Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fading away

The old town I went to as a kid is a ghost town now. The old street that was once bumper to bumper on Saturdays, is rough and rarely sees a car. When someone does drive through, it's to reminisce. "There is where the Masonic Lodge once stood. There's the bank.  The old theater was between the dry goods store and Johnson's Barber Shop."

These days the west wall is covered in layers of faded graffiti, proclaiming the class of......

I've worn the soles off many pairs of shoes walking the street (singular).  Up on the hillside just above the old Dora Motor Company, and overlooking the L&N Railroad tracks was the old Dora Library. It was built from stone dug from the earth around the town during the Great Depression. President Roosevelt's plan to get out of the depression was to pay people to do useful work.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the old high school gymnasium and the archway into the football field. They also built the old library.

The facility was closed in the 60s and the building fell into disrepair. Soon the brush and brambles hid the old building from view except for those adventurous enough to tunnel through.

A few years back, I parked at the foot of the hill and made my way toward where I thought the old building stood. I had the forethought to take a machete with me and hacked a path in.

The old structure was still standing. The roof and floor had since rotted, but the stones set by the CCC were still standing proud almost a hundred years later.

I wish there was some way this historic old building could be revitalized, but I fear this is a pipe dream, to use a tired cliche.  There is so much need today, that a project like this wouldn't stand a chance to get funded.

It's just that each time I drive through the old town, it seems a little piece of my past has faded away.


  1. Very sad. What happened, some industries gone bankrupt?

  2. Eventually, everything fades and returns to dust. Your post reminds me of Shelley's famous poem Ozymandias.

  3. So sad that all that was there is now gone. Well, not completely gone..your memories have brought it back for just a bit so we could see how it used to be and imagine the hustle and bustle of a small town. When we moved here in the late 70's downtown Ashland was a vibrant and busy place too. But malls and big box stores took folks away. We've been going through a bit of a revival though. Our downtown actually has stores back here again and even a downtown committee that is doing all it can to preserve and inspire others to bring it back to life. They are closing Main Street down in a few weeks to host a "Dinner on Main" event. Farm to table food in a 5 course meal. If the price tag wasn't $50 a person I might be inspired to attend! We have free outdoor movies in a small park and many new events like car shows and "Fabulous Fridays" with music and food and things for kiddos. Hopefully we won't go the way of your childhood town.

  4. Such a poignant post. Thank you - and I feel for your loss.

  5. This is such a beautiful, sad memory but yet one of fondness. I love ghost towns and love to visit them. I love your picture and would love to see more pics of this town. Look how nature has reclaimed so much.

  6. It is so hard to go back. The town that I consider my home (because there were many others) is still thriving. But little is the same. Most of the buildings on main street are still there but many are not being used. Gone are the bowling alley that was under the post office, the post office itself is now housed in a new little building, the cafe where my mother worked for a time. As a matter of fact there is no place to get something to eat in town now unless you fix it yourself. The only things the same are the school, the newspaper, and the drugstore which still has the same name.

  7. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Progress is not always a good thing!!

  8. I always wonder why the do not just tear down the walls. I see a lot of abandoned buildings in my town. They are rotting away while they build new structure one block over.
    I have to say, this picture is beautiful despite the story behind it. It would make a great photo prop.

  9. There are a lot of towns that do seem to fade away. Just driving round parts of Northern Ohio we see that too. Our town is not quite that but still nothing like it was years ago and I like you did a lot of walking then, it was our best means of transportation. And there were actual places you could walk to. Not so anymore, You have to drive to the mall if you want to shop or see a movie or eat out.

  10. This is so true with many buildings throughout the US. A friend is currently working on the Four Arches Preservation Project in Ponca City, Ok. Someone is funding him to restore this old barn. It is really remarkable the work he has done.

  11. Beaten by the elements, sure ... still, I'm impressed with its proud foundation.
    Your experience points to my own reluctance to visit my hometown again. Everyone says, "Oh, you wouldn't recognize it."

  12. What a deep 'sweet' one. Older folk remember and some still plan. Younger folk haven't the real deep memories yet, they still only plan and dream of tomorrow. 'I believe in Yesterday'.

    WE have been privileged to see so many ghost towns. I always stand and think of the dreams and lives that once walked busy streets there. They are gone, but 'Life Goes On'.

    Funny that, I am reading a book (almost finished) entitles 'Life Goes ON' authored by a Rick WAtson. Any kin? ;-)

  13. I was raised in the city but walking the streets are foreign to what I grew up with... things don't go away but they change to something I don't recognize from the past... xox


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