Even though they warned me, I couldn’t stay away: abandoned buildings. This is an image from the Joplin Union Depot, which clearly has been abandoned for many decades. It was originally constructed in 1911, and looks beautiful–even with its contemporary veneer of graffiti and foliage gone wild.
Pictures and a five-part article detailing the history of the Depot can be found at the Historic Joplin website.
But my obsession with the abandoned began long before I moved to Joplin. As a young girl in Ackley, Iowa, I was captivated by the abandoned feed elevator in an alley right behind my apartment building. And an old abbey, across from my elementary school, used to be the canvas for some of my earliest horror stories. My entire life I’ve wanted to just walk around in there and see what got left behind. Old books could often be seen stacked up in the window wells, and the vines crawling up the broad brick exterior always held my gaze.
Maybe it’s the sense of stillness and quiet, I often take walks through cemeteries for the same reason–that, and far less foot traffic. It compels me to wonder about all that gets left behind. There must be so much more out there that people have simply forgotten about. The world moved on, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the architecture that got left behind…
Not to mention the romantic concept of discovery, happening upon something you weren’t expecting or aware of. The beauty of experiencing something after its heyday. I have a board on Pinterest called “Left for Dead”; with 99 images pinned, it is my biggest board; and abandoned places is the content I follow most often.
There is so much beauty and potential in a site that gets abandoned, and while there are plenty of reasons why a place might get abandoned, there couldn’t be a reason to simply demolish it when it becomes “unsightly.” Why not revamp, and create a new community center? Or, bust out the remainder of the broken windows and make it an open air market? Like a flea market, but better. Or, why not an open air entertainment venue? Where local musicians, artists, and performers can commune with the citizens they seek to engage.
Just imagine the possibilities…