Grande Failings

Lost places, like this shuttered resort, stand as unique objects of  fascination for many reasons. Oftentimes it's because these locations  have come to exist in a state contrary to their constructed roles. In  this case, we may find initial captivation in the absolute silence where  thousands once gathered with their families. Beyond that though, there  is something arguably more profound which ties all these places  together. A common thread which entwines every abandoned structure and  property – Time. Human history, all history really, crests and recedes  like the waterline along the shore. Popular culture rises and falls,  profitability rises and falls, communities rise and fall, nations rise  and fall. The waters of time endlessly rise and fall. And after the tide  has retreated these places remain in the wake, like cast-off shells  upon a beach.

You can see the full story on our site here — Grande Failings

The Selma Plantation.

Far off, at the crest of a wild-grown field, stood a faded, weathered edifice. Ivy-wrapped and ashy white it lingered like a ghost over the housing development which had come to nest in the knolls below. Even from a great distance you could recognize that the old mansion had seen much, and from out across the meadow of tall grass and briar it invites you to come closer, to listen to its tale of life and death, and life again. To know the story of the Selma Plantation.

Full story on our website here - The Selma Plantation

Beginnings of a Shed

Over the summer we decided that we needed a new shed, as the one that came with the house was from the 1970's and had rotted to little more than a pile of wood pulp. We took it down in the late summer (pushed it over), and since then I have been slowly constructing this new shed, or out building, or whatever you want to call it. Christina and I decided long ago that we did not wish to purchase a 'kit' shed from Loew's or Home Depot because, aside from lacking in character, they are extremely overpriced for the low quality materials from which they are made.

This shed was drawn up based upon ideas we had for what would make a nice shed, a porch, dormers, and a 12 foot ceiling being the main points. After some research into what Victorian-era garden sheds looked like we sketched out the concept, and I brought it to the city hall for a permit. It was immediately approved, but the prmit did not actually arrive for two weeks.

That brings me to the current state of affairs, which is somewhere between 'started' and 'completed'.

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LJ in 2018?!

Just wanted to drop a line to say that I'm still here!

For a while now I've popped in on occasion to try to make a post, but it seemed that every attempt was met with either a crash, or my entry being erased when I hit the 'publish' button. I became discourged and let Live Journal slip my mind for many months, until tonight when I remembered that it existed, and to my surprise it seems the post editor is actually working again.

I'm not sure if anyone is still here, it seems awful quiet, but maybe some of you remain. The solitude is kind of nice honestly, and reminds me of a time before social media took over the internet. Facebook is plentiful with active users and posts, but its all white noise. Nearly nothing of substance appears on my news-feed, and what is of value or interest to me is quickly and violently outweighed by the countless posts which come before and after it, complaining about politics, posting pics about food, or some other similar meaningless distraction.

I don't really have a prepared post to write, I just wanted to say hello again, and perhaps meet some of you again, or for the first time.


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I'm Still Here

Hey there LJ, I see you've vastly improved your post editor. Good job on that.

For anyone who still uses this and follows me, I have had to conduct a MASSIVE purge from my entries. Not because they were old angst-ridden rambles, but because I had shut down my Photobucket for image hosting, and being the image-heavy LJ this is, my actions caused every entry back to 2005 (or whenever I started this thing) to implode. Sorry about that. In time I will delve through the hundreds of entries now made private and see if any can be corrected and made public once again.

Anyway, I'll be posting more personal stuff here on this page, and abandoned-related entries over on the 'AbandonedPlaces' community here —

~Rusty  💀

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    Embracing Entrophy - Circle of Dust

Mount Moriah Cemetery

Hello all, it's been some time since my last post. but in that time. In that time Christina and I (for those unaware - Christina is my girlfriend/partner of ten years, with whom i run the website have released a book titled "Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital", a book in Arcadia's "Images of America" series. It came out on July 11th, and we're very proud to say that the book sold out twice on Amazon in it's first week available, and has made several best-seller lists. If you're interested seeing more about it, here's the Amazon listing - Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

We've also poured ourselves heavily into this upcoming piece, which actually is aproject that we have been fighting witrh for two years, as the weather and seasons had to be perfect, and 2015 was a complete wash for us as we were writing two books simotaniously (both the Greystone book mentioned above, and a glossy hardcover coffeetable book called "Antiquity Echoes"). Anyway, we are very excited to say that we FINALLY were ablw to get out and film this past spring. This post marks my return to traditional 35mm black and white film, as well as our first attempt at black and white video. Enjoy!

Amongst fields of cloaked tombstones, strange trees loom and thorned weeds grow.
Land once famed, now dragged below by gripping vines that flesh did sow.

Countless eyes of statues stare, and though cold stone they seem aware.
Perhaps evoking a time that there were flowers here, and quiet prayer.

Rolling hills of family plots, lost to time, flora. Forgot.
The city beyond seems know not the lessons that these lands have taught.

What see you in these lost tombs, sadness for those here consumed?
Know that all is nature's womb, and here the dead return in bloom.

Where one sees souls no more remembered, these lost things the earth does treasure.
And through their quiet, slow surrender, return to life in newborn splendor.

All is not gone, but rather found throughout these hills of briared ground.
The graves below grass aren't drowned. That is the peace which here is found.

Leaves conceal but too embrace the dead across this desolate space.
The past remains in fractured grace beyond the Mount Moriah gates.

