Tag Archives: abandoned

Abandoned Warehouse

warehouseenter1blurwebFrom the highway, I’ve admired and desired  ( so I’m a little strange) this abandoned warehouse with the bright red doors for a number of years. Sometimes it’s hard to know why one day you are compelled to act. But, the other day , a good friend and I , circled and drove around until we found our way. Surrounded by trucking companies and a smattering of  traffic, it appeared safe for a daytime exterior shoot. Indoors is another chapter and it’s going to take more guts and a group for me to attempt it. The structure has retained most of its integrity – light fixtures, high ceilings, and its heavy red doors remain nearly whole. As I wandered the property, I could imagine so many uses that it makes me sad to think it stands empty.

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Writing on the Wall Part 2

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Unsigned works by itinerant artists claim their space, while time and nature paint on their changes to create a new vision.

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Cotton Gin Geometry

 

cottongin-webNext to an antique shop on a rural highway stood this cotton gin. Its lines and angles interested me more than any sort of geometry lesson. Rusting in the late afternoon sun, its beauty of purpose and structure spoke of its power.When I had the opportunity to return several weeks ago, I could only mourn its loss. Now it’s an empty lot weed choked lot.


Unsuspected Stories

Silver metal oxidizing and colorful is a texture that draws me near. Collecting textures from abandoned or decaying buildings, a hobby  like stamps or birdwatching ,enables me to recycle and create. Adding memory by introducing items owned by past tenants introduces story and personality. Making the acquaintance of the buildings’ owners happens rarely although sometimes I’ve been lucky. Today’s image just allows you to imagine their lives and create a history for them.


Found Memories

Driving along a country road in Kentucky, we came upon this house overtaken by shrubs and vines. Pulling off the road to explore further, it looked like it had slept for the past fifty years. Quietly approaching, I found myself moving slowly as if not to disturb the silence. It had seen better days when its paint was fresh and the screen door would slam countless times a day as children tore in and out again. Now it stood empty of voices. The porch swing remained and still squeaked in the breeze. At first I thought it was in protest to my trespass, but I realized it sounded a welcome .Requiring that I notice it still hung stalwart and strong, the guardian of many happier times.My witness would keep those memories safe a bit longer.


Elvis’s Favorite Roller Coaster Memphis’s Zippin Pippin

Memphis ‘ s Zippin Pippin, an early wooden roller coaster , one of the oldest in North America,is now satisfying roller coaster aficionados in GreenBay, Wisconsin.The roller coaster is 2,865 feet long, travels 20.8 mph to 40 mph, with a maximum drop of 70 feet .It dates back to 1912, 1915 or 1917, depending on your source but it was the mainstay of LibertyLand in Memphis.

Elvis would rent out the park and spend hours riding the coaster.Children and adults screamed with terror and delight as they rode the Pippin.

As a non-native Memphian, I only rode it once. There is a terrifying quality to wooden coasters,they appear more fragile, they shake  and  basically scare me. I’ve made it a point to ride the ones I’ve visited at least once so they don’t get the better of me. Before they dismantled The Zippin Pippin and shipped the pieces to GreenBay, it was closed and sat at LibertyLand for four years.

Caged like an animal it waited within chain link fencing and barbed wire and was tempting to explore.

Several years ago, while wandering along the fence line, we found entry. Climbing up part of the structure , the view was amazing. It looked like sculpture! The cars sat in a row as if ready for their next riders.Elvis’s car was the first one in line.

The cars remained with the coaster until an auction at which the buyers wanted Elvis’s car but ended up buying the whole roller coaster for $2500. The  sale included provisions that the coaster be removed. An organization in North Carolina bought it and when they didn’t move it, the coaster was later sold to Green Bay.

The rest of LibertyLand has also disappeared , the land subdivided into plans for community centers and private development. The Grand Carousel, created by Dentzel who is noted for carving incredible horses and figures, has been dismantled and remains in storage somewhere in Memphis.It will be interesting to see if this piece of our city’s history is returned to use or ends up in a different city attracting tourists.We need to look more carefully at preserving our city’s uniqueness.


Lakeland International Raceway : The Remains

A stretch of cracked asphalt, crumbling graffiti covered walls , and silence are what remain of the raceway that once hosted drag-racing ‘s legends.Several years ago, after reading an article in the Sunday newspaper ( yes, we still had newspapers back then) , afraid that it would disappear before I got a chance to shoot, my friend and I searched and found  Lakeland International Raceway that very afternoon.

