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Archive for July 23rd, 2008

4050 Chartley has been the poster-child of what Carrollton has become, and since it too has been burned to the ground, has too suffered the arson fate that has claimed so many in recent days.

This iconic, lonely house stood at a rather prominent location on the corner lot of Chartley and Bondurant.   When I first photographed this place, the only indication that this otherwise cleanly kept home was abandoned was the few boarded up windows.  From the cottage-like shutters to the manicured bushes, this neat little house could have easily had its boards removed and a family move comfortably back in two years ago.  In fact, it had to have been abandoned longer than just two years, but with the loss of all other residents around, this home too became victim of intense vandalism in 2007, a fire which destroyed one corner of the home in the early spring of 2008, and the final, smoldering burn discovered on July 19, 2008.

Although once a fairly nice little place inside, it was the location of this house and the loss of all the other homes around it that attracted me to photograph it so much.   I do believe that this house was the first one I ‘seriously’ decided to photograph, exiting my car and looking for compositions for the first time.   It was in photographing this lonesome dwelling that I decided to take on this project for my thesis.

I was utterly enraged when I saw swastikas sprayed on the outside of 4050, and I proclaimed that I would not photograph such filth.  I still photographed the house and any other graffiti on it, but I tried to avoid angles in which one of the swastikas was painted correct (which was rare in the area for we must not be dealing with the brightest of vandals).  I didn’t post the photos as often, but I did continue to document the decline of this place.

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The most iconic, photogenic, and yes-my favorite home in Carrollton have burned to almost nothing the evening of Friday, July 18th.

When you document a static place consistently for almost two years, you find small niches where you return to again and again.  4245 Manteca was a house where I felt comfortable within, which is completely unexplainable for such a pathetic, haunting place.  Every time I return to the Carrollton wasteland, this house never seemed to lose that feeling that it was someone’s beloved home.  Despite the boarded up windows, glass patio door reduced to shards and welcoming in the elements, trashed out interior from wayward transients, and layers of boring graffiti, it still managed to carry on its former family’s presence.   I have no idea when this place was abandoned; it was vacant long before I started this project.  Considering it had boarded up windows and the airport stopped the practice of boarding up anything since 2003, this place had to have been abandoned for 4 years or more.   I would venture to guess it had been vacant for even more years than that.  

This house had some unusual characteristics such as customized interior archways and bold, bright colors. There was a terriffic skylight in the kitchen that cast a warm glow over all the glass and debris that vandals left in their wake.  An umber-toned brick mantle was the focus of a living room that was slowly being claimed by English ivy.  The yard was filled with the evidence of its former family.  There was a kid’s playset out back, nice quaint landscaping with pretty flowers in selected garden spots, a doghouse, birdhouses, etc.  The overall look of the interior was rather outdated.  A brown built-in stove matching dark woodwork in the kitchen and a dated color scheme suggested that remodeling was put off until they knew what would happen from the airport expansion.  Remodling in Carrollton was simply not done after the buyouts began since people knew they would not get their money out of it.  Keep in mind that rumors of the buyout were circulating in the late 1980s and the process actually began in the early 1990s.  Therefore, it makes some sense that this house may have not updated since the 80s.  I have come across more than a few houses that had some pretty old features, and 4245 certainly was no exception.

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