Ghostly Ruins

Ghostly Ruins

America's Forgotten Architecture

eBook - 2006
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We've all seen them but might have been too scared to enter: the house on the hill with its boarded-up windows; the darkened factory on the outskirts of town; the old amusement park with its rickety skeleton of a rollercoaster. These are the ruins of America, filled with the echoes of the voices and footfalls of our grandparents, or their parents, or our own youth. Where once these structures were teeming with lifecommuters, workers, vacationersnow they are disused and dilapidated.

Ghostly Ruins shows the life and death of thirty such structures, from transportation depots, factories, and jails to amusement parks, mansions, hotels, and entire towns. Author Harry Skrdla gives a guided tour of these marvelous structures at their peak of popularity juxtaposed with their current state of haunted decrepitude. Like a seasoned teller of ghost stories, Skrdla's words and images reveal what lies beyond the gates and beneath the floorboards. There are the infamous Eastern State Penitentiaryand Bethlehem Steel factory in Pennsylvania, the Packard Motors Plant and Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, and Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion from the 1964/65 World's Fair. There is the entire town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, where a trash fire set inside an old mine in 1962 morphed into an underground inferno that incinerated the town from underneath; more than forty years later, the subterranean fire still rages. The town is empty now, just as the many other abandoned places in this chronicle. Ghostly Ruins is a record of the souls of yesteryear and a chronicle of America's haunted past.

Publisher: New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 1568986157
Branch Call Number: ELECTRONIC BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (224 p.) : ill.
Additional Contributors: ebrary, Inc


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Aug 17, 2011

Haunting pictures. What a waste of land and materials. Sad. Makes one want to protect our own country.

Aug 04, 2011

very sad ghostly stories and photos

Jan 31, 2011

This books includes beautiful black and white photography and detailed descriptions and histories of abandoned buildings and structures in America, but I found it a little lacking. I wanted more photography. I wanted more than just a cursory look at a few elements of the building. I wanted to feel like I was there, exploring along with him.

Oct 26, 2010

Despite Skrdla's coy, sometimes irritating invitations to the reader to explore various haunted houses and eerie mansions, this book provides a fascinating, often tragic history of doomed architecture. Often, Skrdla has provided before and after photographs, so that we can see the sites he describes in all their former glory. The photos of abandoned factories, empty schools, and deserted ghost towns are as beautiful as they are sad.

Presumably, Skrdla chose to print his photographs in black and white for consistency's sake (since the photos of the original buildings tended to be B & W), but also for atmospheric reasons. Occasionally, this is frustrating to the viewer/reader, as key details are difficult to make out in the general gloom.


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