Archive | April 2012

Southern Shipyard

In a coastal South Carolina town sits an expansive abandoned Naval base and shipyard. Buildings that once operated as hospitals, administration and military housing now checker the 145 acre property which has yet to find its function in present day. Construction on the multi-use compound began in 1901 and the property was first used as a dry dock until the late 1920s when it was purchased by military contract. A power plant, military housing and the admiral’s mansion were built for Navy use. Numerous destroyers, amongst other ships, were constructed here for the U.S. Navy from 1930-1945 and at the height of the war, the base employed 25,000 people.

Over the next four decades, the base saw a steady stream of work from War World II German submarine conversions, to increased production in response to the Korean and Cold Wars, to construction of nuclear-capable subs. The base and shipyard were finally decommissioned in 1993 after the close of the Cold War.

(Naval memorandum dated August 18, 1967)

Unlike most sites I visit, this one was strangely void of any graffiti or extensive vandalism. I saw no signs of homeless activity and besides one room which had been paint-balled the only damage was from exposure to weather elements and asbestos. One exterior portion of the compound has found its future purpose and is being converted into modern-industrial style apartment lofts. The builder intends to incorporate as much of the original construction as possible in the new development.

For the full set, check out Naval Abandonment on Flickr.

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Don’t Forget Me

This beautiful old structure has taunted me in online galleries for almost two years. After numerous attempts to contact other photographers, locals, area historians and every satellite map I could get my hands on, it was good old fashioned wandering in the woods which finally brought me to this glorious old church. Construction was completed in 1890 in a rural community just outside of Gainesville, FL which has since come and gone. This church ministered to a citrus farming community which flourished until the mid-1900s. Most memories of the small town are long gone but a few skeletons like this one still stand, reminding us of the people who built, lived and communed there. The church has been abandoned since the 1950s.

The stained glass still glows magnificently and a small organ stands inside as though its congregation might show up at any moment. There is some structural damage to the front tower although this building is in better condition than most buildings of its era. About 2 years ago, a local preservation effort was started and some monies were raised to fortify the structure, mainly the roof. On my visit, the original roof was still on, although the building was surrounded by building materials which I assume (and hope) are being used to stabilize the foundation and further protect from weather elements. Fortunately, the buildings location in the middle of nowhere has saved it from a vandalized fate but has also isolated it from visitors who would appreciate such a fine historic structure. I can’t help but imagine the final sermon delivered on the altar and the last person who shut the door and locked it. Still standing all these years later, what role could a building like this play in contemporary times?

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