So it’s not quite the great Evelyn Waugh novel—in fact, sociologically it’s about as far as can be—but it’s the closest I can come up with on this side of the pond that offers a proximal pun. It’s rare that I revisit an old post so shortly after the first time around, but I found
Eisenhower Valley and the Victory Center: in an otherwise prosperous area, a vacant office building finds a new lease. Or two.
If the name “ Eisenhower Valley ” in Alexandria, Virginia sounds silly to you, you’re not the only one. Why would a natural feature in one of the nation’s original thirteen colonies share a name with a man whose presidency ended in 1961? Was there a little known colonial Eisenhower family who bumped shoulders with
Mothballed marvel in Northwest DC: how does Chesapeake House stay neglected in such a wealthy part of town?
On a nondescript corner sits perched a mothballed little building, seemingly vacant for years. With plywood on all the windows and doors, it fits the standard characterization of blight. It’s hard to imagine any city with a population over 100,000 in this country that doesn’t have at least one structure sharing this forlorn appearance. Okay,
Graffiti Highway in the Keystone State: the histories of two abandoned roads are as different as their spraypainted messages.
In urban America, it’s a common occurrence for an executive body to determine that a small segment of a public right-of-way should no longer function as a transportation conduit. For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete. Perhaps it’s because it no longer leads to anything; it was a dead-end that provided access
Breezewood. It sounds like it could be the name of a stereotypical suburb to a major Midwest city (Chicago definitely comes to mind); it also sounds sufficiently generic that one might expect a dozen towns scattered across the country with the name. Negative on both counts. There’s only one Breezewood, and it’s not a suburb
Forest Fair Village (MONTAGE): a 98% defunct mall, frozen in 1991, that remains a feast for the eyes. (If they keep the lights on.)
My dead mall postings have routinely become some of my most popular articles, and I still have quite a few great spectacles that I could share someday, stored away in my photo archives. (In some cases, the aging photos chronicle a mall in its sunset years that has since closed completely.) I often avoid dead
As I prep for a much longer, photo-heavy blog article, I offer this brief filler, with a new take on some familiar material: a declining, heavily vacant strip mall in a suburban area, this time in metro DC (the Maryland side).We’ve all been here before: these days, blighted strip malls are just as common in
As I work on a longer, more photo-saturated post, I have to get a little snippet in because of some news that a reader recently sent me. The Cortana Mall (or the Mall at Cortana) in Baton Rouge recently closed. The only functional portion left is a Dillard’s Clearance Center, which, though physically connected to
Strategically located in the middle of sun-baked somewhere, the military city of Ridgecrest, California offers the accidental visitor a surprisingly populous alternative to the preceding and subsequent miles of Mojave desolation. By contrast, the deliberate visitor’s most likely destination is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a munitions and explosives testing range and research facility,
Rural hardship: a coalfield in McDowell County, West Virginia buries its pulse. It’s time to find it again.
I generally hesitate before I dive into an article that focuses primarily on blight and disinvestment, in no small part because it carries with it a tenor of exploitation. And there’s evidence to back my claim: an early article I did on the now-demolished, life-after-people hellscape of Camden, New Jersey became not just one of