Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Abandoned Places

I’m absolutely consumed with abandoned sites and junkyards and anywhere else that humans were, but no longer exist. Something about what they left behind, the weather-worn pages of magazines, the rusted hinges, broken windows…is absolutely fascinating to me. Like an interesting crime scene mystery.

I decided recently to combine my love of ghost hunting and abandoned sites by making beautiful objects from finds at cemeteries and abandoned sites. They will possess the untouched memories of where they came from and have the decidedly “grandmother’s attic” feel that will spook folks out. I began collecting things at these sites and storing them outdoors so they can age even more. When I begin to sell these crafts online, they’ll be called “Abandoned.” My son is working on the logo right now. I can really get into this because certain objects to me, as someone who reads them, have a combination that when put together can give people the unconscious feelings of what the objects contain. If I want people to feel very isolated and alone, I can make an object of items that will give them that emotion when they touch it. Another object might give off the sense of darkness and doom. Some objects, however, will give a sentimental unconditionally loved sensation. I can hardly wait to send them out into the world.

There are some good guidelines for searching abandoned sites. Never under any circumstance go alone or unprotected. Most abandoned sites have squatters. It’s good to let them know you’re coming ahead of time with plenty of sound. It gives them a chance to dart away in fear you’re the owners or to come out and confront you outdoors while you have a good chance of escape. I’m not kidding. Some squatters can be quite indignant. It helps to case the place first to be certain no one’s coming and going. Abandoned sites may not have people living on them, but the property is owned by someone. I wouldn’t suggest trespassing. If there’s a “for sale” sign, contact the realtor, mention you want to walk around and look at the property. Usually in a place that’s unfit to live, they don’t mind you casing the property, there’s not much they can show you that isn’t already obvious. You must always be careful of the weak structure itself. Many are not fit at all to go inside of, but photos taken from the broken windows and open doorways are really more stunning than taken inside in the dark.

If for some reason you do find yourself being discovered on a property by an owner or the police, it’s always good to hold up your camera and mention that you saw it from the roadway and wanted a few pictures because it was so pretty. You can even flick through some of the pic's to show them your artistry. Admittedly, if you’re in your middle years, they’ll let you go easily. If you’re younger, they might worry you were up to something, whether it’s lighting candles, making out, or tagging the place, so be prepared to do some explaining about your love of photography and weather worn sites.

A little research ahead of time is good too. There’s a lot of sites online dedicated to abandoned sites. It’s the new urban favorite pastime. Sometimes, a good place to practice ghost hunting, as well.

I love taking beautiful pictures of these sites. There’s something about the crumbling post WWII Baby Boomer’s infrastructure that fascinates me to no end. I love finding rusted, worn, beaten items. What is forgotten to me is the biggest treasure, not what’s in a case in someone’s house with a light on it. It’s that moment in time sealed into an object when it’s left on the ground, picked up by the rains, stomped on by a javelina… So cool!

Here are some awesome sites that will inspire. This one if you scroll down in the blue box they have abandoned cities and structures. This one has lots of foreign cities and buildings. And, this one is kind of the hub for all the urban explorers

If you find any cool abandoned sites in AZ, please let me know. I’m always keeping a watch for new ones.


  1. I like the look and feel of abandoned places too. If I can come up with any here in AZ, I will let you know.

  2. Thanks Julie;
    My son found a fantastic abandoned ranch in Cave Creek the other day and filmed it for me and it looked amazing. The empty horse stalls were creepy. We're heading out to Gila Bend one day to do a lot of recognizance. That town has tons of abandoned businesses and old shacks. I'll be sure to write and post about it with photos when we do it.

  3. I enjoy doing the same thing. See my Post on "DreamLand Park." While "snooping around in History" and the place is abandoned, I usually take my Side Arm along with me. You never know what's there.

    Now that the weather is getting much better, I'm going to try and get out more.

  4. Me, too! I am love old abandoned homes and buildings. I wonder about who lived there, worked there, what happened there.

    What stories transpired between the walls.

    Have you ever been out to the abandoned racetrack out in...I think it's Goodyear? We passed it on I-10 on our way to Cali. It looks very spooky and interesting!

  5. Thanks for this Autumn-if I notice any I will definitely let you know!best as always!!

  6. Up around this area, there are a few abandoned places that I've been wanting to go to or have been too. Some of them that were there, are no more because of urban development.

    One such place is the old Reading Drive-In Theater. The Drive-In was a place that us kids would go to on a Friday or Saturday night to watch a good movie with a date. I'm sure that they are remembered by most people my age. The Drive-In is no longer there. It has been replaced by a Shopping Mall! There is no evidence of what used to be there. Only those who remember the past can tell. I'm sorry to see these things fade away into History.