A Rare Find In Rural Kansas

Untouched for decades, I find less & less places like this each year

On Treaty Road in Ottawa County, Kansas sits a house that could have last been lived in just after the Great Depression.
Part of the Lost Americana series. 
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.

Since I started traveling across rural America in 1995 I have always been in awe when I come across an abandoned building that has clearly been around since before the great depression.

As someone who has practically never lived in a home built after 1924 (those 2 years at a step parent’s house don’t count), I have a love an a affinity for the style & craftsmanship that went into theses places, as well as the materials. And while I’d much rather see them in good shape being taken care of, my heart almost skips a beat when I find a place built before the 1950s that is abandoned and in ruins. These are the buildings I want to photograph. These are the places I want to capture the moment in time where they gave out their last gasp. They are beautiful and obscene at the same time. Beautiful because you know there was a life and hard work that went on there. And obscene, because you look and wonder just what went wrong. What happened that this place was left to rot.

While I love the photography I’ve seen others do of abandoned malls, trailers, and mid century modern homes, there’s a certain familiarity to it and they just can’t compete with an old store front from the 1880s in my mind.

Every year though, when I return from another week’s long journey to God knows where and shake the dust of my gear and my tailgate, I feel a sense of loss. Not about the places I’ve been, but about the places I missed. The train depot that was bulldozed two years before. The grain elevator that was burned for practicing firefighters. The barn that was stripped of wood by salvagers, or the house that was destroyed by vandals. And of course the places that finally collapsed and returned to nature.

So for those of you like me. Who are still out looking. This one appears to still be standing if the Google satellite is current. Just get yourself to that giant swath of land between Interstate 80 & 70, where very few people are. Turn west when you get to the town of Oak Hill, Kansas, head on down a dirt road called Treaty and get a shot of her while she’s still standing.

Safe journeys,
Vincent Johnson

 

Part of the Lost Americana series.
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
Part of the Lost Americana series. 
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
Part of the Lost Americana series. 
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
An Aermotor windmill, Ottawa County, Kansas

Part of the Lost Americana series.

Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.

House, windmill & trees, Ottawa County, Kansas

. 
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
Ottawa County, Kansas

Part of the Lost Americana series.
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
Ottawa County, Kansas. 

Part of the Lost Americana series. 
Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.