the west is St Francis in the Redwoods church, at the intersection of Main and Commercial Streets. I've been in Willits since 2001, and this is how it has always looked - puddles in the winter, dry potholes in the summer. It would be great to keep it open with a vast food and medicine producing garden, with all the Highway 101 traffic lumbering by, but maybe the owner has other plans. Right now, it serves as a sort of downtown art installation, with random amoeba shapes dispersed all across it. A sea of holes.

The deeper history is that the Willits Hotel used to stand here. It had over a hundred rooms, and included all sorts of traveler's amenities, but was torn down more than fifty years ago. I would have thought anything else built here since then would still be standing, but I don't have more information about it. It catches rain. Hurray for rain!


Hilda said...

It would be nice if they planted even just grass in empty lots. At least they completely tore down the building — imagine if it was just left rotting there!

I do like how you caught some trees in the largest puddle.

Anonymous said...

What lives undergound;
covered by water year round?

Brookville Ohio

Jane Hards Photography said...

As much as I love the reflections you've caught I totally agree with your about planting somekind of herb garden, especailly in the ecnomic climate and preferably organic.

Halcyon said...

The puddles look really neat. I bet you are happy to have them!

Ron Bloomquist said...

Ah! Walking, gawking and....


Anonymous said...

Do most people living in Willits have property or do you have apartments where a community garden would be welcomed?

Chuck Pefley said...

Very clever idea for a community art installation. Looks like you had some external contributions for this project. I hope you have continual (moderate, of course) rainfall for many days to come.

Petrea Burchard said...

Unlike Hilda, I rather enjoy rotted old buildings. Ruins fascinate me. But a garden or public art would be just as good.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, the last business that occupied that property was a gas station, and it was torn down in the ... I want to say mid-to-late '80s. There was another gas station across the street too, where the church is now.

Kris McCracken said...

Now I am intrigued. If your came to Willits in 2001, where were you before that?

Kym said...

A city ordinance declaring that lots with buildings torn down that are not going to be immediately replaced must be planted with some sort of garden. Wow, I like that idea!

USelaine said...

Hilda - I agree. Apparently the old hotel had inspection problems long ago, so they probably were required to take it down for safety. Thanks.

Abe - I'll have to follow your link!

Babooshka - It would definitely be organic in this region. Thanks for taking a peek.

Halcyon - That's exactly right - we need all the rain we can get!

Ron - "Pond"-ering? Yes, sir!

PA - We have both renters and owners, and several community gardens. But we could always use more.

Chuck - Keeping our fingers crossed!

P - I like rust and weathering, but my guess is it was a wooden firetrap. I would have liked to have seen it though.

Eric - Ah-hah! Thank you for the gas station info! That might explain why the lot is still undeveloped now. I hear the environmental remediation for old underground fuel tanks can be costly. I'm surprised it's so completely gone in such a short time frame.

Kris - I've been a lot of places, but most years were in Sacramento.

Thanks everybody!