There is something special about an Easter Sunday drive. Also when that drive follows a wonderful Sunday morning Worship with the amazing people at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. From there I began what would be the long drive home with the first stop being Elkmont in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The area saw it’s first residents come around the 1840s, while these early settlers sought gold the rich lumber soon brought more and more people. Initially settling around Jake’s Creek these early logging communities were usually no more than shanty towns often having the company offices, a hotelRead More →

Oddly enough one of my other hobbies has managed to avoid this project, that of exploring abandoned buildings. Week 49 I was down in Cincinnati for the fourth annual Very Cincinnati Christmas event. The opening location was the former First German Reformed Church. Built in 1850 in the mainly German-American west-end of the city the church thrived until changes swept across the nation in the 1960s and the congregation sold their beautiful limestone and brick building and a new church worshiped there, the Freeman Avenue United Church lasted from 1970 to 1975 before closing the doors as well. The building, like many abandoned for decadesRead More →

You may recognize this building from the 2006 film Transformers, this is Detroit’s massive Michigan Central Station. Designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical style with the interior lobby modelled after a Roman Bathhouse, complete with Doric columns. The station was completed in 1912, but the whole area wasn’t fully completed (including Roosevelt Park, from where I took this photo) until 1920. Costing $15,000,000 in 1912 to complete the station was never fully used. That’s right, the 18-story tower that rises above the actual station was never completed the top several floors not even furnished. But despite this the station hosted more than 4,000 passengers daily throughRead More →

Woodward Presbyterian Church, or rather St. Curvy, has a story like many churches that once thrived in the American mid-west. Founded in 1908 with a membership of 163, it was tasked to serve the north part of the city. With the Reverend Sherman L. Divine at the helm, the church began to seek money and land to build their church. The land the church still sits on today was donated by Mrs. Tracy McGregor. The firm of Sidney Rose Badgley & William Nicklas was hired to design the church. Construction began late in 1908, and by the time the cornerstone was laid on the 1stRead More →

The return of a familiar location for Week 30, City Methodist Church in Gary, IN. I mentioned this spot in a previous blog entry from the first time I visited this beautiful building and icon of the decline of the city of Gary. I happened to be in the area again, so I made a point to visit her again with some Tri-X and a 4×5. I also made sure to visit a few other familiar spots and one new one in Gary before the 90F+ weather earned a quick return to the air conditioned hotel room.Read More →

City Methodist, a grand old church brought low by the slow march of time. Built in 1925 to the tune of one million dollars, most of that being fund-raised by Reverend William Seaman, and US Steel footing some of the bill as well. Constructed in the English Gothic style the sanctuary alone stands nine stories tall and could house 950 people. But the church was more than just the sanctuary. The whole complex had a school, theater for both traditional plays and films. Also had space for store fronts. At its peek there were 3,000 members on the church roll. But when the steel industryRead More →

Negotiations to bring a higher-education campus to the small town of Germantown began in 1885, initially to be a satellite campus of the Cincinnati Wesleyan College, however that did not end up being the case, and the town council found themselves in the office of Orvon Graff Brown, who at the time was the president of the Ohio Conservatory of Music and the School of Oratory. Brown agreed to build a branch of his own College in Germantown. But by 1886 Brown was set on establishing a whole new college in the town and by 1888 the Twin Valley College was established by charter, andRead More →

My car wound its way along the dusty road deep in Ontario’s cottage country; I knew where I was going, but it was based on probably outdated satellite imagery and information from someone whom I didn’t trust. But as I was in the area I decided to take a chance. The gates to the old Seven Mile Island property were wide open inviting me to come in, not a sign of life as I drove along the narrow track road along the shores of the lake. Oddly enough it began to remind me of the old children’s novel “Gone Away Lake” which was a favouriteRead More →

So what do tractors and a never completed nuclear power station have in common? Well nothing really…except in the case of a small station somewhere in the volunteer state, better known as Tennessee. The power station was one of many that were planned by the TVA through the 1970s to bring clean, efficiant power to the southern United States. Of course as a student of history there were several accidents in the 1980s that really turned the world view on nuclear power in a negitive light. Chernobyl in the former USSR and the Three Mile Island incident in the United States. Then there was theRead More →

Between the Darkness and the Light – Lister Block 2006 to 2012 Hamilton’s Lister Block has always held a rather special place in the hearts of local explorers and those who have walked her halls. Built in 1924 to replace the old Lister Chambers building which burned the same year. Joseph Lister, the owner, and namesake ordered a new building be constructed and that it be made fireproof. Taking advantage of being on a very busy corner of Hamilton’s downtown, the new Lister Block featured an L-shaped arcade on the first floor, allowing for maximum space to be used, even the store fronts on theRead More →