Shields High School Gym — Seymour, Indiana

P1000065 In November of 1937 construction began on a new gymnasium for the Seymour Indiana high school then known as Sheilds High School. The new gym was completed as a WPA project in 1938 and provided the high school and community with a modern, fire-proof gymnasium with a seating capacity of over 3,300. P1000066
The gymnasium continued to serve Shields High School until 1959, when the high school moved to a new campus and changed its name to Seymour High School.
P1000061 Upon the moving of Sheilds High School, the gym, and main school building which use to stand directly beside the gym were transformed into the new Sheilds Middle School. P1000058
The buildings remained in service to the community in this function until 1981 when the new Seymour Middle School opened.
P1000057 The main part of the Sheilds High School was demolished in 1998. P1000062
The gymnasium remains standing on 6th Street to this very day.
P1000063 P1000068

Richmond Mall — Richmond, Kentucky

Richmond Mall Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Richmond Mall is actually one of the newer malls when it comes to the bluegrass state. It was a late comer to the mall craze, opening in September 1988.  Richmond Mall was developed by the same company that developed the similar sized malls in Middlesboro, Somerset and Madisonville. IMG_20170412_133251856 When Richmond Mall opened it was home to Walmart, JC Penney, Goody’s and Dawahares. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky Walmart left Richmond Mall in March 1996 when they opened a supercenter next door. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky The biggest blow to Richmond Mall came in 2008 when Richmond Centre opened on the other side of town. When Richmond Centre opened it attracted JC Penney, Dawahares, Goodys and Hastings directly from Richmond Mall. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky According to an article in the Lexington Herald Leader, when Richmond Centre opened Richmond Mall had an occupancy rate of 98%. By 2010 that rate had dropped to below 50% and the mall was put up for auction.Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky
Today the mall is home to a church, a Habitat for Humanity Re-store, a Mexican Restaurant, Payless Shoes and Bath & Body Works along with several other smaller local stores.
IMG_20170412_133418658 Oddly enough this location of Payless wasnt among the 400 store closures the chain recently announced. IMG_20170412_133500819
IMG_20170412_133836142
IMG_20170412_134418129 IMG_20170412_134458904
Richmond Mall IMG_20170412_133735243
Former Goody’s
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Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY
The Sears Hometown store closed in January of 2017.
Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY
IMG_20170412_133143274 Former JC Penney -- Richmond KY
Richmond Mall -- RIchmond, KY Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky
Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky

Ballard County Courthouse — Wickliffe, Kentucky

Ballard County was formed from portions of Hickman County and McCracken County.  Ballard County has the distinction of being the county in Kentucky that borders both Illinois and Missouri.It was named for Bland Ballard , a Kentucky pioneer and soldier who served as a scout for General George Rogers Clark during the American Revolutionary War, and later commanded a company during the War of 1812. On February 17, 1880, the courthouse was destroyed by a fire, which also destroyed most of the county’s early records. At this time the countyseat and courthouse was located in Blandville.

Ballard County Courthouse -- Wickliffe, Kentucky

The county seat was transferred from Blandville to Wickliffe in 1882. This courthouse was built in 1903 with the designs of Missouri architect Jerome B. Legg. It is located in the heart of Wickliffe making it the county’s most prominent structure. On February 27, 1980 the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Going Back To Cairo

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Two of my most fascinating and intruiging abandoned discoveries were by complete accident. McDowell County, West Virginia and Cairo, Illinois. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
The first time I arrived in Cairo was in 2012 on spring break. I was headed for the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Little did I know the treasure trove of historical matter I was about to stumble upon.
The Cairo Union Building The town, just like McDowell County did, has stuck with me since and I often find myself wondering about the history, current state and future of a town I have no ties to whatsoever. Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southern-most settlement in the state of Illinois, it lies right at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers right at the corner of the state where Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky all meet. The town has been subject to a turbulent history which has lead to a steep decline in population. The town was founded in 1858. The population peaked during the 1920 census at over 15,000 people. By 1980 that number had fallen to 5,931. The 2015 US census estimate puts the total at 2,467. Thats a decline of just under 85% in less than 100 years.
The Cairo Union Building

What happened? What went wrong? For that information I am going to link you up to my buddy Sherman Cahal’s blog entry covering Cairo and its decline. His article can be found by clicking HERE.
The former Famous-Barr Department Store building sat on the vaccant lot to the left of the van in this picture. That building was still standing when I was here in the spring of 2012. Oddly enough, so was that van.

Cairo, Illinois (2012)
Same view in 2012

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) The post office is proof of the scope and size of Cairo in its original form. Vacant Lot in Cairo
As are the wide streets all through the town that are mostly bare. The main street even included a rail car of some kind at sometime. The rail is still visible in the brick street.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) What few buildings are left standing in the Cairo business district are overgrown with trees and have fallen into a state of decay that is almost beyond repair.  The really sad part about this is that much of the business district of Cairo has been placed on the National Register of Historic PlacesCairo, Illinois (March 2017) href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/120051008@N03/32458816573/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)”>Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) Over the next few weeks I will have several entries on this blog focusing on several landmarks in the city that are still standing, including an abandoned school and the abandoned hospital that has been closed for over 30 years. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Until then, please enjoy these pictures from around Cairo.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)

FOUND! Kmart #9610 — Village Center Mall — Harlan, Kentucky

If you havent caught on yet I have a fascination with many things.  If Im “into something”  Im in it for the longhaul and almost obsess over it for long periods of time.  One of my obsessions is Kmart, another is my home town of Harlan, Kentucky.

I come from a generation of Harlanites (yes its a word) whose primary retail destination as a child was Kmart and the other stores located at the Village Center Mall.   Walmart didnt arrive in Harlan until 1991.  Until then Kmart and Magic Mart had the corner on the mass merchandiser market in town.

Sadly, the Kmart store in Harlan closed in the spring of 1995.  The memories of this store still stay with me today.  Naturally with the advent of the internet I have always thought that a photo would pop up of the actual store.  Those wishes had not came true until last weekend when I stumbled upon a website known  as Vintage Aerial.  I immediately searched for Harlan County and discovered that there were sets from the early to mid 1980s on dozens of sets of photos.  It took me the better part of an evening, but I finally found it.

Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

I can close my eyes and almost taste the superman ice cream from the deli. The future isnt bright for Kmart as a chain. As Ive stated in this blog before, if (when) they finally go, I am probably going to be very dramatic, over react and travel a ton documenting the stores before they are gone. Someone has to do all three of those things right?
Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

The L&N Open Truss Train Bridge in Cawood Has Left The Building

abandoned railroad bridge//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
It’s always a shock when you are driving along a road that you’ve traveled your entire life and all of the sudden a huge landmark is completely missing. That’s what happened to me today as I drove past Cawood. I looked over, like I always have, to peer at the rusty trusses of the old railroad bridge that crossed the river. They werent there. The bridge is gone. I had to turn around and drive down the lane to where you could access the bridge and sure enough, the bridge was completely gone.
Site of truss railroad bridge -- Cawood, KY//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Of course, what blog entry would be complete without a little history lesson. So for those of you interested, here goes. This bridge, as well as the one at Neff was built by the American Bridge Company in 1910. This rail line remained active well into the 1980s. Once it was abandoned the bridge was retrofitted as a pedestrian bridge to carry foot traffic to a community park. I remember an article in the paper last year where the county wanted the railroad company to sign the bridge over to the county or they would abandon it or something to that effect. Apparently the two couldnt come to an agreement.
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These truss bridges are quickly becoming a very rare find. I hate to see another one go, especially so close to home.