Waking up with this new president in place, it already feels like a better world than yesterday. And there are such beauties in his most recent home state.

I first heard of Obama a few years ago in connection with my very favorite abandoned hospital. I had recently discovered it in a small town in southern Illinois and its creepy hallways, moss-carpeted floors and decaying beds inspired a continuous work in progress called Funeral Play. The (then) senator, I read while doing some research on the building, was making a special trip to view my beloved eyesore and pledged to accelerate its demolition and redevelopment.

I watched in dread as he kept his promise to the people of Illinois; on a hasty return trip, I found the hospital in the last stage of abatement. These magical places are fleeting, of course, and the people in this very depressed town certainly didn’t need yet another ruin. It was a reminder to experience each abandoned hospital visit to the fullest and be grateful for even a few hours in the enchantment of decay.

Here are a few random shots from Illinois – above, an amazing facade where the Civil War meets the San Fernando Valley. Below, the ceiling blob from outer space, a gutted theater, a school entrance, a toaster-oven style incubator in the (since demolished) hospital, and the wing of an old asylum.






Julia Solis

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Explorations and ruminations about time capsules near and far, with an eye towards the structures, textures and playgrounds of decay. A companion blog for

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