From the last post until November 5th, Carrollton had been a relatively calm and lonely place. A perfect place to spend some time walking and thinking while taking pictures of the autumn colors. Most people find the area creepy and are scared away by the graffiti and the broken windows. I must confess, I stray less far from my car nowadays than I did a year ago, and I am never without my phone or other useful items. I find that I now try and bring others along when possible. Yet, the days when I am alone in Carrollton, I am at ease. Never off guard, but definitely not scared. Maybe it is because I know the area too well. Or, maybe the sense of security from living in such a tight-knit community never quite wore off.
I was beginning to wonder if anything left would be destroyed, or if Lambert was finished for the winter. Years ago, I once heard rumors that they wanted everything gone by 2006. When my mom was approached with a buyout in the spring of ’06, rumors of finishing by spring of 2007 were rampant. Well, they still have dozens of structures and its already almost ’08. So, given their track record, I assumed that they would just let things sit until spring of next year.
Despite not doing any demo work in the last six weeks, four houses were taken this week alone. Right now, some of the wrecking equipment remains in the area, indicating that they will be working again soon.
The oddest thing about the demos has been the randomness of it. I know that some of the houses need asbestos removal and inspections. Most of them have been marked with water, sewer, electric, and gas clearances for months. Some of the houses have been sitting in limbo for years. I wonder if for some reason they were just simply forgotten, accidentally crossed off on someone’s clipboard. Whatever the reasons for the random bulldozing, the most recent demos all had occupants within the last year.
12719 Grandin- Destroyed between 11/5-11/9
A tan house with a younger family. I could almost see their house from my mom’s, and I did worry about them when masses of people last year were leaving. They finally left sometime late last winter. This past spring, someone vandalized their home with, “I bleed when I pee.” Probably the last thing I ever expected in graffiti.
12806 Celburne- Destroyed sometime between 11/5-9
This white and green one was beautiful, a pleasant lil home. Their backyard hillside was landscaped, and I imagine at one point quite picturesque. In fact, I remembered this whole side of the subdivision being known for the fancier, more ornate houses. What struck me about this demo was how backyard landscaping across the street was left intact, yet they flattened everything on this plot. The whole hill behind the house is no longer the same shape. I believe these people moved out this past spring.
12762 Woodford Way- Destroyed 11/13
The house with the seafoam green door. This house early on caught my eye as the quintessential Carrollton abandoned house. It had it all- random missing numbers, boarded windows, dented garage. I took quite a few shots of this one last winter when I started this project, and I documented its worsening conditions though the year. It was the second one to lose the overhang due to the removal of its posts. Since it was abandoned when I started it all, I have know idea of the occupants or when they left. In fact, when I saw the crusher on top of all the rubble, I was rather startled that they took this one.
12782 Woodford Way- Destroyed 11/15/07
Brown house on the corner of WW and Brampton. These people did not leave until this past summer. Despite being the last ones on their block, they still decorated one of their trees for Easter by hanging lots of brightly colored eggs from the branches. I thought it was awesome for a family whose neighbors were disappearing would still decorate for the holidays. Perhaps they did it for the kids. Whoever they did it for, I thought it was great. If they were there now, I am sure they’d be putting up Christmas lights. I wish I took pictures of their house with the egg tree. I also regret not taking any interior shots. It had giant windows out front that, when the sunlight hit the broken glass on the carpet, it left the most beautiful light patterns on the ceiling and walls. I took shots from the outside in, but I regret not getting more angles.
Finally, the 1/2 house remaining:
12803 Primghar- Burned between 11/5-11/9
I believe this one was abandoned last winter or possibly spring. I remembered the enormity of this house, and its imposing position in the middle of a y-shaped intersection. When traveling down Primghar, just before Primghar and Bittick split, the view of this two-story house dominated all others. I also remember it having a large, staunchy light fixture dangling under the overhang. Because of its prominence in my memory and in location, it was a favorite of mine to document. It had so many quirks, from its hay-yellow color with cobalt trim (I remember as it kid being white with black trim) to its tendency to get vandalized. Broken windows and paintball splotches were nothing compared to the sight I got last weekend. As I drove up, the first thing I noticed was how clearly I could see the backyard tree through the upper level windows. Then I noticed how charred the rest of the facade appeared. I got out and took 50 or so shots. In the back, the whole house looked like a dollhouse on a BBQ grill- you could see inside each charred and blackened room with the roof completely missing. I could still smell the burned wood and I saw water still dripping from the upper levels. Since the other burned house (burned sometime in August) on Primghar remains standing, I doubt that they will do anything soon to this one. I do wonder, however, how long it will take before the facade falls over.
Last but not least, the airport has done nothing to cover up the swastikas and other hate-related vandalism. I remain very much unhappy about this. Since this is all their property now, the VERY least they could do is cover up the bigoted mess. They don’t even need to worry about the rest of the stuff. I too have not covered it up yet for lack of time, resources, and an avoidance of arrest. I do have to admit, I almost find it amusing, for the fact that these vandals were not just ignorant facists, they were also probably the stupidest graffiti sprayers to ever hold a can. Misspellings aside, most of their swastikas were backwards… one was so messed up it just looked like a broken stick figure sans head. Another giant swastika was sprayed directly onto the street. It must have taken a long while to complete. Given the color and scale of this one, I don’t think at any point they realized it was backwards. One word for them- Fail.