The decommissioning of Route 66 has had a negative impact on many parts along its path, in some cases, a devastating impact.
Mel Shaker and I set out to photographically document abandoned structures along the old route. The structures were abandoned sometime around the route's decommissioning in 1985.
While we thought we would see a fair number of such structures, nothing could have prepared us for the sheer quantity of them, nor for the devastating degrees of disrepair we would find. Likewise, we never imagined the open access we would have to these abandoned buildings.
We set 3 guiding principles for our visits throughout this journey. We walked onto the property only if a no trespassing sign was not posted. We walked into the buildings only if the doors were not locked. And, we would not move any object away from where we found it.
Factories, gas stations, auto repair facilities, restaurants and diners, stores, schools, homes, farms and even churches -- the decommissioning spared no type.
Every evening, after a day's shoot, we started our dinners by staring at each other in amazement. What happened to the lives of those impacted by the bypassing of the new Interstates? It was as if time stood still. Accounting records still stored in filing cabinets, records dating back decades. Desks, tables, chairs, calendars, cash registers and so much more, all still inside.
And tires. With very few exceptions, each structure had old tires in it. Odd.
Join us in this adventure of over 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles along the route known by many as The Mother Road – in our adventure of Route 66 Abandoned.
For additional photos of the journey, go to www.Route66Abandoned.com.
Edward J Mance & Melissa Shaker
January 2, 2009
Palo Alto, California, USA