I made the cover!
Other events have sort of passed this one by, but in the interest of keeping this from turning completely into a baby-blog: I’ve been meaning to share with you something I received shortly after those Lime Kiln photos were published. Marilyn Fontana is writing a book about that era (and kindly granted permission for me to reproduce part of her email here):
My grandfather was one of the group of Italians from northern Lombardy, in fact from the same two or three mountain villages, who found their way to Cheshire and Farnams. There is little information about the place during the period of 1905-1925, but weaving together the human component isn’t difficult because of the stories I remember hearing. It’s the operation, the burning of the lime that I stumble through. I know that at the time of my story, kilns were fired with wood taken locally, that men died young from inhaling the lime dust, and that more than one person was killed in the kiln - the one I know about fell from a ladder trying to dislodge a piece of wood that was jammed, when a sudden draft blew him off the ladder. By the 1920s, the owners were rebuilding kilns and building housing for the workers and their families, some of which still stand, and an intense kinship among these people developed and lasted throughout their lives.
It’s so easy when photographing a space to forget that it’s not just a stage set, or an arrangement of exposure calculations — all that beautiful rust is collecting on a real place.