Sunday, July 3, 2011

A House Is Not A Home...

... and an abandoned greenhouse *really* isn't a home.

At least not for humans.

I'd never thought much about this before but the point was really driven home (so to speak) when the first leg of my recent vacation travels took me past one of the largest collections of glass houses I've ever seen - all of which were so overgrown with feral vegetation that it was hard to tell what they were at first.

The photos that I snapped as I whizzed by can't begin to do them justice, but for what it's worth, here they are:

The abandoned billboard was of course the perfect complement to the post-apocalyptic scene.

Heh! Gotta love the irony of the sign. Ohio may not be the most exciting state in the union, but our tourist activities really are almost all better than what one might find in a weed-choked ruin.

I'm not sure why a greenhouse may have had such a towering smokestack but it sure seems to have been an essential part of the complex and to have been about as well-tended in recent years. Maybe it took a lot of coal to keep all those houses heated during the long, cold Ohio winters? Maybe it was part of a crematorium for dead geraniums?

As this shot more or less makes clear, even the non-glass support buildings seem to have been left unattended for an extended period of time.

So, how do things like this come about? Exactly how does something this elaborate that a lot of people obviously must have had a hand in planning and building and maintaining over a period of years come to be abandoned rather than sold off or converted or scrapped? Are there complex legal entanglements involved? Personal eccentricities? Spite? Are there environmental hazards that make salvaging the usable parts and bulldozing the rest too problematic to undertake? Is it yet one more sign of the general decay of our economy and/or of a permanent American decline? Have our local government agencies really become so bankrupt and impotent that they can't even enforce basic safety regulations anymore? (How many teens find such a place irresistible to explore or hang out in? How many criminals looking to ditch a weapon or a body ever find a better spot to use as their dumping ground?)

This certainly wasn't what I expected to find as I started off on my first vacation in almost two decades but I guess such things would be pretty boring if we only saw what we expected to.

Now that my vacation is over, I can say that the minute or so that this scene took to unexpectedly pop up in front of me and then quickly recede from sight has turned out to be one of the most memorable.

Maybe that says more about me than about my vacation or the world at large, though.

I just hope that if *I* ever end up looking as alone and in need of attention as this place did, some fool doesn't come along to snap a few photos for the amusement of his friends on the Internet.


  1. Did you go to the mountains or the prairie? Or the ocean, white with foam?
    I'd sort of like to see Monticello but I wouldn't want to drive there and I wouldn't want to fly there and Mr. Scott hasn't beamed back into my house with the recipe for transparent aluminum and teleportation so it looks like I'll have to wait for a convincing holographic simulation.

  2. This reminds me of the last scene in Logan's Run. What I also find fascinating is that the overgrowth seems to increase its hold over the greenhouses as the pictures progress, so by the end, any remnants of the glass houses are almost obliterated from view... (I'm fascinated by the smoke stack, too!) The challenging aspect about doing something with all this is that it requires money to buy it, or use it, or even tear it down... and apparently money isn't exactly abundent in Ohio or most places, nowadays...(at least in the hands of the commonfolk.)

    PS - my fave pic is the third. :-)

    Wow... I had to come back to comment that the captcha said DEATHS. Hmmmm... I don't like that.