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Withering Confinements

Hello all. It has been ages since I've been able to post something new here, so I am not even sure how many of the active members here even remember me. For those who remain from the old days - I'm back! For those of you who I have yet to meet - Hello, my name is Rusty. I hope we can all be good friends, like in an early 1980's family sitcom, but with less a less awful color palet.

Long story short - Over the passed year updates on have been few and far-between. This was the result of there being too few hours in a day for Christina and I (for those who don't know me, Christina is my partner and the person responsible for the videos which I post) . Between the fight to save the old Greystone Psychiatric Hospital, the documenting of said fight, and the writing of two books for two different publishing houses, we simply did not have the time needed to make a proper update. That said - We are firm believers of quality over quantity, and we knew that posting a new location just to have an update would not be in the spirit of Antiquity Echoes... so we waited. However, during that span of time we did manage to get out and film regularly, and have amassed an amazing collection of content from our travels, the fruits of which will be rolling out in regular updates throughout the coming year. Kicking this off is "Withering Confinements", which follows below...

Withering Confinements

A leviathan of crimson brick stands at a crossroads in an urban Pennsylvanian neighborhood. It's an eerie sight, and one that the city surrounding it seems wholly oblivious to as they go about their daily business, never paying a sideways glance. This ignored and neglected form was at one time the county prison, but has been left without purpose since the late 1970's. Though several parties have outlined plans to rehabilitate the 100 year old structure, none have come to fruition.

Long ago the jail that stood here was actually quite beautiful, though it bares little relation to the building which greets you today. The first penitentiary on this land was built in the 1850's. At only two stories in height, it was considerably smaller than today's building, but it was also much more striking, having been modeled to look the part of a castle. Though beautifully designed, the prisoner populace eventually outgrew its walls, and forced the facility to remodel with duller form-follows-function mindset. In 1907 the castle walls fell, and in its place was built an infinitely-less impressive, but far more useful prison. The new jail shared the same foundation as the old one, but aside from some structural supports few of the interior elements remained. Almost every wall, ceiling, and floor was replaced to make way for a prisoner population of over 100.

Not all of the original castle-jail was lost though. Attached to the rear of the modernized building were the remnants of the old castle, gutted, and made into a recreational center for the inmates. Sadly we were unable to document this strange sounding sight, as it was razed long ago. Today a field of wild grass grows in a square patch of land directly behind the jail where it once stood. It is in this field that our journey begins.

We documented this location over a couple visits, at two dramatically different times of the year. Our initial expedition was paid on a warm and sunny summer's afternoon, a trip which focused primarily on photography. Our second visit occurred many months later on a grey and rainy winter day, one that slowly turned to freezing rain before our time was through. Seeing the old jail in such varied weather provided much insight into how nature slowly subdues an old building such as this.

In the summer months the lawns and fields surrounding the jail do their best to cover the facade in all manner of plant-life. It is the ivy which excels here above all else. Taking advantage of the solid footing provided by the weathered brick, thick vines cover several stories along the rear of the building in large green patches. As we approached the building we began to hear a strange sound coming from within. It was repetitive, occurring every couple seconds, and sounded as if two large pieces of metal were being hit against each other. Any sounds coming from an abandoned buildings are cause for concern, and that is twice as true in a neighborhood such as this.

Our pace slowed, and we proceeded with caution. Once inside the sound was alarmingly loud, and we immediately set about finding what/who was causing it (and hoped it wasn't going to end poorly for us for doing so). Luckily our search ended quickly, and without issue. In the former kitchen a large vent remains in the wall, which once serviced a long-since removed oven. Like all such vents, this one was equipped with a one-way flap to keep wildlife and weather from coming in from outside. It just so happens that the way in which wind whips through the lower level of the old jail causes a strange pocket of air to form in the former kitchen. The pressure spikes and drops within seconds, and each time it slams the old one-way flap open and shut with considerable force. We shoved a broken mop handle in the vent and moved on.

Animal life is not uncommon here, as we walked the darkened hallways leading from the entrance, we could hear the sounds of birds and squirrels scurrying the corridors and cell blocks above our heads. The lower level of this old jail housed the offices, and on each floor above were found the prisoner's cells. Being as the lower level was the staff quarters, it was much better appointed than the simple floors above. Of particular note were the embossed tin ceilings, now rotted and hanging in a precarious fashion. In some rooms the tin had fallen completely, covering the floor and screeching loudly as you traversed it. There were still small areas where the ceilings remained entirely in place, and seeing that allowed you to imagine what the rest would have looked like back in the days of operation, or even today if it had been properly cared for.

In the winter things are far different. The jail is bitterly cold inside, and without the plant-life adorning its exterior it looks as lifeless as it feels. The lack of foliage also exposes the sizable mounds of garbage which have accumulated at the base of the building. While filming filming, a thunderstorm slowly rolled in on us, and we quickly discovered that the jail is far from resistant to the elements. Pouring rain wailed upon the flat roof of the jail, and leaks promptly became apparent in the ceiling. Before long these slow drips became steady streams, pouring their way through all five floors of the prison, eventually pooling in the basement. Stairwells became waterfalls, and floors wading pools. Curtains of water flowed downward over walls and windows, coating all in a wet undulating sheen. It was difficult to discern the outdoors from the indoors after just a few minutes.

There's no telling what lies ahead for the old penitentiary. Though it appears there is currently little interest in redeveloping the building, is also seems the city is in no great rush to be gone with it. So it sits, as it has for over thirty years now. Collectively the jail has been forgotten by the city, even as it cloaks their streets and buildings under its ever-present shadow.

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