by Ashley Murphy
Continent to continent, hotel to hotel, history site to history site. Getting paid to travel to learn, research and teach history...my idea the perfect job.
For several years now, I've had this slight obsession with history. Not so much the school textbook history. But history of the ruins of the world. I love all things abandoned and deserted. I don't particularly like that they have become that way, but I find them wildly fascinating.
I just completed a series on Netflix called The Forgotten Planet. It highlighted 12 different locations and gave plenty of pictures and commentary about the place when it was at its peak, about its decline and about the current state it was in today. I was left with more questions than answers and upon completing the final episode, I found myself looking for more.
As I said in a similar article from 2011, "I can't help but think every time I see these photographs and see the magnificence of the buildings, how someone could let them fall into such disrepair. Many were left as if everyone picked up their belongings, walked out ... and just never came back. Beds, chairs, dinnerware...all left lying around waiting for someone to come back and claim them."
At that time, I was hooked on the website opacity.us. He is constantly updating the page and I often go back to visit to see his new adventures and photographs of lonely structures across the world.
It still breaks my heart to see some of these structures that are wonderfully ornate and beautiful, obviously built with pride, left to disintegrate by the elements. Roofs caving in, floors rotting away, windows busted out, paint peeling in chunks from the walls. Anything of value being stripped away by looters, glass and ceramics being thrown about and busted by vandals. Graffiti being the new wall décor of many of these places.
All of these places, at one time, were some of the most beautiful and populated buildings/towns on this planet. They were built for a purpose. And most slowly declined as society and modernization drove people away.
Even those places where disaster struck and people were forced to leave for health and safety concerns are eerie. Like a town preserved, waiting for someone to come back and claim what was lost. To tell it that it does have purpose.
I know I sound crazy, but these places, to me, are just like any other living thing. They have a story to tell. And that story is probably more interesting than life stories told by living, breathing human beings. The lives that these places held within their walls and the stories contained in said walls. I want to know these stories. Every single one. I want to see those walls embrace people and hear their conversations again.
It still amazes me to this day that places like the Detroit Central Station, the mansions of Detroit, school buildings worldwide and ornate cathedrals could just be left for ruin. People just turned their back and walked away. Like these beautiful buildings are nothing more than trash and never meant anything to society.
They did once. And people forget that.
This month will mark the end of another era. While it isn't a building or structure of any kind, and it's not lying in ruins, it will, like all the things I mentioned above, eventually become a thing of the past. This is the last issue of The People News.
I started here simply as an Assistant, having no writing experience, no journalism experience at all. And today, I close the last issue as Managing Editor. I'm thankful I was given the opportunity to be a part of this newspaper that, for years, shook up the every day happenings in Bradley County and gave this town's citizens a new and true perspective.
Thank you to all who have read my articles and for the support this paper has received!
"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present." - Golda Meir