Abandoned Structures Tell Stories Of Kansas City History
As a city ages, buildings and other structures can fall into disrepair and eventually end up abandoned and forgotten.
In his book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, photographer Matthew Christopher seeks out these places and tries to tell their stories through the lens of his camera.
He's never photographed structures around Kansas City, so we decided to find a few local abandoned structures that tell a story.
Columbus Park's bocce courts illustrate how the ethnic heritage of the residents has changed. With fewer Italian residents, the courts have become disused and weedy.
Trains were and are part of Kansas City's economy, but the Rock Island Bridge became abandoned when Kemper Arena replaced the Kansas City Stockyards. Although Kansas Citians call it "Cowtown," there aren't as many cows coming through as there used to be.
Abandoned schools can be found all over Kansas City. In 2010, the Kansas City Public Schools' board of education decided to close 21 buildings due to a shrinking student population. This is in addition to nine schools that were already closed. Many remain empty, like Blenheim Elementary school on Kansas City's east side.
You can't drive through the Midwest without passing dozens of empty barns. Though parts of the region are still agriculturally active, the exodus into cities has left barns, like this one in Eagleville, Missouri, a mere reminder of the past.
The West Bottoms of Kansas City used to be an industrial hub, but now is filled with empty structures. Many are now being repurposed and rehabilitated, but many remain boarded up, like this industrial building at 800 Woodswether Road.
We asked what abandoned structures once defined your community, and here are some of your suggestions:
Many suggested the abandoned malls around the metro. Metcalf South mall and Indian Springs mall used to be bustling social centers, but now sit empty: