I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled across this guy but he has very quickly become my new favorite photographer. He has the same kind of obsession with places that have been abandoned that I have. Brandon Davis has several really great photo sets from abandoned railway stations, abandoned hotels, abandoned churches, schools, factories, and amusement parks.
The last has got to be my favorite collection so far. It’s from Chippewa Lake Park in Ohio which closed down in 1978 — one century after it had been opened. If you manage to get there today, you can see that most of the rides are still more or less intact though they are covered with foliage and plants. Slender trees have begun to thread their way through the roller coasters and the Ferris wheel. A few rides have been dismantled and many of the buildings have crumbled or been lost to fire. However, if you’re patient and don’t mind the wilderness aspect of it, you can get a good look at many of the rides. Though you’d have to be crazy to try to get on any of the rides today, the park was kept in fairly good conditions up until the late 1990s and several of the rides remained useable up to that point. Nowadays, obviously, you wouldn’t want to try since the neglected grounds of this abandoned park means that no maintenance has been performed on the rides in thirty-five years. The wood railings are rotting away, slime and mold have made significant headway in laying claim to their share of this park, and the metal is pitted and rusted. Even getting on the tracks or on a part of the ride close to the ground would probably be a bad idea — worse if you haven’t had your tetanus shot updated lately.
Seeing scenes like this one always makes me a little giddy and a little unnerved. It’s clear that for a century, people visited this amusement park and had a good time. Now, in less than half that time, nature has almost completely reclaimed that land. I wonder, if by some miracle, the Ferris wheel stayed up, what some explorer walking through the forest would think if he stumbled upon it in five hundred years. We might think our marks will last forever on this planet but really, Nature can take the worst we dish out and still come back strong.
What kind of abandoned places lurk off in the forests near where you are? Have you ever photographed them? Let us know in the comments below!
— da Bird