Archives » October 29th, 2004

October 29, 2004

Modern Ruins

One thing the Reno/Tahoe/Carson area lacks is some good ruins. In fact, aside from a few ghost towns, the whole western US has a shocking dearth of ruins. But around here in particular, when a building has outlived itself, it’s actually torn down instead of being left to rot. Even if it’s an historic building, like the Mapes in Reno or the old V&T Roundhouse here in Carson, they’ll tear it down and leave an empty lot rather than leave it abandoned. The best chance for finding ruins around here is up in Virginia City where there are a few abandoned houses. But even up there everything’s made of wood and it falls down before too long.

That’s why every so often I find myself getting sucked into sites devoted to East Coast ruins. I never mean for it to happen, I’ll just be following a harmless link, and before I know it I’m clicking from one site to the next, having completely lost track of whatever I was doing before. The fascination started years ago with the site, although when I look at it now I don’t think it’s been updated since I found it years ago. Then I found out about the Buffalo Central Terminal, and I couldn’t believe such a great building could just be left to rot like that. And then I discovered Forgotten NY. It’s about the New York City less travelled, the parts of the city that have been left behind while everything else grew up around them. A lot of it is old signs on buildings, and old street lamps that haven’t been replaced. But today I was cruising around and I found the Rossville Boatyard. This apparently is where New York discards boats when they’re finished with them. Dozens and dozens of rotting holds, some of them nothing more than a few ribs sticking out of the sand. From that page I was led to other sites with pictures of the Boatyard, like Andrew here who explains how he was out taking pictures and got stuck in the mud with the tide coming in, and counts himself lucky to have escaped. And that page led to Andrew’s whole Exploring NYC site, where you could get lost for days. Another link went to Shaun O’Boyle’s Boatyard pages, and that led me to his Modern Ruins page with tons of photo galleries. And that in turn led me to Bannerman’s Castle on the Hudson River, and from there to the Hudson Valley Ruins site. If I don’t stop following these links I’m going to be in serious trouble. This is too much of a time-waster, and I’ve seen whole afternoons disappear chasing links like this.

So why can’t we have any magnificent ruins like these out West? I started up a page of abandoned buildings in Carson City, but most of them have been torn down or renovated already. Where’s the fun in that? And the only abandoned buildings left in Virginia City are rickety little shacks. What we need is a good spooky castle that nobody’s lived in for years. But I guess spooky castles aren’t welcome here.