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Archive for August, 2008

Thank you all for your outstanding emails and contacts!   I just opened my box and I have 30+ emails.   I will do my best to get back to everyone within the week.   Keep them coming!

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The Post-Dispatch is looking into the recent fire activity in the Carrollton neighborhood, which is certainly a step in the right direction. Perhaps with some media attention, Lambert will resume the demolition of our homes and finally put our area to rest. That has been the unintentional goal for 56 Houses Left, for I thought this project would only take a few months to finish. When I first started photographing in 2006 and when I created this blog in 2007, I thought, given the pattern of destruction, that everything would be wrapped up by early spring of 2008. Now, it is August, no demolition work has taken place since March, and we are witnessing the effects of a lawless area without the owner’s protection or concern through arson and other criminal activities so many have rumored to me about. Staged fights. Moltov Cocktails. And of course, the graffiti. This is why I don’t go into the area at night. This is why I don’t linger long there anymore. This is the disgrace that Lambert has blanketed our beloved homes with, and this is why we want something done. We can’t have our homes back. All we want is to go to bed at night knowing that the atrocities our families endured in the enddays was for some greater purpose. Unfortunately, Lambert still cannot prove that purpose exists, through the neglect I have documented.

The Post-Dispatch quoted me with 9 houses remaining and 17 have been burned. 9 houses remain relatively intact, but the 17 other parcels are in varying degrees of uninhabitable decay, 15 of which have suffered some type of fire.  Here is an updated list on the conditions of the 26 parcels as of yesterday, August 17th, 2008.

When looking at the dates, most of the dates are when I discovered the damage, not necessarily when it was inflicted. Give or take a few days prior for these dates.

12856 Bittick- Suffered severe weather damage April 10; barely structurally sound, heavy vandalism and racist graffiti.

12893 Bittick- Heavily graffitied in March 2008, burned to the ground around July 22, 2008.

4228 Manteca- Lots of vandalism, not structurally sound.

4217 Manetca- Heavily vandalized and graffitied, burned to the ground April 29, 2008.

4217 Manteca- Burned to the ground July 18.

4232 Manteca- Burned to the ground April 26.

4248 Brampton- Partial burn June 6th.

4247 Brampton- Majority burned July 22, ½ standing.

4245? Brampton- Near full burn June 1st, entire 2nd story gone

12736 Woodford Way- Burned to ground July 22, suffered major weather damage April 10

12752 Lonsdale- nearly burned to ground, less than ½ standing, March 30

4111 Weskan- burned to ground July 22

12634 Weskan- burned to ground June 14

4050 Chartley- burned to ground July 18

4219 Chartley- fire damage in back bedroom, May 2008; vandalism, not structurally sound

12637 Brumley- vandalism, appears to have charred marks on garage door

????? Hemet- heavily damaged due to vandalism.

12713 Asherton- burned halfway April 14th

12704 Marburn- heavily vandalism

12679 Grandin- major graffiti and vandalism

4323 Gladwyn- minor damage

14750 Gladwyn- minor damage (this one creeps me out the most- always had)

4197 Pont- minor damage, boarded windows

??? (green house) Pont- minor damage, boarded windows

???? Pont (corner of Pont and Gladwyn)- some damage, spotted many groundhogs using the home for shelter

4229 Pont- corner of Pont and Patty Lane(?)- boarded windows, relatively untouched

The homes on Pont and Gladwyn are the only ones remaining on the South side of 270.  I believe their close proximity to Natural Bridge Road has protected them from the heavy vandalism we have seen on the North side.

Thank you all to those who are standing behind me in my project to document the history of Carrollton.   I am still accepting photos and stories of Carrollton’s humble beginnings, if you would like to contribute to the book project.  You may contact me by clicking on the ‘contact’ link above.

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Nothing has happened in Carrollton since that fateful night where 4 houses caught fire.  7 houses in 48 hours burned suspiciously to the ground.   Since then, everything else has been relatively calm-  no vandalism, no arson, not even a thrown rock (not that there are any windows left to break).

So here is some info and other comments on the conditions of the last four houses that (probably) fell victim to arson.

12893 Bittick was a tan 1-story home on the corner of Bittick and Manteca.   Without good light and with much more photographic houses once nearby, I didn’t give this place too much attention.  Nevertheless, with time, some rather interesting things started to happen to this place which did start to spark my interest.   When I first discovered this house on Bittick, there was a white home adorned with red-orange trim next door.   Sometime in very early 2007, that home caught fire.  That was the first house that burned in Carrollton once I started photographing the area.

Back to 12893, another interesting feature is a wooden beam someone managed to shove through the front of the house at an odd angle.  The 6″x6″ beam was cleanly stuck right into the wall of the front of this home at a 45 degree angle as if it was a hot icepick stabbed through styrofoam.   One last little bit of interest from this home was the graffiti some vandals decided to scribble out on this place.  Inside, they wrote your typical middle school taunts, but on the outside wall they proclaimed large and loud in blue spray paint, “F*CK WORLD TRADE.”   I can’t help but be impressed that bored kids would take an interest in a divisive political issue.  Could it be that someone’s parent lost a job to a company that went overseas?  Could it be they want to boycott Chinese goods?  Whatever their position is on NAFTA (I am not taking this into a political discussion) and whether or not I agree with their message, we should get these kids off the street and into a spirited political science class NOW for here are some take-action kids with potential leadership qualities, albeit immature for now.

This house was burned completely to its foundation, leaving but a basement full of black ashes.

4247 Brampton was a white 1-story house with lots of brickwork and large green bushes in the front. The remains of a round, above-ground pool in the backyard stuck out of the ground like a strange white mini-Stonehenge.  This house was not much to speak of outside, especially being next door to a commanding two-story.  This little house was quaint, quiet, and almost completely camouflaged from the overgrowth of the bushes.   Inside, the place was relatively well kept.

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