Puzzle: What's that strange red building in the distance?

... continuing the "Where are we" series

from Don Norris

Where are we? And what direction are we pointing our camera? Our shooting spot is a common place in Melrose (hint), but what is that reddish-multi-storied building in the distance?

You'll never guess. But this street points directly west, toward Wyoming crossing. Get the idea? The far ridge (200 feet-plus above sea level) is the other half of two strips of high land that run north and south, between which the village of Melrose was settled, long about the mid-1600s. At the time, Indians (natives from what is now China and Russia) roamed these hills and vales, fishing in Ell Pond and hunting larger animals in the surrounding forests.

A little vague history: some twenty-thousand years ago, Earth's fourth major ice age (emanating from the globe's poles) was finally receding. Ice, as much as two miles thick above Melrose, was melting, and the seas of the world began growing larger. It is estimated that the coast of what is now New England was some two hundred miles to the east-southeast at the peak of the last ice-age.

If our polar ice caps continue to melt, we current occupants of this globe will find -- in the next hundred years -- that the sea will rise, jeopardizing most of the cities now located on the shores. Cities like Boston, New York, Charleston, Jacksonville and Miami, Tokyo, Rome and Rio may be under water.  

Downtown Melrose and its two ridges, however, are relatively safe; the floor of our valley averages 50 feet above sea level now, slightly higher on the Wakefield side, lower the closer one gets to Malden and the Boston basin.

The answer to today's puzzle: We are at the intersection of Laurel and Larrabee Streets, right by the southwest corner of Melrose Common. The red-brick building in the distance is the apartment complex at the corner of Wyoming and Pleasant Streets, adjacent to the Wyoming station of the Boston and Maine Railroad.

January 4, 2013

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