All Things Go, All Things Know

After the hospital, with my camera completely useless, we didn't even try to explore anything else in Memphis, and just wandered back toward Beale street for some blues halls. Which was much easier said than done, in a typical city in the American South: not particularly designed for pedestrians, or even supportive of those who chose not to drive around for whatever reason. At first we thought it would be a pleasant walk along the river, but all we found there was steep slopes, thick brush, and the scattered flour of hashers, which of course Ben wouldn't follow even when…

Continue Reading All Things Go, All Things Know

Holy Holy Holy

After the terminal, we continued on to a nearby, reliably open church. Sacred Heart served the Catholic community for most of the century, before ending its useful life as an evangelical church, a pattern that seems to happen often in decaying cities. Despite being almost completely emptied out, or perhaps because of it, the cavernous sanctuary hasn't lost its mystique ...Even though someone took out all the pews, and left all the seat cushions We tried to go on into the convent, but on a hot summer day, the reeking jugs of bum piss and holy, holy, holy shit (seriously…

Continue Reading Holy Holy Holy

God Is Not Dead, Nor Doth He Sleep

...but then, what exactly was this place? God's Rest Home, I must say, seemed like an absolutely dismal place to live out one's last years, in a rotting brick building in the midst of a decaying city battered by the bleak Midwestern climate. After that place, our fifteenth successful explore of the day, we finally lost our daylight and got up to a roof for a few last shots of the city ...and eventually returned to our parking space from which we could wander around to all of this, right next to the church where it all began I decided…

Continue Reading God Is Not Dead, Nor Doth He Sleep

It’s A Cold And It’s A Broken Hallelujah

After lunch and a few more failed attempts at hospitals and schools, our wanderings brought us to another unassuming church, the "Miracle Faith Word Center". Judging just from the name, it seemed to be of the charismatic, if not Pentecostal, type: the kind of church that began with one minister and his flock and with the right combination of generous donations, fire, brimstone and praise the Lord Hallelujah AMEN! could have joined the ranks of televised megachurches. This one, though, followed the opposite trajectory, disappearing altogether and leaving its building behind not for a sparkling new tabernacle, but for first…

Continue Reading It’s A Cold And It’s A Broken Hallelujah

Politics and Religion

...seem to be the biggest business left in this town, other than the rotting, but still partially operational, US steel mill fouling up the lakeshore. That being said, it hasn't exactly been the best territory for the Republicans, who seem to have closed up shop and left sometime in the 90s, leaving behind an incongruously cluttered headquarters between the post office and the state office building. Half campaign office and half hoarder den, the place avoided having its windows smashed in long enough to develop an oppressive odor of mildew wafting off the soaking, rotting contents. The main candidate, eternally…

Continue Reading Politics and Religion

Apocalypse: Here

Union Station, though, was only a quick stop while we were there. Our real destination in Gary, like most explorers who find themselves here, was City Methodist Church. Located on 6th St, just a block from the (former) downtown, this enormous church was open from 1925 to 1975, before suffering from declining enrollment and a fire that put an end to any plans for restoration and re-use. Unlike most iconic abandoned sites, entry is trivially easy, and after walking through the open door, you're immediately in the lobby, between the sanctuary and auditorium. We began with the sanctuary, far larger…

Continue Reading Apocalypse: Here