Empty Nests #14581

Matted, canvas, & super high gloss prints available. Questions?


The Story

This row of abandoned houses is part of a small ghost town in western Pennsylvania, company houses that were once home to limestone miners who worked a short walk away at the mine. The mine closed but most people stayed on renting their houses and driving to other work. Eventually, the little village was vacated.

At one time these homes were well kept and the nice little village was considered a desirable place to live with a waitlist for renters forty names long. Eventually, maintenance was put off too long, the entire town changed hands a few times, owners and tenants both cared less, and all 32 residences became more than a little worn. Over time they became downright roughshod and the last few tenants vacated in 2011, leaving all the homes as empty nests in a village full of missing persons.

All metal has been removed from the properties and junked, including all the heat registers that has left large holes in the floors, and vandals have broken over three hundred windows. Some furniture remains along with scattered debris of people’s lives, like stuffed animals and toys and dishes in the kitchen sink. A piano still sits in one living room with a few sheets of music scattered around.

The current owner would like to restore all the houses to create a tourist attraction of a village of artisans and artists, but there’s a long way to go. Most of the ghost town is enclosed by an electrified pasture fence and the only residents nowadays are a small herd of horses roaming among the houses, some friendly cats, and a few spooks.

I had special permission to enter and shoot here, but it wasn’t from the spooks. This image was created with an infrared camera on an overcast day with rain just beginning to fall. It is a black and white infrared image that makes all green foliage turn to a glowing white, which suits the rather apocalyptic nature of the place as it is today. A ghost town can be another world, but photographed in infrared is yet another surreal step beyond that one.

Location: a ghost town in rural Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

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