BrucesGateIt was a sad way to start this beautiful morning.  Like every other morning, my daughter and I walked up High St then up a neighbor’s driveway to get to the shortcut to the school bus stop.  We ran headlong into a makeshift barricade and a construction guy made clear that there would be no more cutting through the property by the neighbors.

Bruce Marcy, the former owner of the house, had welcomed everyone to use the shortcut for many years.  Bruce was an Upper Falls old-timer who grew up in the house.  His father had cut the hole in the Emerson Playground’s chain link fence many many years ago when it was first erected and ever since the whole neighborhood used it as their shortcut to the playground with Bruce’s blessing.

Bruce moved to South Carolina about a year ago.  The house has been sold and a contractor is rebuilding the house and adding a unit.  At the moment the workmen say that they have to block the path for safety reasons since its a construction site.  That’s perfectly sensible but nobody in the neighborhood is betting on the path being re-opened once construction is complete.   It may sound silly, but it does feel like the end of an era to me.  I hate to lose this neighborhood ‘back way’.

Meanwhile, the rest of the neighborhood is also buzzing with construction everywhere.  We’ve got five active construction sites going this week within a block or so of our house.   A few doors away is the old Moon & Sixpence site at the corner of Chestnut & Winter.  That project has been dragging on forever.  The half built site was idle for many months but a crew’s now back on the job there.

Just behind us, two houses at 80 High St are being gutted and rebuilt.  One of those houses is the one with my water meter in it.  That crew just began work this week.

Over the weekend a neighbor stopped by with a photo of the construction site at 45 High St.  They’re digging a new foundation in the backyard to add a unit to that house.  While the crew was digging they uncovered a big brick tunnel, maybe 4 or 5 feet across that appeared to be headed towards a neighbor’s yard.  Nobody’s quite sure what it is but there’s no shortage of theories in the neighborhood – everything from a culvert, to a hiding place for the underground railroad, to a prohibition era stash.