Somewhere on a back road in Mississippi, time worn wood and mottled brick give this building a patina of age.No longer speaking of use and purpose, it stands in dignified silence . Simply forgotten. Neglect sneaks up so quietly that it’s easily overlooked. Relationships may be taken for granted, friends and children are put off, gardens and homes, time for personal growth- all these fall prey to the demands of careers or needs of others.Vibrant dreams and plans grow threadbare and emptied if neglect grows unchecked.Taking a moment to really see things in their current state is the first step to protecting and reaffirming what’s important to us. There’s more to say, but I need to go call my mom…
Tag Archives: abandoned buildings
Entering Holly Springs, Mississippi on Route 7, you can’t help but notice a cluster of buildings that has struggled to survive. The remains of a mechanical college that dates back to the early 1900’s invite further inspection. A mixture of Victorian with Mansard roofs and ironwork to a newer auditorium building, the glimpses through vine covered windows tempt passersby. Having visited this campus for several years,one building is now a pile of rubble. Where books peeked out from a basement storage area, and glass shone in most windows, the buildings now stand forlorn while flocks of turkey vultures roost in the eaves and chimneys, The first time I disturbed them I was quite unnerved when more than twenty huge scrawny necked birds came swooping from the rooftop and began circling. Having no desire to reenact a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds, I tiptoed back out of sight.If you look closely at the chimney in the photo, several remain to stake their claim.There had to be something more useful to do with this property than let it slowly collapse onto itself. Unfortunately, it may be too late to try. The building in the bottom photo was damaged in a storm and is the rubble you see in the second photo. Somehow we have to learn not to be so shortsighted.
In a small town east of Memphis, time is standing still. Most of the businesses have closed. A calendar hanging in the window of a taxidermy shop hasn’t changed dates in twenty-five years. Around the corner a sign reads Hardware but a look in the windows is a look into the past.No tools. In one of its past incarnations it was a pool room.
Popular video games from the eighties and old beer signs keep company in the dust and sad bricks. You can hear friends playing pool and sharing a beer. Ms. PacMan ‘s theme provides background music and the laughter is loud and erupts often.
There is one question in the silence , but no one seems to have the answers. How are we going to fix this?
After viewing photos of the remains of Rodney, Mississippi on line , I had to go see for myself. Directions on several blogs made it sound so easy to find and just a couple of hours from Memphis. Of course,my friend and I decided a road trip was in order. After stopping at numerous gas stations, hanging out windows to accost passersby and driving down gravel roads,and a nick in the windshield later, we found it.It is near Alcorn State University.Of course we’re not sure we could ever locate it again. It may be like the town in Finian’s Rainbow that only appears every twenty years.
The town of Rodney formed back in 1814 when Mississippi was a territory. A river town, it just missed becoming the capital of the territory when the mighty Mississippi moved. In the 1850’s it was home to more than 1,000 residents, the chief port of two steamboats,several newspapers, two banks , and an opera house. By 1860, Rodney was home for 4,000 residents.Then the river changed course.It went from 300 yards away to three miles.I had no idea a river could just up and change position in a short time.
The sun was blazing and the streets deserted when we arrived. Collapsed buildings and those in slightly better shape lined the street. Our first stop , the brick Presbyterian church which dates to the early 1830’s, looked almost untouched. The cannonball imbedded in the facade above a window gave evidence of its age , but its stories were in the cemetery that lay at the top of the hill behind it. Damaged by time and vandals, the old metal fencing looked like rusted lace. The stones of prominent families sagged along with those whose names have faded.
Back down on the main street , the remains of the opera house and perhaps a town hall are mounds of debris. There is a general store , Alston Grocery, another building on the opposite corner which might have been a stable, and another church.There is a clapboard Baptist church.
As we wandered and shooting photos, we met a man who used to come to Rodney with his dad back in the forties. He tried to remember and explain what it had been like at that time. Further on, there was a couple who had family members buried at the cemetery.Families from surrounding areas had buried their loved ones in Rodney because it was higher ground, literally. It seemed to be a day for reminiscences so we listened and felt more connected .
The photos presented are infrared with an intentional blur. . They seem to fit the mood of the day , a dreamy otherworld feeling.You could almost hear the footsteps, carriage wheels , and voices as a thriving community busied itself in daily life.
There are a few residents and hunting camps nearby, so ghost town isn’t fitting in terms of population yet it perfectly captures the mood.
Spring Break! Time for a short road trip! We’ll be heading east towards Nashville on winding back roads, looking for abandoned buildings, drive-ins, antique shops and drugstore soda fountains.The search for the perfect chocolate shake continues.Diets don’t exist .
Road trips can reveal the magic of serendipity, finding unexpected surprise around any bend. During the last trip we tried so hard to locate this abandoned haunted church, and never found a glimpse.But on the way home, around a corner stood this beautiful church and former livery stable. The light was right for infrared and these were the result.
I can’t wait to see what this trip brings!