Sunday, March 06, 2011

And Home Again

Breakfast at Jenny's
"Breakfast at Jenny's"
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 17mm
1/25s, f/3.2, ISO 200

So I spent the night listening to the other guests drive up and slam doors until about 2am. I finally drifted off to sleep, waking a little after 8am. Since She Who Must Be Obeyed threatened me with dire consequences if I called before 9, I waited until after 9 (9:10am, to be exact) before calling and speaking to a grumpy nearly-graduated undergrad.

I was traveling very light (just me, my cameras, and my notebook). It took but a few moments to quickly gather everything, check out, and head towards my younger daughter's place. I would have gotten there in short order, but I was in a foul mood from Florida governor [sic] Rick Scott's rejection of the federal high-speed rail funds. He traded $2.4 billion for $77 million to dredge Miami's harbor; trading a long-term high-tech future for a low-tech short-term quick fix.

So it was with that dark mood that I stopped and photographed a variety of bankrupt former businesses as I drove down Monroe towards the state capital to pick up my daughter.

Tattered Tallahassee

Former Radisson on North Monroe near I-10

My first stop was the large, empty, former Radisson hotel, right next to the Red Roof Inn I'd just spent the night at. It's been empty for well over a year. There's a notice tapped on the front lobby doors that the facility is undergoing 'renovation'. Unfortunately, there's nothing like that to be seen, at least not externally.

How much longer it's going to stay closed is anybodies guess. But there's no denying that every day it stay's closed is another day it does nothing to help the local economy.

Closed BP on North Monroe near I-10

My second stop was this local BP station. Now, it's a bit of a stretch to say that the economy took this particular business out. It's more likely that last summer's major spill in the Gulf has something to do with it. As you'll note further down there's another dead BP. I know of only one BP station that's still open in downtown Tallahassee, and it's on the east-bound side of Tennessee.

Empty Dillard's at Tallahassee Mall

Next stop was to photograph this now-dead Dillards at the Tallahassee Mall on Monroe. Tallahassee Mall has been slowly dying since before June 2009, when I took this set within the mall. How much longer will this mall keep bleeding anchor stores before the remaining stores finally pull up stakes and move on?

And there are all the former stores that I've taken in the past and are still empty. Consider this side-by-side comparison of a former Alberston's on Monroe, just a block further south from Tallahassee Mall.

Dead Albertson's #2Albertson's Parking Lot
Closed Albertsons, June 2009Same location, November 2010

The only difference after 18 months is that there's a chain-link fence around the property, and the leaves and other cultural detritus now litter the empty parking lot.

Dead BP on Monroe

And, of course, a matching dead BP station on North Monroe. If you look closely you'll see state capital buildings framed by the BP sign's legs in the mid-left of the photograph.

Tallahassee has FSU and FAMU, as well as Tallahassee Community College. It has the nucleus to be an academic and technical jewel in Florida's crown. But right now, it's little more than a squat, dirty, third-rate city. And with Rick Scott and the other newly-minted Republican legislators, it's on a course to go from bad to worse, both in Tallahassee as well as across the state.

Highway 27

Somewhere around Perry we came across four out-of-business filling stations, all side-by-side on the same side of the highway, that seem to stretch over the past three decades up to the present.

Old and Derelict Filling Station #1
The oldest of the four.

Most Current, yet For Sale Filling Station #2
The most recent. Even the pumps are still up. The oldest is in the background.

Dead Filling Station #3
The next in the series. The building is fairly current, but the service island is old.

Fishing Supplies Ammunition Filling Station #4
This seems almost as old as the first. The roof has partially collapsed on the right.
This is just a sample of what you can find on 27, at least until you hit Chieftain. Filling stations, old motels, old businesses. The look of decay is everywhere, from Tallahassee on south down 27.

Something a little different

I'm no horse person, but I find the animals fascinating. As we were driving down 27 we spotted a half-dozen horses drinking and grazing in a partially flooded area next to 27. It wasn't too deep, at least not for the horses. I couldn't tell if they were drinking or grazing the grass in the water. They seemed oblivious to me as well as the traffic on 27.

Drinking Stallions
"Drinking Stallions"
Olympus E-3 with Zuiko Digital 50-200mm
1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 200mm

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