We all know somewhere from when we were children that is now an absolute dumping ground. It’s amazing how quickly something can go from one of the best places in town, full of people, to a wasteland and totally empty. Photographer Pablo Maurer specializes in going back to the best places and seeing how they’ve changed.
Pablo Maurer started his series named ‘Abandoned States’ last year and it was published on @DCist. He collected old postcards of destinations and then photographed the sites in their current abandoned state. He created gifs of the photographs overlaying the two so that the change is truly amplified.
Always fascinated by abandoned and dilapidated sites, Maurer started his collection at the Penn Hills Resort in Pennsylvania. He explored the rest of the resort and found other locations too which led to him creating the entire collection.
This is Grossinger’s outdoor pool which is Olympic sized and cost roughly $400,000 to develop. In today’s money that would be around $5 million. The original development included private cabanas, changing room and lounges. Nowadays the pool is completely dilapidated and abandoned. Nature has completely taken over and all that remains is a small amount of water in the deep end.
This photo is taken at the Poconos. Maurer has been touring around the Poconos and the Catskills taking these photos and other vacation towns that were in their prime back in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the towns saw a lot of investment but then went bankrupt.
Back in 1967, this was one of the best sites to holiday in America. This postcard was marked ‘Dear Jonnie: If you were only here, I would take you out for a horse-back ride – or else we could go golfing. Be good until I see you Dr Waterman.’ A lot of what Maurer loves about these postcards is the sentiment attached to them. Not only are the sites themselves changed completely but they have memories attached to them too for a lot of people.
“Birchwood is the only resort offering three swimming pool facilities, indoor pool, outdoor pool and lake with beach. Pictured here is beautiful Eagle Lake, at the foot of the Village Green. Here couples enjoy the white-sand beach, chaise lounges, bicycle and row boats, and fish off its shores … Six low-cost all-expense package plans include indoor swimming, airplane rides, movies, bowling, horseback riding, all winter sports and 40 other free activities!” More recently, the hangar at the resort’s airstrip served a different purpose: cop killer Eric Frein made the place his home during a weeks-long manhunt and was eventually apprehended just a stone’s throw from Eagle Lake.” These cottages were once prime holidaying locations and now they are completely abandoned.
Maurer says that he has a connection with all of the sites that he has been to. He said: “The images inspire emotion that’s really difficult to put your finger on. It’s a little melancholy,”
Of the picture above he says: “After a fire destroyed the main building at this resort in the Poconos, a replacement went up in the early 70’s. It is a truly striking sight, a modernist spaceship tucked away deep in the woods.”
Of all the places Maurer visited he said he had the biggest connection with this bowling alley.
“I was there on Christmas day when my family was out of town, and I had nothing to do. I went up there and bowled. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life… It felt like it had been recently lived in.”
The indoor pool at Grossinger’s was opened by Elizabeth Taylor and Florence Chadwick who was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. This indoor pool was one of the best places in Catskills as nothing had ever been built like it before.
More photographs of the Grossinger’s indoor pool show that nothing else like it had been built before. The floor was heated, the entire place was air-conditioned and it even had a full gym, salon and other amenities. Abandoned since the 90’s the pool is now beyond repair.
At the time these ultra-modern buildings were full of dining rooms and cocktail lounges. When asked why he thinks the series is so powerful and why people are connecting with it so much he said that “People connect the decay in these photographs with general sort of decay. Something once grand was left to rot. I think to a lot of people, it’s to them a symbol of how wasteful we are.”
This residential building at the Poconos is another that is completely beyond repair. On the back of this postcard written was “Dear Bernie – Don’t think we forgot you – but we’re having such a grand time that post cards are a chore! This is the life & the place & the people are grand. We couldn’t be happier or have more fun. See you soon! Love, Lou & Shiela.”
Maurer said of this room: “The browns and reds and oranges of this Poconos dining hall’s carpet have turned green, the color of the moss that’s taken its place.” It is another stark example of how nature has taken back these areas and how much things can change in a matter of a few decades.
This is the Jenny G Wing at Grossinger’s. It opened in 1964 during the height of the resort’s tourism and was inspired by Miles van der Roche. It was designed by an extremely famous architect who designed several big hotels including the Capitol Skyline Hotel.
Another place, another example of how much things can change. This was once one of the grandest tennis centres in the county and one of the biggest attractions at the Grossinger resort. Jenny Grossinger said: “The fun and fresh air people get here at Grossinger’s really gives them an appetite. They love all of our food – and a particular favourite is our Grossinger’s rye and pumpernickel bread. Now you can get this same healthy, flavorful bread at your local food store. Try a loaf. I’m sure you’ll love it.”
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