Nessa ネッサ (nessachan) wrote in rundown_town,
Nessa ネッサ

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Long time, no post.

Hello everyone.

It's probably been years since I've posted here... but this week I'm home sick with a horrible cough and thought maybe I'd share some photos with communities that still seemed to be semi-active. Over the last year I've had a great time exploring a lot of small towns in my surrounding area. I thought you might like to see pictures from some of my adventures. I can break it up into chunks by town.. in fact.. I think I will. So if you like this I'll post a lot more!

Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple in Fairmont, WV stands tall but abandoned.

Fairmont is a bit of a rundown town. The county seat of Marion County, it has had quite a bit of population loss since it's heyday in the 1950s. It has a lot of (still very lovely) abandoned buildings, but a lot of local color and fun stuff to discover. Unfortunately, more buildings are demolished seemingly weekly... cultural resources are many, but not particularly well managed. It is by no means dead, though. I like to go there. I don't want this post to give a negative portrayal of Fairmont. It's got its troubles... but if you like the semi-quirky or under-appreciated.. well, it's your kind of town. Fairmont is home to some important state employers, but alas none of them really help the downtown area, which is what I will be featuring here.

Butcher Elementary

Butcher School, an abandoned school in Fairmont.. it's been empty at least 25 years, unfortunately. Last time I was here, a little over a year ago, it was boarded up tight, but this time it was wide open. A kid on a bike yelled at me while I was taking this picture and told me he was callin' the cops. Thanks, kid.

Last time I was here, kids were still playing on what's left of the playground. I found some historical pictures of this place but they are copyrighted so I can't post them or link to them, but if you check the online photo archives belonging to certain West Virginia libraries, they're easy to find. You can't tell in the photo, but it is a pretty big building. I didn't go in, but just by peeking in the many open doors, I can tell you that it's fairly trashed and stinky.

Fairmont Theatre

Fairmont's beautiful art-deco movie house (check out the peach vitrolite!) has been out of business for a few years. I never saw a movie here, so I hope it reopens so I can. :P I love theatres... it's the first thing I look for when I visit a town.

Phone Booth

Now there's something you don't see every day... this was on the side of a comic book store near Butcher School.

City Center

Fairmont's old art-deco post office is empty... but for rent!

Board of Education Building

The BOE building, a former hospital.

Abandoned (?) Moose Lodge

I am told that despite the appearance of this Moose Lodge it is NOT abandoned.. and is still available for parties and banquets.. though I'm not sure why you'd want to have a party in a building with boarded up windows. Mafia parties? :)

Trampled Moose Sign

I think a moose ran over the sign.

The Family Fraternity

I love this sign. I saw an identical one in PA.

Abandoned Red Building

Abandoned near Moose Lodge.

Abandoned Yellow Brick Building

Abandoned near Moose Lodge.

Curved Building

I think this curvy building used to be a tire store.

Colorful Storefronts

Empty storefronts.

For Sale

I love this building. There's a shop on the bottom floor but I'm not sure if the upper floors are occupied or not.

Lupo's Lunch

Lupo's is closed, but not out of business. He just moved somewhere else.



Dead Building's Floor

This one didn't make it. :(

50s Hotel

I love this old-school motel.. still in business!

@ The Poky Dot (24)

After a busy day of running around old buildings, I recommend The Poky Dot Diner for a milkshake or sundae.

I hope to take some more shots of Fairmont soon. There's a lot of it I haven't yet explored. A lot of nice old houses there, too.. though many great Victorian-era mansions have been lost to McDonald'sization.

The rest of my Fairmont set is HERE.

Thanks, if you liked it, I have lots more sets of lots more towns!
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There is a very similar Masonic Grand Temple near where I live that was built circa 1925 and closed circa 1945, with the first few floors remaining commercially active. The dusty top-floor de-commissioned temple has not been in use for over 60 years and features amazingly elaborate stone-walls, pillars covered with hieroglyphics, colorful floor mosaics, large sphinx statues and lots of strange occult symbolism ~ see if you can visit the one you pictured ~ try talking to the landlord....
Sometimes they do have wonderful interiors. I've been inside a similar one in another town (Weston), and while it is thankfully still active, the inside was incredible. I've talked to a few Masons to ask them if there is any sort of national or regional Masonic group dedicated to saving these buildings, but there is no organized section working to do so. I've considered contacting a few lodges to see if any would be interested but haven't gotten around to it. The one in my town has been turned into apartments and no-doubt stripped of it's original features, such as a duck pin bowling alley in the basement.
there's still a long un-used bowling alley in the basement of the local defunct Grand Lodge ~ and there's also a large corner-stone by the main entrace with the orginal date (1925) of construction....
WONDERFUL! poor old rundown town - it still has so many awesome structures. how many people actually live there? has the downtown been abandoned for McD's and Wallyworld on the outskirts of towns?

YES! MORE! please!
(now i'm going to your flickr...)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D

It really is a shame. The population has dropped from 25,000+ in the 40s and 50s to around 19,000 right now... so not a huge loss, but enough to make a difference. The population of the county is higher, there are major employers like an FBI center and etc. outside of town. But like I said, nothing really adds to the revitalization of this area.. and I think there have been some minor drug/crime issues.. and the old Elks lodge randomly collapsed, which certainly didn't help the image of these old buildings. (UNSAFE! TEAR THEM DOWN!, etc.)

A very long street of Victorian-era mansions were indeed demolished for fast food and retail.. probably starting in the late 50s and continuing until now (a few survived as offices and funeral homes.) The mall and most of the retail is on the outskirts of town.. you can visit it and never know that downtown Fairmont exists. There is a lot of sprawl across to the other side of the river.. where the small homegrown retail shops seem to survive on their own instead of in groups like they would in a downtown. It's a shame some of the outlying merchants can't/don't move into the downtown area.


Anyway, ok, I'll post more soon! :D
That was awesome! I look forward to your future posts here.
Thank you!
I grew up just outside of Fairmont. My dad worked for the cable company and he used to take me to Lupo's all the time for lunch. It was a neat little place. And you're right about that curvy building, it did used to be a tire store.
It's my first time to post a reply, thanks for your sharing.
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.