06 August 2014

Abandoned: Hospitals, Prisons, Railroad and More, Oh My!

Lee Plaza in Detroit
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.  Attribution:  Mikerussell@en.wikipedia 

What is the Abandoned Website?

Abandoned is a word genealogists don't like to come across in records of loved ones because it usually means heartache.  It might be an abandoned or cast off baby, child, or family.  It could be a husband deserting his wife, or vice versa.  Any way you look at it, abandoned, usually, isn't a cause for excitement, but it was when I found a website titled:  Abandoned.

Abandoned is a website loaded with vintage finds, photographic works, and historical accounting's of abandoned United States places in a blog format.  One will find places such as a military ammunition depot in Indiana, and the Old Crow Distillery in Kentucky. Using the tags at the bottom of the home page, or by clicking 'start here' gets you started on finding abandoned, endangered, demolished and ,in some cases, restored places.

One can search by city or state.  Clicking on the "Detroit" tag will bring up blog posts with places such as St. John Berchman's Catholic Church and Servite High School, Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church, Lee Plaza, Lafayette Building, Packard Automotive Plant and more.  One might be interested in hospitals, prisons, or in my case, railroads. There is much to see at this website and the photography is wonderful.

The Glover Connection to Railroads on Abandoned

I discovered Abandoned when I was researching my Great Uncle Claude Glover's occupation as listed on his World War I draft registration card.  He was an engineer for MM&SE Railway Co.  I didn't have a clue what those letters stood for.  I conducted a Google search and "Abandoned" was listed in the results.  MM&SE, the Munising, Marquette and Southeastern Railway Co, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  MM&SE went through a couple of mergers and ended up being the LS&I Company, Lake Superior and Ishpeming, which it was at the time of Claude's retirement. A brief history of the company as well as four pictures from the route are included on Abandoned.

Later, I went back to search more Michigan railroads because my Great Grandfather, David Watt, was a train engineer also.  He worked for the DSS&A Railroad Company, Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic, for many years.  Again, a brief history and pictures are included.

Abandoned isn't your typical genealogical resource, but it is one that I found to be very helpful in understanding the railway companies that two of my ancestors worked for.  It is the type of resource I like to find to flesh out my ancestors and their lives. It brings to life the time period that is long forgotten. Abandoned preserves places of importance in the social history of the United States. Even though the pictures are of abandoned places, they capture the essence of the beauty that once was. Although it is sad that these places no longer exist, I am grateful that someone took the time to create a website where they will always be remembered.

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