I’ve been given a pretty rad photo project to work on that will be happening next week with my bro Amber at Lost Sew’l Organics. Since I still have a week to prepare, I figure I would go out and scout some locations to shoot at while also combining my budding interest in urban exploration. I’ve spent the better part of the last week researching various abandoned places and cemeteries in the general area and have put down a few that are easy driving-distance for a small group of people and I set out to check two of them out yesterday morning.
I started in Oak Ridge at the historic Worthington Cemetery. Oak Ridge is a fascinating place given its WWII era history. Elza is a community in Oak Ridge where one of many entrance gates stood in the 1940s when comers and goers were checked as they entered and exited the town during the Manhattan Project. Nowadays, very little exists in that part of town that would indicate such a gate ever existed, let alone the “busiest and most public” entrance to town. However, there is a small “park” with the town’s name on the sign. While most likely use it as the head of the Melton Lake Greenway, there’s another, unpaved, path that starts at the other end of the park. This short, wooded, path guides you through a beautiful wooded area, crosses over overgrown, abandoned railroad tracks, and eventually brings you to Worthington Cemetery.
The cemetery boasts around 50 headstones, some reportedly restored, but most are extremely old. While the majority of the death dates were between 1900-1950, I definitely saw at least one with an 1860 death year and more than one were so old and worn, none of the inscription could be deciphered. There were a few headstones belonging to month-old babies, husbands and wives, and one row belonging to the Worthington family. This is likely where we’ll be shooting next week.
I have more photos, as always, over my Flickr account so dig ’em there if you’d like. Otherwise here are these:
Next, I headed to Rockwood, TN to scope out the abandoned Post Oak Springs Christian Church. Reportedly the oldest Restoration Movement Christian Church in the state of Tennessee, this church formed in 1812 and the building was originally built in 1876. According to the church’s wiki page, the congregation of the church now meets in a more modern church across the road, but the old church has fallen into a state of major disrepair. Vines and mold are growing all over the building, paint is chipping away, and the backside, likely added later, is completely destroyed as the corner has fallen in. Windows are broken, shingles are missing, gutters are falling – in a word, it was beautiful.
Across the street was a very small, very old cemetery that included a nice wooden cross. I wanted to shoot it but there was no fencing around it to indicate where the property line ended and there was an angry redneck banging around his truck not far from the headstones. He was a locksmith using the tools out of the back of his locksmith truck to open the door to said truck that he apparently locked his keys inside. He was pissed, but I guess if anybody’s going to lock their keys in their car, he’s the best guy to do it.
The big shoot is next week and I plan on spending about a week processing the images, but bet your ass I will be sharing the best of the best on here, on Flickr, and on Instagram. Follow me, would ya?