Sunday, December 30, 2012

Riverside Docks

I regret that I cannot deliver gladder tidings with today's post, but, then again, I have always associated this season more with coldness, withering and death. Today we look at what once was: a pair of freight transshipment terminals operated by Estes Express Lines and Saia Motor Freight Line, respectively. These now erstwhile freight yards where located near the Boise River and Ann Morrison Park on the opposite side of Capitol Blvd. from Boise State University. Undoubtedly, this was an ideal location to move freight and dispatch trucks in the mid 1950s. Since that time, however, freeway construction and institutional creep have changed the character of this neighborhood, compelling Estes and Saia to relocate to more appropriate facilities near the Boise Airport. Sometime during the past nine months, these no-longer-relevant structures were leveled to the ground, likely to make room for student-oriented housing or low-rise commercial office buildings. Certainly, times change and this dense riverfront neighborhood is perhaps better off without the congestion associated with freight liner traffic. What is tragic, however, is how brusquely and unceremoniously we wipe loading docks off the face of the planet without so much as an acknowledgement of their years of dutiful service. May the memory of these and other docks be preserved in at least some modest way in the following video:


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Southeast Docks

Note: It's been over a month without a new post, and for that I apologize. But this lack of content hasn't been out of negligence. Sure, I could have just thrown up an image of any old dock and tacked on some uninspired, glib caption, but that wouldn't have been sincere, now would it? I care deeply about loading docks, and I'm not about to casually turn them into some gimmick. If a post takes a month or even a year, I wait until the spirit moves me, until my imagination is captured, until my eyes are wide and my mouth agape in awe. But enough about me. This blog is about the docks. 

The industrial park just off South Federal Way near Interstate-84 and the Simplot Sports Complex is a melting pot. A diversity of loading dock breeds coexist here in harmony, reminding us that in even the most utilitarian contexts, uniformity need not stifle personality. Glimpse:

Although this one's completely detached from its parent warehouse, no dock is an island!

Another detached dock, but this one opts for the high road.

A row of standard loading doors in the distance, complete with dock seals. There is always room for the classic.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bench Docks

Who can say they are bored when so many undiscovered sensory stimuli are out there just waiting to be found? There is always something to unearth, even in those places we consider most familiar. I experienced this earlier today, while walking along Emerald Street near the old railroad spur. An all-together peculiar loading dock revealed itself to me, and although hitherto unknown in my limited envelope of consciousness, I'm sure it's had and will continue to enjoy a long and storied life. Behold:

Note the unconventional truck-height-bumper/at-grade hydraulic-lift/recessed-bay-door combo. A dock is a dock is a dock!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

West Docks

Loading docks are all around us, whether or not we directly encounter them in our workaday lives. Take for instance any retail node of notable scale, such as the one at the southeast corner of Cole Road and Fairview Avenue in West Boise. Patrons of either the Albertsons grocery store or Burlington Coat Factory may only utilize the front entrances, but the less-frequented dorsal sides of the complex comprise a universe all their own:

Albertsons' lone dock, south side of building. Note the graceful decline to the below-grade dock.

Burlington Coat Factory's twin docks, east side of building. Note the north dock encumbered by a garbage dumpster. Why keep this lamp under a basket?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Downtown Docks

The Loading Area's inaugural post is a melancholy one, as it presents a loading dock that exists no longer in linear time but in the hearts and minds of those who loved it. I'm speaking of the venerable old Compton Transfer & Storage building that stood on Ninth Street south of Front from around 1948 until this past spring. Luckily, I managed to snap a few shots of the warehouse's wide, elegant docking area before the structure was razed to make room for the forthcoming JUMP project. Though not as ostentatious as its successor, the Compton Warehouse was a mainstay of the urban fabric in Downtown Boise's periphery for over six decades. It will be sorely missed, but change is inevitable and even the most robust loading dock's corporeal existence is ephemeral in the grand scheme.