Ghostly Ruins: America's Forgotten Architecture

Overview

We've all seen them but might have been too scared to enter: the house on the hill with its boarded-up windows; the darkened factory on the outskirts of town; the old amusement park with its rickety skeleton of a rollercoaster. These are the ruins of America, filled with the echoes of the voices and footfalls of our grandparents, or their parents, or our own youth. Where once these structures were teeming with lifecommuters, workers, vacationersnow they are disused and ...

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Overview

We've all seen them but might have been too scared to enter: the house on the hill with its boarded-up windows; the darkened factory on the outskirts of town; the old amusement park with its rickety skeleton of a rollercoaster. These are the ruins of America, filled with the echoes of the voices and footfalls of our grandparents, or their parents, or our own youth. Where once these structures were teeming with lifecommuters, workers, vacationersnow they are disused and dilapidated.

Ghostly Ruins shows the life and death of thirty such structures, from transportation depots, factories, and jails to amusement parks, mansions, hotels, and entire towns. Author Harry Skrdla gives a guided tour of these marvelous structures at their peak of popularity juxtaposed with their current state of haunted decrepitude. Like a seasoned teller of ghost stories, Skrdla's words and images reveal what lies beyond the gates and beneath the floorboards. There are the infamous Eastern State Penitentiary and Bethlehem Steel factory in Pennsylvania, the Packard Motors Plant and Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, and Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion from the 1964/65 World's Fair. There is the entire town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, where a trash fire set inside an old mine in 1962 morphed into an underground inferno that incinerated the town from underneath; more than forty years later, the subterranean fire still rages. The town is empty now, just as the many other abandoned places in this chronicle. Ghostly Ruins is a record of the souls of yesteryear and a chronicle of America's haunted past.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568986159
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 535,546
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Skrdla is an engineer and a historic-preservation consultant based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has contributed to the preservation and restoration of a number of noteworthy structures, including the ornate 1920s movie palace the Fox Theatre in Detroit, one of the last of its kind in America.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Fascinating Book!!

    How can these beautiful structures be abandoned? This book shows what the 'new is better' mentality has done to many American icons. Rather than preserving and restoring historic structures, they are left to die a slow death.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2006

    Great Book About Abandoned Architecture

    A great book about abandoned architecture around the United States, including Bethlehem Steel, Danvers State Hospital, Wayne County Training School, and many other forgotten relics of the past. Good book for anybody interested in architecture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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