Throughout the ages, mankind has been fascinated with the ruins of previous societies. From the remains of the Roman Empire to the elaborately constructed follies built in the 16th and 17th centuries, the desire to gain a greater understanding of our past has driven archaeologists, artists, and scholars across the world to study the vestiges of lifestyles that have vanished in an attempt to capture their mystique and beauty. Through his collection of writing and photography on Abandonedamerica.us, Matthew Christopher has documented the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known: our own. Fragments of the vanishing industrial era lie scattered throughout the empty factories that dot the countryside. The remains of our crumbling social institutions—from schools to asylums to prisons—not only show personal glimpses into the lives of previous generations, but also serve as an indicator of our present condition and the social trends that will shape our future.