Gloversville, Johnstown & Fonda, NY

I spent a couple hours in Gloversville, NY today. I was curious about the town after reading Richard Russo’s short memoir High and Dry, in which he describes the town and the glove industry in detail. Gloversville reminds me of many New England towns I’ve visited recently while working on my Rail Lines photography project. Towns that were built around industries which have since left, taking the jobs with them. Gloversville was the glove capital, manufacturing about ninety percent of the dress gloves in the US. Now many of those factory buildings are in ruin. I did see a few small glove making operations in industrial parks in Johnstown, but nothing near the scale of what it used to be. The smell from the tanneries still pervades the town, especially noticeable while I was pedaling along the rail trail, which is adjacent to many of the old factory sites. It’s difficult to tell if the odor is coming from the old buildings, or the Cayadutta creek which runs along the old rail line. Very likely both.