18 August 2010

Abingdon, IL- The Trailer

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Abingdon will always hold a special place in my heart. For D and I, Abingdon is our midwestern Pompeii. It's the sort of place that within the decaying dreams and desperation of the historic downtown, there's an unmistakable beauty. It's really where AbandonedHG started, on a cold winter day we found ourselves in downtown Abingdon taking pictures and documenting what has become all too common everywhere in the midwest. I have had an extremely hard time writing this post. After all my grandiose statements, I just can't figure out what to say. So I'm telling myself as I write this, come on it's just Abingdon... the place is falling down, silly.

Let's start with the view down South Main Street, which is essentially the historic downtown and our main focus. We'll look toward the north at the odd numbered side of the block. Make sure to check out the clock tower which is one of the better preserved places on the block.
looking up mainstreet
Now, check out the other side of the block (the even numbered side). Note the open windows on the former bank on the corner and the bar. The majority of the businesses open in downtown Abingdon are bars. There are at least four bars that we think were open (think...). It's a rather spirited downtown development project.
Looking up main street.
Abingdon became a town in 1857; people had started settling there about twenty years earlier. 1There are quite a few great old buildings downtown, like this corner bank, which is next to the police station. (The police station appears to be the only open thing left on that block.)
The old bank
As this picture from the historical society website shows, this bank was around when Abingdon still had dirt streets. (Unfortunately it doesn't give a date.)

This is the side view of another old bank in Abingdon. There are a lot of open windows on that top floor. From what we could tell the building is used mainly by wildlife, although it looked like there was a batting cage on the main floor.
The large old bank

It's hard to believe, but further south on Main Street is where things really start to get dicey. As you can see from the picture the buildings on the west side of S. Main are in terrible shape.
more of the overhangs.
Let's get closer. I did.
Looking down S. Main
Probably not so safe. There's absolutely no tension in the chains attached to the awnings. The only thing holding them up are those wood beams.
A safety issue.
This is the view inside the bakery next door. It's a great representation of what the inside of most of the buildings in Abingdon look like. There's a lot of damage in the back, although the ceiling is in better shape than some of the rest of the buildings.
Inside the bakery
Like this one. The roof is almost completely caved in. The warp in the front of the building is not from my camera. The building is visibly bending in itself.
the most damage
Quite a few of the buildings have signs like this, but its unlikely that any new renters will come along given the condition of the downtown.
why not?
What's really sad about Abingdon is that it seems like a lot of the downtown damage could have been countered simply by people closing their windows to keep out the elements and critters. In all seriousness, the downtown is plagued by bureaucratic obstacles, money issues, political problems, and a growing trend of people leaving the area. Abingdon is one of the prime examples of these problems that plague all of the midwest so that's why we'll start here. Besides,
Coming soon: Abingdon, A Small Town With A Big Heart.

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