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Ghostly Ruins: America's Forgotten Architecture: 09/10/11

cover art

For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by old buildings (abandoned or not). Now growing up in California there's not as much in the way of extremely old architecture like there is in other parts of the world, but a building that's even a few decades old can tell an interesting story.

Part of that fascination probably stems from my father's interest in antiques. When he opened his first store it was in a building called The Cracker Factory. As it was an old three story brick warehouse the building had warped stairs and an open cage-style elevator with a bare bulb hanging down where the ceiling of a typical elevator compartment would be. Painted on the ceiling of the elevator shaft was a blue sky with white fluffy clouds. The elevator both fascinated and terrified me.

While The Cracker Factory isn't in Harry Skrdla's Ghostly Ruins: America's Forgotten Architecture, another favorite place of mine is, Bodie, the silver mine ghost town near Mammoth Lakes in California. While Bodie was abandoned in waves over the first few decades of the Twentieth Century, it isn't forgotten. Now a days it has its own Facebook page and makes daily posts about moments in Bodie history.

Skrdla's book covers a few famous buildings, train stations and ghost towns from around the country. The photographs included in the book are for the most part historical, taken when the buildings were in use. The book is more a history on what was than on what has become of the sites.

I know that safety is an issue when going into abandoned structures but a better mix of old and new, before and after would have been fascinating. Also for each location I wanted more. More text, more photographs, more information. That said, I did enjoy the book but it wasn't as satisfying a read as it could have been.

Four stars

Comments (8)

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Comment #1: Sunday, September, 11, 2011 at 01:04:15

Tia @ Falling For Books

Books like this look so interesting! Sounds pretty good!

Comment #2: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 21:14:10


It was good and the photographs were fascinating. I just wih it had been about twice as long!

Comment #3: Sunday, September, 11, 2011 at 10:02:38

steph from Fangs Wands and Fairy Dust

I am also a fan of old buildings but not to live in. Old follower, thanks for visiting!

Comment #4: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 21:15:00


Old buildings have their quirks and can be difficult to maintain. Thanks for the return visit!

Comment #5: Sunday, September, 11, 2011 at 12:18:43


I love photos of old buildings. I'd pick this up just to look at the photos alone.

Comment #6: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 21:16:21


The pictures were a big part of the draw for me as well.

Comment #7: Sunday, September, 11, 2011 at 15:56:48


This looks like such a fun book! I love haunted places and things! Train stations are especially creepy!

Comment #8: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 21:17:55


Train stations and subway stations are high on my list.

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