The town where I went to high school, where Bill lived from fifth grade through graduation, is a ghost town. Complete with tumbleweeds and building ruins.
At one time the town of Eagle Mountain, CA, was a very active community of Kaiser Steel employees, those who ran the support businesses like grocery store, café and gas station, medical and school personnel, and all their families. When the mine closed in 1985 the population moved away and the ghosts started moving in.
Metropolitan Water District has five pumping stations between the Colorado River and Riverside, CA. My father worked at the Iron Mountain station about 45 miles away and I rode the bus to Eagle Mountain for school. Still, Eagle Mountain was the closest thing I had to a "home town", and it's demise impacts me as much as those who lived there.
In some ways I think it's better that the ghosts of our time have taken it over, rather than it being turned into some place completely different by others. Selfishly, I'm okay with the deteriorating high school lockers around the senior quad and the single goal post standing watch over a flat piece of desert where Bill once set high school football records. Even in it's absence, it is OUR school, OUR town.
There are fences and locks and other layers of security surrounding the mine and its town, but occasionally one or some of "us" are granted access.
These photos are from a couple of those visits. They seem appropriate in black and white, and wrap up the B&W photo challenge for me.
|No more lawns and trees and tricycles|
|No more events at the school amphitheater|
|No more scores in the gym|
|No more field or bleachers or games|
Regardless of its current state, we will always remember our home town in full and living color.
How very strange for you and Bill to go back "home" to a ghost town. We have a town in northern PA, Centralia, similar to your town. There are underground mines burning there and they basically closed the town and made people move. We took a motorcycle trip to see it. Kind of eerie to drive around and see places abandoned or gone. But what was very strange where the three houses still there with people in them. These people refused to leave. Very freaky! Your B&W photos are great with the ghost effect:)ReplyDelete
Thanks Pam. It is so weird to walk around the campus and remember how loud it was between classes, and now you just hear the wind. There are still trophies in the gym display case, many from years that Bill played :-)Delete
How true that we think of ghost towns as something from a century or more ago when your ghost town is only 30 years old. How sad for all of the families to have to move away from their homes like that. Perhaps it's a good thing you were both on your own by then and didn't rely on the mine for your income.ReplyDelete
Very true. Bill's parents were teachers, and his mom worked part time at the mine. They were able to retire when the mine closed, but others were not so lucky. Bill and I went back separately to visit during that last ten years, but for the graduating class of 1985 it was pretty rough to know they were leaving for good.Delete
Your Ghost Town photos have heart & soul. I'd feel like you do -- let the wind take them rather than the aggressive developers, who have been heard saying -- when viewing vibrant but older properties -- "We could do better than this!" Ouch!ReplyDelete
Thanks Gayle. Good or bad, turning it into something else would still change it from ours to theirs. I like it better this way :-)Delete
That really is weird. Did you find any real ghosts? Loved your theme and loved your photos.ReplyDelete
They say there are a few ghosts at the mine itself, but we didn't find any at the school last year. Thanks Geri :-)Delete
Hmmmm, looks like my comment from earlier today got lost. Well....as I was saying. It seems strange to me to have towns still becoming ghost towns. I can't imagine just leaving your house. What a loss of equity. There must have been no place to commute to. It's hard for me to imagine. Did everyone just pack up and move? Someone should write a movie and use this with all the great abandoned things as the location. Terrific black and white pictures.ReplyDelete
It was a company town, houses were "rented" from Kaiser Steel. Still, the residents paid for carpet and landscaping, etc. Homes in Lake Tamarisk were purchased and were not cheap, being on a golf course with a small lake. Those people mostly lost their equity and just had to walk away. LT is making a comeback now with Canadians putting a lot of money into the course. They come down for the winter and enjoy their little secret spot in the desert :-) Some people tried farming jojoba for a couple years, and again lost a bunch of money when they all failed. It would make a good movie :-))Delete
That is both sand and strange. Must feel confusing to return there. Don't see many "modern" ghost towns. Would make a good movie.ReplyDelete
Confusing is a really good word. The decay is so sad while the memories are so wonderful.Delete
Jodee, this is a very poignant post and images -- and perfect in black and white. You wrote about your experience beautifully -- I like that your memories are in vivid color.ReplyDelete
:-))))) thank you Laurel.Delete