My home town is full of large and small abandoned spaces, and since I was little it’s always been such a joy for me to explore them! When I was in high school my grandma, mom, and I started to make frequent trips out into the Ohio countryside to visit our ancestral homestead– the place where my great grandmother’s grandparents owned a home and farm. These trips inspired my photography, and made me think about the energy that people leave behind. Whether we pass away, voluntarily move, or are forced from our homelands, the aftermath of a departure can speak volumes about our humanity. Today, I am exploring that idea through a recent adventure to an abandoned church in Austin. Zion Rest Baptist Church is located on a narrow, winding road in South Austin. On the property sit two small constructions. On an oppressively hot day, I had the chance to peek into the larger of the two thanks to broken glass and a missing door. To get there, I had to walk with high knees through a sharp blanket of dry grass as dragonflies and crickets led the way. Peering on the inside through broken shards, I wondered if this was a storage space. The remnants of past events, old signage, and a heavily used pulpit brought another idea to mind: what if this was the original church? Though space is limited, there’s room enough for a preacher, a piano, and a small congregation. Objects and spaces hold a history beyond explanation. They work in tandem with our memories, and allow us to connect deeper into the physical expression of being human. Any time I see a place that once held a purpose, I become instantly curious about who was there, what evidence they left behind, and why they fled in the first place. I get goosebumps just thinking about the thousands, if not millions, of untold stories contained in other abandoned spaces around the world. This is not the last time I will visit this topic, and in fact, I’m already thinking of more abandoned spaces to visit here in Austin, and in the Midwest. Care to read more about my love for places left behind, journey over to this post.
I’d also love to hear about your favorite abandoned spaces that you’ve visited, or want to visit!