Painting in Window of Abandoned House

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The image in the window looks like a painting to me. I hope that in calling it a painting that I’m not making myself look foolish. I’m so out of touch with mainstream traditional media like TV or magazines that I could well have missed that this painting was a brand image or part of an album cover that millions of people recognize. Then again, I think we are past the era when an image created by human hands would be published so extensively. If it can’t be reduced to vectors and easily scaled through digital illustration, it’s not used to sell anything in mass production.

It seems that posters have become passé, too. Back in the stone age of my youth, hanging a poster reproduction of a painting was a cool thing to do. I had a copy of Marc Chagall’s I and the Village on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager. I’ve yet to see a poster of a painting for sale when I’ve went mall shopping with my teenage daughter.

I spotted the painting in the photo above when I rode past an abandoned, boarded-up house over the weekend. I only had my kit lens (18-55 mm), so I couldn’t zoom in on the details. Did the last resident of this house leave it as a parting statement? Or has some refreshing trend arose of leaving paintings in unexpected settings?

Update: Downtown Lima Church Demolition

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South view of the church in March 2019

Back in March, I wrote a post about an imminent downtown church demolition. Today I revisited this site and took some more pictures. I’m not sure why the rubble is still there. While I cannot confirm this rumor, I heard that the debris was meant to linger for a while to give people a chance to retrieve mementos from the site. The building was in such a precarious state when it was slated for demolition that no one could go inside to rescue anything valuable that remained in the building. According to a local news story, the building had not hosted a congregation since July of 2017.

At the demolition site today, there was a cryptic, hand-painted sign which read “Thank You” and listed a mobile telephone number. Thanks for what? I blurred out some of the digits of that phone number because it is likely someone’s personal number.

I’m tempted to call that number and discover the reason behind the sign, but I’m the shy sort who lets some things remain a mystery. Years ago, there was a local business whose marquee sign proclaimed, “I will never understand such hate.” I was very curious why a business would devote their prime advertising space to such a message, but I did not find out what incident inspired it. To this day, when I see news stories about hate, I think of that marquee sign.

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The Huddle, 2007

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This sign belonged to a diner that I didn’t get around to visiting before it closed. It was wildly popular in its mid-20th century heyday. At its peak I imagine it was full of women with salon-set hair and bejeweled cat glasses and men who’d take off their fedora hats as they sat at the counter for a cup of a coffee and a slice of pie.

 

Lima, Ohio in the Year 2000

I have bittersweet feelings in looking at these photos. I was 27 to 28 years old and lived in a fantasy land that made me bold enough to take the sort of pictures that no one else was taking at that time. My aesthetic for urban photography was born then, and the heart of it hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t do enough of it now.

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My photo archiving project continues. I decided to make albums of some of the photos on my Facebook page. The images for this blog posts are screen shots of an album that features photos I took in Lima in the year 2000. Back then I used one of the Sony Mavica cameras that recorded images onto floppy discs. I could fit just 10 images per disc, so I had to carry a baggy full of a dozen discs to make it through a photo walk.

Alas, I don’t have the originals files of these photos. All I have now are online copies, and the website where I uploaded them 19 years ago only has 500×375 or smaller versions of the images. I know that some of the photos had an original resolution of 1024×768 (if I felt bold enough to just take five pics per disc!). Lesson learned: back up photos in multiple ways. Burn them on discs or put them on a portable hard drive. Then back the most important ones up online, in more than one place.

I have bittersweet feelings in looking at these photos. I was 27 to 28 years old and lived in a fantasy land that made me bold enough to take the sort of pictures that no one else was taking at that time. My aesthetic for urban photography was born then, and the heart of it hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t do enough of it now.

By the way, I’d be delighted if you followed me on Facebook. It has unlimited bandwidth for photos, and who knows what photo albums I may make from my archives.

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Church Near Collapse, Downtown, Lima, Ohio, 3/16/19

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My city closed part of a downtown street this week because a church is falling apart. Yesterday The Lima News ran a story summarizing the building’s history and its imminent demolition.

This morning my husband and I ventured downtown to take some pictures of the church before it, like so many other downtown buildings, disappears. There’s something about demolition that messes with my memory. Once a building is gone, I have a hard time remembering it, to the point where I might not remember what sort of building used to occupy a particular empty lot. Was it an apartment building, a defunct store, a school? Give me a few years and I won’t recall, unless I actually spent time inside of that structure while it still stood.

Before my husband and I finished taking pictures, a crew had already arrived to drop off equipment for the demolition that is slated to begin on March 19:

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The workers seemed very familiar with this part of Lima, almost like the downtown had acquired that home-away-home feeling that seems to develop around a long-term workplace. So many buildings have been knocked down that demolition contractors and heavy equipment rental companies indeed know this area well.

As my husband and I walked around the block where the church is located, I noticed how empty the south half of downtown has become. While the abandonment and demolition of a church is sad on its own terms, the building has persisted longer than many other structures in the downtown. Here is the view from the church to Town Square, which sits two blocks away:

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When I first moved to Lima in 1981, those fields were not empty. Grass grew only in the margins between the sidewalks and the street (if there was room for any grass at all). Now there are plans for an outdoor amphitheater to be built across the street from where the church is (of course the church won’t be there for much longer):

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There are also plans for an expansion of Rhodes State College’s Division of Allied Health in the empty southeast corner of Town Square. Also, an aging bank building is near completion of its conversion to apartments. There are signs of growth in the downtown area, but this cityscape will cater to a demographic that is decidedly younger than that I’d notice downtown when I myself was young. Back in the 80s and early 90s, downtown Lima seemed full of people who looked old to me at that time: aging patrons of the Lima Symphony Orchestra and blue-haired women shoppers of the stores that survived the retail collapse of downtown.

There were also the crumbling half-old men who spent lots of time in bars where every drink could be the last, either due to climbing back on the wagon or getting shot outside the bar. My maternal grandpa was one of those men (I wrote about him my blog entry called “A Dutchman“). Every time another downtown landmark disappears, I feel like another piece of Grandpa Bob has been lost to time, the setting of scenes from his life we never witnessed and don’t know for sure whether our absence was a blessing or not. At least this time the landmark reminds me that one day we will be united, with all wounds healed.

I will close this post with more pictures of the church that will soon be gone. The first picture has an oddball outbuilding that looks like it could have hosted a security guard or an anchorite. The notion of a hermitage downtown may seem outlandish, but downtown Lima has certainly hosted enough of the holy and the mad . . .

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Summer Photo Walk, July 7

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Today’s locations were the Lima Public Library and the Allen County Children’s Garden, which are situated right next to each other just west of downtown Lima, Ohio.

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Glass Palace, 2017

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This evening I share a photo I took last summer in downtown Lima. If you live in Lima, the downtown area is somewhat of a photographic cliché, a rite of passage that signifies that the hobby has become part of your identity. I really should take a new set of pictures because the downtown area is the midst of transition. One of the key buildings is getting carved into apartments, and Rhodes State will break ground on a new health sciences building very soon.

The photo above shows a reflection of Town Square in the Glass Palace, a ruthlessly geometric building that houses many of the city government’s offices. It’s an image that insists that the old cannot compete with the new. The unsteady lines of the reflected buildings remind me of an untrained hand trying to copy a master.

Before I close, I will tell you about an oddball rendition of a text message I received yesterday. As I was parking my car, I received a text message from my pharmacy. I choose to let the car read the message aloud. Its synthetic voice told me, “Your prescription that starts with Georgia is ready for pick up.”

That sounds like a hallucinogen or a sci-fi writing prompt.