Wednesday, May 1, 2013

RETURN TO BATTLE CREEK

I grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan and returned there on the last weekend of April to join my classmates in celebration of our 50th high school reunion.  I had a great time.  Naturally, I brought my camera.  I am the first to admit that photographing people is not one of my strengths, and I left that to others at this event.  Thankfully, while I confined my photography to inanimate objects, others took up the task of documenting the event, and we have some great shots of us celebrating our time together.

OK, so the first photos on this post aren't actually from Battle Creek.  Many states create special welcome centers on their interstate highways as a way of promoting tourism within the state, and Indiana is no exception (even though I once read that Indiana is 49th among the states in tourism).  The exterior of the welcome center on I-94 just east of the Illinois border was designed to feature Indiana's agricultural roots.


(The restrooms were in the silo.)

The building's interior was actually more interesting by virtual of the reflective panels in its ceiling.  I took a few shots that featured just the reflecting panels, as abstracts, but I thought including a portion of what was being reflected helped to provide a context.



Just a little confusing, maybe?

Now on to Battle Creek.  The school I attended is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church and here is a shot of the SDA church in Battle Creek, which has special importance in the history of that denomination, since Battle Creek was the headquarters of the church until the first part of the 20th century.


Growing up I hadn't really focused on the building's unusual architectural style.  Although it does include a few stained glass windows on the sides, the church includes no steeple and no cross (by intent, I believe). This church was completed in 1926, as a replacement for the prior church building, which was destroyed by fire in 1922.  The interior is also architecturally uninspiring, though it does feature an impressive mural depicting the story of Christ and the Rich Young Ruler.  Here is a sign that explains a bit of the history of the building.


Following the church I visited the Battle Creek Federal Center, taking photos on its main portico.  This building originally housed the Battle Creek Sanitarium, created by John Harvey Kellogg as a glorified health spa.  The Sanitarium collapsed financially in the 1930s during the Great Depression and just maybe because Dr. Kellogg's eccentric ideas were being overtaken by more scientific approaches to health care.  Here are a couple of shots of the building's attractive front portico.



Unfortunately, some of the portico's outside columns were under repair and I needed to elevate the shots I took to exclude that repair work.  I did, though, like this second shot which I cropped off-center.  I thought it also made an interesting black & white.


In the midst of this, a security guard came out and asked if I had received permission to take photos.  The guard was nice, but, in short, he booted me off the premises.  The facility is, after all, a component of Homeland Security.  Fortunately, the guard didn't ask me to destroy the shots I had already taken.

I also paid a visit to the scene of my "crimes," Battle Creek Academy.


The building, unfortunately, is looking a bit tired.  Note the missing letter above the front entrance.

I also visited the Adventist Historic Village, a three-block area in a not so nice neighborhood not far from the Academy that includes a number of homes and other buildings important to the early history of the SDA church.  The buildings had either been restored or in some cases had been deconstructed in another location and moved to Battle Creek and reconstructed.  One building was a simple church where Ellen White had preached that had been moved from another location in Michigan.  Here are a couple of shots of the interior that show off the wonderful light that was streaming through the building's windows and illuminating the light-colored interior.



And here are a couple of the other houses that were part of the overall site.



I would caution anyone who is considering a tour of this "village" that you will be encouraged to sit through a mercifully brief but cheesy video on the history of the relationship between Ellen White and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.

Wandering around downtown, I came across a couple other buildings of interest, including a delightful Methodist Church.


Now here is a church that has some interesting architectural detail.

And the central post office, an oblique shot that I converted to black & white to emphasize the lines.


And here is a shot of glass clad building that was reflecting one of Battle Creek's "skyscrapers."


Finally, I came across Kellogg's corporate offices, which are also in the downtown area.


This shot doesn't really offer much, although the grounds were very nicely landscaped.  However, I did notice that the building's exterior on the right included an interesting cascade of surface corners.  So I decided to take a few shots that featured those as an abstract pattern.


And here is a close-up.


There is something not quite symmetrical in these architectural features, but that lack of symmetry creates a tension that I like.

1 comment:

  1. John, once again you have taken some great shots! What a great pictorial tour of a bit of Battle Creek. I especially like the Silo and reflective panels in Indiana though.

    Regarding our old alma mater, since we all entered the school by way of the back parking lot, I did not see the missing letter out front. I am, however, very surprised that the school name on the front of the building has not been updated, or at least repaired!

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