In true Wandering Pigeon style, I got lost for my birthday. What an incredible day it was.
First, one of my passions is photographing old and abandoned things. Especially buildings, and my birthday road trip didn’t disappoint. It provided some surprises along the way too.
Osage City provided my first photographic opportunity. But they weren’t selling slushes that day. 😦 The new Sonic is across town. But, I didn’t want a slush by then…
The next stop was Osawatomie. I hadn’t been there in a while, and I love driving past the grounds of the state hospital. First, let me tell you if you don’t come in on the major highway, the hospital is not easy to find. After driving around town for quite a while (no, I did not ask for directions), finally we found it…the signs are right on the highway!
The first thing you spot when driving near campus is this huge abandoned structure. The building is beautiful so we drove on campus to get some quick shots. Sure enough, we were spotted and not allowed to stay long. But we got a few pretty cool shots. Would have loved to see the inside of the building, but, of course, that wasn’t possible.
On the way back out of town to our next destination we stopped at a memorial. There are only numbers on the headstones: no names. A faceless cemetery. It’s a very somber, sad place. Each and every stone represents a person — someone who lived and someone who died. I find it a tragedy that we don’t even know their names.
The next stop on the map was Rantoul, which I honestly didn’t even know existed until this trip. Again, another charming place with a few abandoned structures to photograph. But the real gold mine of this place wasn’t in town, it was outside of town. We were driving and I looked off to the right. I had to do a double-take — there was a field and it was full of jets. Just a random pasture full of planes. We looked to the left and there was a company. The company, called Dodson International Parts, also has a salvage yard full of planes.
The next stop on the list was Neosho Falls. Neosho Falls, located in Woodson County, was founded in 1857, according to Wikipedia. According to the 2010 census, the town has 141 people. The town was once the county seat, but today is mostly abandoned. Entire streets are deserted with empty lots replacing what was once a block full of homes.
As a newspaper person, I was interested to learn this: “The first newspaper in the county was the Frontier Democrat, which was
started in October, 1869 by Isaac Boyle, who published the paper at Neosho Falls until January, 1870, when it was sold to William H. Slavens, who changed the name to the Neosho Falls Advertiser.” See entire article here.
I got some great pictures in Neosho Falls, especially of the high school, which, according to the article sourced above, closed in 1961.
So, I spent my birthday in wandering bliss! Many more wanderings to come!
I’ll end with one final house: this one actually has a “for sale” sign on it. For $2,500 you can own it! Oh and air conditioning, compliments of nature, is free! (The house to the right is not in Neosho Falls).