Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day....

I think Memorial Day might just be one of my favourite days of the year.  I love the parades, communities coming together, and the overwhelming feeling of gratitude for those who have given so much for our freedom.

The pictures below are a departure from the abandoned series I've been working on lately.  I love photographing life in my town.

The first year we went to this parade, I was surprised that a parade could bring tears to my eyes. Every year since, has been the same. I can not watch this parade without getting teary eyed.  

I've decided to let the photos tell the story of the parade.

A moment of silence at the graves of the American and British soldiers who died fighting in the Revolution War.

I needed one last walk up Main Street last night to soak up the last bits of Memorial Day. The setting sun, the giant flag, the perfect blue sky....no words can truly sum it up.

To those reading this, if you served in our military, have a family member who served, thank you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Photographing creepy...

A year and a half ago, a friend told me about an amazing coffee house. Her directions to it included the statement "drive up past that abandoned psychiatric hospital."  Abandoned psychiatric hospital???? I knew there were a few in the area, but I didn't know about this one.  I was curious. We decided to check out the coffee house, and on the way back, see the abandoned institution. I didn't know anything really about it.  As we drove down the road, there was no missing it, or the abandoned factory across the street (which we saw first).

The factory had the most amazing windows (I know....windows....they always seem to be my favorite part!).

We drove across the street to check out the hospital. Again, I knew nothing about it at this point, and was just captivated by the buildings. They were eerie, and creepy; but I was yet to understand just how creepy they were.

On the drive home, I started reading the history on my phone (how did we exist before smart phones?!?!)  The hospital was built after WWI.  It started with only a handful of patients, but grew into an entire community housing up to 5,000 patients and 5,000 staff members. They grew their own crops, had their own church, a baseball field, bowling alley, ice cream shop. The property was made up of about 80 buildings. It was like finding a ghost town.

The buildings were beautiful and it is easy to get caught up in the town aspect of it, but of course, one wonders what went on in the hospital buildings. The more I read, I discovered this hospital was the first to use insulin shock therapy.  Doctors came from all over to learn about the therapy. Then, they started using electroshock therapy and in the 60's began doing frontal lobe labotomies. 

In the 70s, when practices changed in the mental health field, the number of patients declined. The facility closed in the early 90s.  The buildings are still standing, no demoltion or even graffiti, and it feels like a ghost town.

I started imaging the patients enduring these horrific treatments. I had nightmares that night (I can't even imagine the nightmares I would have had if I had entered any of the buildings).

I've driven past here again since, and the road we traveled on through the property is closed.  I've heard the property is well guarded and visiting is prohibited. Thankfully, I'm not planning to go back.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Once there was a factory and a guard's tower....

We were hiking up through the woods when we stumbled upon this....

I was captivated immediately, but before I jump into this find, I will start at the beginning...

A few months ago, we decided to visit one of those places "I always meant to visit." We were thrilled to discover nice hiking trails, and remains of buildings long since forgotten. There wasn't much left, a fireplace and chimney, foundation of a house, but they were still beautiful.

We decided to go back because I knew there were more ruins, supposedly those of a factory.  I knew the factory opened around 1881 and closed in the 1920's. I wasn't sure how much was left, or what we would find, but I was definitely curious to find out what was there.

We immediately found the remains of an old incinerator.

 As we wandered we found more and more. Lots of bricks, an old beer can.

I thought we had found most of it, but the trail curved around and we found there was so much more to see.

I was content we saw the remains of the factory, and we decided to just explore and enjoy.  We were climbing up a hill when, through the overgrown plants, I saw this.  We wonder if it was some sort of guard's tower?  It sat high up on a hill overlooking the river.