On Dec 11th 2016 the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Nashville caught fire not once but twice. The first time it caught fire the Fire Dept put out the flames but later that night it caught fire again, this time there was no saving the structure. Sadly all that remains now is the shell, and a bit of the interior which is soggy, burnt and awaiting the wrecking ball?
Today as I drove by the sad remains I noticed that the fence that had surrounded the grounds had blown over. My trip to East Nashville was to go and shoot abandoned properties in Nashville alongside fellow Photographer Jay Farrell. While we usually seek harder to find buildings, I could not pass this by nor could Jay.
Grabbing our cameras we crossed over into the previously closed off area and began to do what we enjoy doing. The documentation of an abandoned bit of Tennessee. Now I do have to caution you the reader. Shooting these sites is not for the sane. Shooting these structures from the outside is fine but the real action is inside.
Is this safe? Hell no! Is it clean? Once again, hell no. All I can say is that one must throw caution to the wind, take a breath and cross into the carcass of yesterday. Do not wear anything you’d regret ruining, and make sure your Tetanus shots are up to date. Oh and maybe text someone with a general idea of where you are in case you get trapped inside. I am serious about that.
Stepping over the threshold of the lower floor I take a second to look around and get an idea of what is what. Luckily the floor while damp and spongy is not actually flooded.
Before I begin to walk around the wreckage I take another second to carefully plot out my course. I make sure to look for pitfalls, boards with nails sticking out, shards of glass and other potential hazards to my feet and to the rest of me should I fall.
The fire here was so hot that everything is charred! Amazing anything is standing
especially the floor above me! Look at that! It looks like the footage of ruins seen in war zones.
I can not imagine the heat or the dedication of the men and women who fought this fire not just once but both times. Nor can I imagine the sense of loss by those who over the years have attended this church. It must have been crushing.
Towards the back of the church I come across more charred remains some that really catch my eye and need to be documented.
There is something peaceful and sad about this bowl. Something amazing about it as well. It’s glass. It should have broken or shattered. If not from the conflagration than at least from the powerful jets of water that were used to extinguish the flames. But no, it stands more of less in pristine condition.
Above I spy the sweeping backend of a piano. I wish there were a means to get up there and photograph it.
Finally I feel it’s time to exit what’s left of the church’s interior.
I walk around the exterior and meet up with Jay. We shoot a few remaining exterior images and call it a day, or at least for this site.
I truly hope you enjoyed this journey through a bit of Forgotten Tennessee. If you decide to try doing some documenting yourself please remember to be careful, you could end up as part of the remains you’re exploring.