WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Haunting photographs from Philly (and elsewhere)

The DAILY MAIL on line carries some haunting photographs from Philadelphia photographer Matthew Christopher (whom I've interviewed in the past) of crumbling structures:

"Abandoned America: Haunting images of the crumbling schools, decaying churches, and rusting prisons that have been lost in time"

I guess we all realize that such decaying structures exist, but it's sobering to see them all together, one after another after another...


Posted at 2:19pm on June 13, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 7:07pm
There are those in the tabloid media (MSNBC, CNN) that would have us believe that America's infrastructure as a whole is going to hell in a handbasket. To add a little perspective here - these crumbling structures - while they are a matter of concern (mainly safety), they probably account for no more than 1 of 2 percent of all existing structures.

Also, this is far more widespread in Eastern Europe and Africa. America, even with Obama as president, is still the most blessed nation on earth.

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 7:56pm
On the east coast we are blessed. It is not 1% in the rust belt. Whole towns have had 50% of their buildings razed. The pictures of the Packard Factory were poignant because that describes the rust belt to a tee. Businesses built on iron and steel, closed down with nothing to replace them. it's a good thing we had the Russians take over our steel mill in Claymont. Just the abandoned steel mills are worth a fortune in scrap metal... That was old steel, the good stuff.

And Mr. Pizza. Whether it is a house, or a business, if you don't keep up repairs, it falls apart. Since Republcians took over in 2000, and put a stop to ALL INFRASTRUCTURE REINVESTMENT, America has fallen apart..

Get rid of Republicans, put the whole infrastructure replacement bill on the top 1%, and presto, America is back in business.

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 8:31pm
The headline is misleading: Most of the pictures are NOT from Philly (just the guy who took them). I know the media have this thing about local angles but please...

And these buildings were abandoned and many of the pictures were taken long before anybody heard of Obama, Pizza. In Europe, the abandoned buildings are a couple of thousand years old and called "ruins." Let these sites sit for a few hundred years and tourists will come to see them, too.

And way to lie with statistics, Pizza. Churches, prisons and factories make up only a small portion of all structures to begin with. Let's add all the abandoned residences and the percentage goes up. Empty stores and shopping centers, too.

Most blessed nation on Earth? That's bull! But keep shouting "we're number one" if it makes you and the other tea people happy. You are just deluding yourselves.
"There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of which are allies."

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 9:10pm
Kavips: Oh really? Then why hasn't Obama fixed everything like he promised to do by the end of his first term? George W. hasn't been president for 5 years, but your Obama boy continues to use him as an excuse (although not by name) anytime he's questioned about any of his endless legion of broken promises.

billsmith: You're an ungrateful scoffer. Why don't you go live in Rwanda or Somalia and find out what "ruins" really are?

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 11:21pm
This made my night...

"Pizza. In Europe, the abandoned buildings are a couple of thousand years old and called "ruins." BillS

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 11:24pm
Mr. Pizza... Presidents are like fathers... They don't get to do everything as they promise to their little ones. They do the best they can with what they are given...

Fri, Jun 14, 2013 2:40am
Kavips: I knew that. I just wanted to see if you did.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jun 14, 2013 8:44am
Billsmith said: "There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of which are allies."

Do you have a link for all these stats? They do sound believable, but I'd still like to see the stats myself [this way I can also use them with others].

Too bad you don't believe in Angels.

But to your bigger point, IF those stats are correct then I'd say we need another FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ. Those were America's best years where America led in all those catagories. Somehow in our nations' quest to help the wealthiest 2% bring home even larger paychecks and pay far less for it than ever, we've allowed our nation to lose its top spot and unfortunately become far lesser in many ways than we are capable of being.

Some things have changed greatly since the days of FDR through LBJ. Taxes on the wealthy have dropped to all time lows as their salaries have risen to all time highs.

Second, people's attitudes towards helping the little guy, being charitable, etc, have declined, where the attitude now is more in tuned with "That's Not My Problem", "Too bad for them", "I've got mine", etc. This reflects the decline in the number of Americans who have and practice their spiritual faith. With great wealth and education people think they've learned so much and have all this worlds goods in such abundance [this describes a major part of America today] that they fool themselves into believing they no longer need God. As the Bible tells us they believe themselves to be wise and turn from God and turn to "un-natural" things, etc, etc. THAT definitely is a major difference from the America from the 1930's through the early 1960's. Some complain here how religious belief, especially Judao/Christian beliefs and practices, hinders people's freedoms, yet when this nation practiced a strong Judeao/Christian belief and practice, the poor were better taken care of, we practiced the Geneva Convention, we weren't feared and hated as we are today. Even our infersturcture was being maintained. Even our politicians, on both sides of the isle, were able to work together for the common good rather than just their own good and the lobbyists good. So maybe that one stat that Billsmith showed of less Americans believeing in Angels is more important than one might think.

Does that mean that there were no problems back in the day? NO, but it seems that as our nation has moved farther and farther away from God, we go further and further into decline, a coinincidence, I think not.

Its interesting how when a time of trouble happens like 9/11 people flock back to the churches for a few weeks and then once things go back to "normal" they stop attending church. So it would seem, on some deep down level, people realize YES God is there, but they put him on a shelf to be used only for emergency situations. They want a "vending machine God". It doesn't work that way.

