In memoriam

Roadside memorial
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Gold 200 (at EI 100)
2018

I remember well the first time I saw crosses arrayed in a memorial to people who died at a site. It was 1984 and I was visiting the Berlin Wall. It’s hard even now to think about why and how they died.

I’m not sure exactly when we started erecting crosses in the United States along roadsides where accidents claimed loved ones. I don’t recall seeing any as early as 1984. But given the date on this one, we are likely to have been doing it since at least 1996.

The 50mm f/1.7 lens I acquired recently is a real winner. Just check out that lovely bokeh.

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Film Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Roadside memorial

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Road Trips

Are all Dixie Highway small towns in Indiana alike?

When I get home from a road trip, as soon as I can I transfer the photos from my camera to my computer and geotag them. If I wait too long, I’m likely to forget where I took some of the shots.

It’s a darn good thing I didn’t delay after this trip, or I would never have sorted out the photos from all the small towns. They all looked too much alike! Here’s downtown Hillsboro.

Hillsboro

Down the road a bit is Waynetown.

Waynetown

Farther along comes Pittsboro.

Pittsboro

And finally, there’s Brownsburg.

Brownsburg

I’m sure I’ll rankle the preservationists in my audience when I say that buildings like these were sort of the strip malls of their day – utilitarian facilities for a town’s commerce. To mollify the preservationists, I’ll say that these buildings were designed to last where strip malls aren’t, and are ripe for adaptive reuse in ways strip malls never will be.

While Hillsboro, Waynetown, and Pittsboro are all sleepy little Indiana towns, what you can’t see in the photo from Brownsburg is that it is a giant bedroom community for Indianapolis, which is close by. This photo is of Brownsburg’s main intersection, where the Dixie Highway (US 136) intersects State Road 267. The other three corners probably once had buildings just like these, but they’ve been torn down in favor of a bank, a Walgreens, and a CVS. Ah, progress. I think I’d rather have the old buildings, as plain as they probably were.

The old buildings in Old Washington, Ohio, on the National Road, have tons of character. Check them out!

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