Archive for January, 2008

Not since January 2nd has a home been erased. Demolition machinery remain frozen in the same spot, week after week. No new graffiti of significance, no burns, nothing. The only change in the past three weeks has been a roof finally giving out on Woodford Way. All three houses remaining on this street now have their overhanging facades kissing dirt.

I went out of town for my three-day weekend to visit some friends. Flying out of Lambert, the plane went right over Carrollton. From above I took mental notes on each of my decaying little subjects below. On the plane, I kept thinking about my latest photographic expeditions in Carrollton. The area continuously beckons me to come look for anything yet undiscovered, like some modern anthropologist. It politely begs for me to find and document every trace of its not-too-distant past when humans called it home. Carrollton inspires me, saddens me, enlightens me, excites me, and enrages me all at the same time. It makes me nostalgic, yet forces me to realize that there will be a future and it will be very different from its past. This is Carrollton’s evolutionary process; I’m just caught in the grief-to-acceptance phase the former residents are still in.

My plane flew out and came back in on the old runway. Not surprising to me, but it was kind of a letdown. Yes, as contradicting as it sounds, I was somehow hoping to fly in on the new runway. Physically occupying a tiny part of the new structure for a small window of time maybe would have been proof that there was a need for W-1W. Sure, I have seen many planes land on it. Some I have seen come in while I am documenting the area. Considering that I now live in the flight path a good distance away from Bridgeton, I glance up and gage their direction, thus knowing which runway the planes are headed towards. Over 90% of what I see fly the old path in the sky.

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#39 was 12705 Grandin, destroyed on December 28th, 2007. The last house of 2007.

This house was vacated long before many of the remaining. It must have been abandoned over 2 years ago, if not more. The house sat without much action throughout much of 2006. Despite the lack of occupancy, it still was a beautiful little house that someone took pride in. In the spring of 2007, shutters were removed, then it was vandalized with stripes of blue spray paint. From there, the whole place started to go downhill. Windows were broken, the roof deteriorated, even the lamppost was destroyed long before the actual home was. When I drove up on December the 28th, the crane sat atop the last bits of rubble that remained, tearing up the driveway to the home.

#38, the first house to go in 2008 was taken on January 2nd. This house, 12724 Woodford Way, was the last house in the area that had the same exact floor plan as my old home. It was odd to walk into that house and see the position of the rooms, exact as mine, but in worse condition than mine was allowed. Windows broken, graffiti strewn, dank and moldy, just walking through the mess made me appreciate how quickly mine was taken.

This green little house sat on the corner of Woodford Way and Celburne. It also sat vacant for a long period of time, but like the Grandin house above, wasn’t vandalized until much later in 2007. Also in common with the Grandin home, I got to the demolition just at the very end with the machinery parked in position to finish removing the driveway for the next day.

Despite the hundreds of shots I took of this place over the past year and a half, my favorite picture of this house happens to be the one where the bulldozer is parked outside the windows of the living room, with the light sneaking in behind it. This living room interior was where my bedroom was converted, and this was the exact shot I had wished to get from my old house just before its destruction. Since this is practically the same house, it feels exactly as it should.

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