Hidden behind an outlet mall which has since morphed into a church, we traveled a road that snaked out of the parking lot and found it in the woods. Deserted .

The strip itself is a quarter mile and dates to 1960 when it was owned by  Raymond Goodman. It had its moment of silverscreen fame in Two Lane Blacktop (early 1970’s). During its heyday , records were made and broken by Daddy Don Garlits, Shirley Cha Cha Mudowney,and other Hall of Fame dragsters.I am not into racing, but even I know those names .To think that forty years ago they ran on this track in the middle of nowhere amazes me.

Standing on weed -ridden asphalt , surrounded by trees and silence ,except for the birds and us of course, it’s hard to imagine the crowds that came on Sundays  to listen to the tires squealing and inhale the gas fumes.

The remains of advertising on the walls kept my camera busy for a long time. Random bricks and cinderblocks were all that was left of concessions and other structures.

But the strip remains . If you stand silently , you can hear the engines roar ,the cheers of the crowd, the squawk of the announcers ‘ calls , all ghosts of the Lakeland International Raceway waiting for the sound of the bulldozer.


WordPress Photo Challenge: Unfocused, Lost in the Crowd

An abandoned fishing shack waits silently in a Florida coastal town. Will it become a high-rise resort?


Visiting the Abandoned Tugboat Graveyard Isn’t Easy

A warm September Sunday morning found us searching for the tugboat graveyard that I’d read about on several abandoned building sites. In New Jersey for a short weekend visit, my husband obligingly helped me search the outer part of Staten Island for the graveyard at Arthur Kill. We found Witte Marine, the salvage company that bought the boats back in the sixties, but that Sunday there was no way to gain admittance .The property is presently known as  Don John Iron and Scrap Metal .

Farther down the road, we spied a boat skeleton out in the distance.Finding a spot to park, we crossed the road to find a worn and weed covered stone staircase.At the top of  the five steps stood a small family cemetery that dated back to the 1700’s, and beyond that- a sea of reeds.

The sun’s heat intensified the stench , and using the reeds as a solid surface enabled us to cross the slimy goop that was mudlike in texture but suggested something more sinister and chemical.It sucked at your shoes and I have to believe anything that succumbed is still buried beneath.  Part way to the water, you could see the carcasses of several tugs.My husband found a stopping point and waited loyally while being devoured by insects.

I ventured forward, taking big high steps to flatten reeds while sliding and juggling two cameras. The remains of the tugs were identifiable but without waders and a crowbar, I wasn’t able to get much closer.

Changing strategies , I veered to the left towards a wooden hulk . As I looked for planks to aid my mud-crossing, two other adventurers appeared and we headed there together. They were more limber and scurried up the side of the boat. I worried that my husband would need a transfusion due to mosquito bites and might not come after me if I fell through the deck.

Eerie and beautiful in the same moment,although difficult to capture the atmosphere , these photos document our visit. I am not sure how many more ships can be seen by kayaking in the Arthur Kill or by gaining entrance into the salvage yard.The numbers I have read indicate at least several hundred recorded.The challenge of the graveyard partially met, I am anxious to return in cooler weather with more appropriate gear.

From preliminary research, I learned that one of the tugs still visible was the Abram S. Hewitt, a fireboat built in 1903. It had played a role in the rescue attempts as the command center at the burning of the General Slocum in 1904. On June 15,1904, over 1,000 women and children perished in the fire on their way to a day’s picnic outing on Long Island. It was the largest loss of lives in New York until September 11.

Also found in the graveyard is the New Bedford which served as a troop transport during the Battle of Normandy. The other ships have their stories also. Buried in the mud lies the history of New York  and beyond.

It turns out that the boats cannot be moved or salvaged because populations of sea life took up residence in the remains and now they are a protected environment by law.

The tiny graveyard sits between the polluted waters and a busy road.It is the resting place of early settlers of Staten Island and is known as The Blazing Star Cemetery. The community was named Blazing Star for a ferry service that ran from the pier at the Witte Salvage Yard across the bay to New Jersey in the early 1800’s. The surviving headstones , beautifully carved and delicate, date from before the Revolutionary War, but that’s for another story.

Relevant sites:

oboylephoto.com/boatyard/index2.htm ( incredible black and white photos of the area from 2004)

forgotten-ny.com/2010/01/ship-graveyard-rossville-staten-island/

atlasobscura.com/place/tugboat-graveyard

everydaylive.com/tugboatgraveyard

http://www.undercity.org/photos/ship_graveyard1/index.htm

http://www.the freelibrary.com – wrecks of NY Harbor


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