Abandoned America: Dismantling The Dream

If the creation of a structure represents the values and ideals of a time, so too does its subsequent abandonment and eventual destruction. In Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream, internationally acclaimed photographer Matthew Christopher continues his tour of the quiet catastrophes dotting American cities, examining the losses and failures that led these ruins to become forsaken by communities that once embraced them. From the heartbreaking story of a state school that would become home to one of the country’s worst cases of fatal neglect and abuse to the shattered remains of what was once the largest mall in the United States, “Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream” asks what leads us to leave places behind and what are the consequences of doing so.

Explore the magnificent remnants of two theaters fighting for survival, the largest privately owned zoo in the United States, a beachfront community left for dead when the bridge to it burned, a massive crumbling asylum with a dark past, a derelict ocean liner that was the fastest passenger ship ever built, a ghost town built around a gold mine that caused unimaginable bloodshed, an eerie relic of the days of the megamalls, a steel foundry destroyed by escalating rivalries between management and labor, a haunting Maryland institution that gained a terrible reputation for killing its residents, a city struggling to cope with 13,000 blighted properties left behind when the industries disappeared, and more. 

Prefaced by a thoughtful foreword by Mysteries at the Museum host Don Wildman, Matthew Christopher’s collection of photographs and essays chronicling these dangerous and hard to access sites force us to confront who we were, who we are, and who we wish to become.

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