I know some of you cringe and hate it when I bring up spiritual faith, but I do believe it plays an important role, so it is a valid opinion to be voiced.

Anyhow, that's my spin.

Mrpizza: I disagree that Billsmith should leave the nation. Even back in Tricky Dick's day, I never was of the opinion America love it or leave it. I didn't like the Hippies at all, but they were correct about us being in Viet Nam. They took a stand. Granted if they had looked more like "Up with People" [they were so squeaky clean they looked fake almost like manaquins], the Hippie's message would have probably been better received by the adults of that generation. But those dirty, pot smoking, psychedelic music [forerunner to today's heavy metal music], hippies were correct on that one issue [hey a broken clock is correct twice a day]. I may not agree with Billsmith on numerous topics, but I fully support his right to offer his opinion, just as you and I offer ours of which he most often totally disagrees. If only points of view we agree with are the only one's heard, we can't grow, learn, or be challenge [which also leads to great spiritual growth] and then you end up with Rush Limbaugh's show of only hearing Megga Ditto's Rush for three hours. How boring.

So even though I know Billsmith will disagree with most of this post, I still welcome his voice to be heard. THAT is a basic American right.

Fri, Jun 14, 2013 1:57pm
MikeFromDelaware: Thank you. The quote I posted was by writer Aaron Sorkin from "Newsroom." It is spoken by a network news anchor in response to a college student who asks his to explain why "America" is the greatest nation on Earth. If you haven't seen the show, you'd probably enjoy it. If the first season isn't out yet on DVD, it probably will be soon.

I agree with your basic premise that things used to be better. I'm not sure we can give the credit for that to religion. Or the blame to the current state of things to people turning away from religion. What you see as turning away, I'd call greater tolerance for people with unorthodox views and less pressure for pretend participation in religion. You have be critical of the tea party, of many of their positions and of the gridlock caused by their intransigence. Notice these people often claim to act in the name of Christianity and flaunt their religion.

I also can't agree that the poor were better cared for 80 or 120 years ago when people starved to death or froze to death in tenements and worked in mines and sweat shops under brutal conditions for pennies.

Participation in organized Christianity is greater in the US than in any other developed country. As Sorkin pointed out and you noted, more people here believe in angels. The difference now is people aren't forced to pretend to "go along" with mainstream social or religious practices.

Not being number one isn't so bad. It's pretty nice in Britain, France and even Italy. No empire to run but still very good quality of life - in a lot of ways better than here.

Fri, Jun 14, 2013 11:14pm
Reading the exchange of mike and bill above, I had to ask myself how does one determine who the greatest nation in the world is?

Data or people? If you asked the world's population if they would like to live in America, I wonder what they would say? If they say yes then we are the greatest country in the world...

We can get an inside view of what Belarus thinks, here on these pages...

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 1:47pm
Kavips: From my 9 trips to Belarus over an 8-year period, and having had a few guests from Belarus come, I've concluded that most Belarusians THINK they'd like to move here, but most aren't ready for the responsibility that's involved with being an American.

Mike from Delaware: I agree with you that Billsmith has a right to speak out as the rest of us, and in fact this blog would be a lot less fun without him. What I was trying to do with my "love it or leave it" comment was to get him to focus on what's positive about America by putting it in contrast to war-torn countries in Africa. Yes, many things are bad in America, but they're much worse in most of elsewhere.

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 2:03pm
I should also add that our current president wishes we were more like those war-torn African countries. All we need is another 9-11 and a few more Boston Marathons to get there.

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 3:54pm
Pizza, here's more....

"You're going to tell students that America is so starp-spangled awesome that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom, Japan has freedom, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, BELGIUM has freedom! Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom." - Aaron Sorkin, "The Newsroom"

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 4:00pm
Kavips: Belarus is setting the bar pretty low. Try Canada or one of her majesty's other dominions.

A while back, I looked into moving to Canada. Almost impossible unless you you fall into an occupational group they want or have a bunch of money to invest. I checked out the rest of the Commonwealth countries; same thing. Even looked at Scandinavian countries and Germany, even tougher. Lots of countries harder to get into than this one. And this one is not that easy to get out of.

There's a big gap between "we're number one" and "there's worse places."

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 7:53pm
Kavips and billsmith: American exceptionalism is still king!

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 8:25pm
Pizza, what's unfortunate is you are an example of "American exceptionalism." So are those fundamentalist teachers and principal who bully a Canadian school kid. What's exceptional about Americans? First off, they call themselves "Americans" (the name of two entire continents). Add to that: More arrogant. More xenophobic. Less well-informed. More superstitious. More angry and prejudiced. More hypocritical. All these, of course, are qualities in common with Christianity.

If there's a hell, Jesus said people like you will be there.

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 2:24am
billsmith: You think anybody who stands up for what's right is arrogant, xenophobic (whatever that means), hypocritical, angry, prejudiced, and on and on and on and on.

Of course, it's okay for homosexuals to stand up for their right to do evil. Soon, those who rape children will want their right too. Is this the kind of world you want to live in? Then you too will be joining us Christians in hell.

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