My community opened a new hospital a while back. 

I live a few blocks from the old one. I chose this house for its proximity. For years I would crawl out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to go see a critical patient. I listened in the night for the helicopters and ambulance sirens, waiting for my pager to go off when I was on call. I remember the gentle sloping of the back hallway on the second floor, all of the nooks and crannies, smells, sounds. 

They are all ghosts now, as the building stands silent and empty.

I have a photography fetish. I love looking at photos of derelict, rotting buildings, imagining all of the lives that have passed through them, and I wish I were brave enough to trespass and take my own pictures. I imagine what this place will look like in a few years….

Birth. Death. Sickness and health. Love. Hate.

This building.

My son was born here. My mother got her new knees here. Who remembers these things but me? The walls do.

Those memories fade along with the building and it makes me sad. Or am I mistaking sadness for something else?

Nostalgia perhaps? 

A few decades from now there will be mold on the walls and ivy in the halls, and the place will crumble away just like me, becoming someone else’s fetish.


55 thoughts on “Derelict 

  1. I love old churches, but new builds fascinate me. Years back, I used to wander the outskirts of building sites looking at houses going up, wondering where the stairs would go. When my first house was being built (1977), I thought our garages were to be at the bottom of our garden, but this was in fact plots for 4 two bedroomed properties of a different design to ours, They had a smaller lounge but larger kitchen. Our garages were down the road and behind some properties already built which had integral garages.

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  2. I too am obsessed with old buildings, in particular Victorian houses. We almost bought one in Aniston Alabama when my son was in college there. I have to laugh because one of the main reasons we didn’t was because it was very near the hospital with the side road going directly to the ER. It was a fabulous house but in major disrepair. I still have pictures of it and some regrets.

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  3. But the question is: If you were brave/crazy enough to sneak into the old hospital and take pictures, would it make you feel sad to see it so empty and run down? Or would it just give you the creeps? Like you’d be expecting to see a ghost whoosh past just out of the corner of your eye?

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  4. I feel the same way about old and abandoned buildings, particularly houses. Living in the country, in a farming community, there are numerous abandoned farm houses around us. Some nothing more than a brick shell. Families were raised there, people born and died there, and, at one time, was a family’s pride and joy. Now just left to rot. It’s sad. But when exploring or photographing, you can still hear the echoes of families and kids and life around it.

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  5. I am with you today. I really like the photos of abandoned places. Sometimes it’s a remarkable property that got abandoned, and that makes me sad. Other times it’s about the ghosts that still hang on. These can be according you your beliefs, like knee replacements, or an actual belief in ghosts. I follow several sites that post the pictures on Facebook.

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  6. Here in LA, we have very few old buildings. The philosophy here is to just tear them down and put up something new. Houses that are considered landmarks are less than 100 years old. I miss old buildings and churches..we do have some old churches.

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  7. Buildings left to decay are sad and depressing to me. I consider it a shame that they were neglected to that point.
    But I do know what you mean about imagining all of the lives that have passed through them. I feel the weight of all the ghosts and forgotten stories in these abandoned places.

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  8. Oh, to have time to read your stories all day. Your style invokes feelings that must be exactly what you feel – and yet you do it in so few, perfectly chosen words. One could say that’s because I’m passionate about old, abandoned buildings too, but all your stories affect me that way. Great post, Victo!

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  9. I love taking pics and searching through old relects and remains. Have since I was a kid. I have been in some pretty cool places like the Sagamore Hotel in Lake George before it was rehabed. It was like they had a party, and walked out. There were old streamers and decorations from a party, plates on the tables and other things. Now, I could not pay to get in there. But the creepiest place I ever went was an old asylum that was now being used as a ghost tour place. I was there one day just to check it out before I signed up. The vibes from the “farm” as they called it, was awful. I got as far as the entryway hall and turned around and we drove off. This is a magazine I get and this is an article about the Asylum

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  10. Ecclesiastes 12:5b-7–“…and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” KJV

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  11. Memories… I still remember the stores nearby the place we lived briefly in Paris when I was a child. Even though there destination has changed. Or that old house in front of mine that is now a building. There is a memory of places.

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