Today is Easter. Rather than relax at the house I decided to grab my trusty camera and go shoot two locations I’d been meaning to explore. The first location was a couple of out buildings that were recently revealed when a developer mowed over a long abandoned house on Blackman Rd. The second location is a barn I’ve passed regularly. Ordinarily I would have posted these shots as Black and White images but truth be told I do love the colors of these photos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did shooting them. If you’d like to buy a print of any of these images in color of as a Black and White print write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for sizes, paper and prices.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine had come into my part time job at the gym. While shooting the breeze my friend Mathew mentioned that he and his wife had stumbled upon and old and clearly forgotten cemetery. He gave me an idea of it’s whereabouts and a name. I went to work using Google searching for Benelovent Cemetery.
My internet search was short and lead me to Benevolent Society No. 11 . Was a society and resting place for African Americans in Murfreesboro, TN. From what research I did I learned that the land for the Society was purchased in 1897 and has around 650 plots of laborers, Doctors, and Veterans from World War 1 and the Spanish American War.
Some of the members of the society were
- Berry Seward was the first African American electrician in Murfreesboro.
George C. Harden was a medical doctor and graduate of Meharry Medical College.
- Dr. John McClellan, a medical doctor. He graduated from Meharry in 1880 and worked his entire career in Murfreesboro.
- Dave Ransom was a railroad laborer and worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Rail Road
Beyond that I did not learn much else other than in 1931 the Society’s property changed hands. I wish I could tell you more about what happened to the Society and the cemetery and likely I will do more research into it. For now though I guess I will just post the photos I took today. Sadly this is what happens when we forget the past and who the past was. This cemetery is a sad example of why my photography is titled Forgotten Tennessee.
Below are my sources for information. Please visit them. If you the reader have more info motion please feel free to leave your remarks and or message me.
Shout out to Justin Stokes for coming along on this shoot.
Sources of info
Click to access benevolent-cemetery-presentation-4-26-14.pdf
I decided that today was just too damned nice to sit indoors. I started my day off at Starbucks then hit the back roads of Tennessee. I was on the hunt for abandoned places and then some in hopes to add to my Forgotten Tennessee travels. I drove down US Hwy 99 and hit Eagleville. From there I traveled down a road at random until I hit Hwy 31. Turning left onto 31 I spied an oldish cemetery that had a large stone fence and an entrance with a bronze legend upon it. I hopped out of my car crossed a road and began to shoot.
As I wandered between the rows of graves stones I purposefully looked for the oldest stones. I didn’t have to look far. Old? No some of these were ancient. Some were so old that their faces were worn smooth and had little if any markings upon them. These oldest grave markers had a strange patina. They looked rusted. Yes, rusted. Later I may post some of the stones in color. But for now I feel Black and White is best. Finishing up my shoot I headed back to the car. I stopped at the entrance and read that the cemetery was a family plot belonging to a family named Riggs. the entire area had been founded on Rigg’s original land of about a 1000 acres.
I drove about 1/8 of a mile and came drove by a roadside general store/garage. I pulled over ran began to shoot the place. I aimed my camera at the sign hanging from a light pole which read Riggsby Bros Garage and Grocery. I had to wonder if there was a relation? Likely there was. I fell in love with this location. I’ve no idea how long it’d been closed down, or if perhaps the grocery was still open. From the sun washed and blistered state of the paint and the wood of the garage door and the style of the signage I guessed the place had gone under more than two decades ago. I spent about 45 mins shooting around and getting a feel of the place. As I said, I loved it.
I hope you the reader enjoy these shots of Allisonia, TN Unincorporated as much as I enjoyed shooting them. As always if you’d like to purchase a print in this story or in any of my other stories contact me at email@example.com be sure to check out my Easy shop for prints as well https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForgottenTennessee
I’ve had this piece in my head that I’ve wanted to shoot. I knew that Atlanta model Grace Stone was going to be in town so I decided that this would be a good a time to try and bring this vision to light. I wanted the the model to be dressed simply, all black if possible, Grace would be wearing a startling unremarkable simple black mask to go with with the wardrobe. I wanted the model to be portray a stranger who none the less leaves an impact on the viewer. The story? The message she’s trying to impart? Well that is up to you to supply. Enjoy. Feel free to leave your thoughts.
If you’d like to buy a print of any of these images or any image in any of my blogs just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4th of July this year came on a Monday. Instead of preparing to watch the fireworks show later that night I and a fellow photographer went on the hunt to find abandoned buildings to shoot. We landed up in West Nashville at an abandoned saw mill. We walked around the outside of the property til we found a way in. After walking in through a large garage sized door we stood around and began to look around. While it was blindingly bright outside it was damned dark on the first floor. There were walls that looked as though they’d been knocked out with a wrecking ball. The floors were covered in an inch of dirt most everything on the floor was covered in the same. The following photos are the images I captured that day.
One thing reader, the places I go I try not to go alone. These areas can be dangerous. The grounds can have broken glass or needles, the floors can collapse dropping you into the floor below. Have you had a Tetanus shot? Get one if you’ve plans to do what I do. Be wary of stairwells and critters. Critters can be rats, cats, dogs, spiders and more. Homeless people are another risk you may expose yourself to while exploring similar spots. Law enforcement. The police can be a risk too. Always carry your camera with you. Most times police will warn you to be careful, or tell you to move along. If they tell you to kick rocks, do it. Lastly use your head. If you are going to explore the “abandoned” always text or call someone and let them know where you’re going.
Driving in to Nashville the other day was as usual a surprise. A surprise because yet another mainstay of the Nashville urban scene was being torn down. For more years than I can count I’ve driven by the BF Myers building located right behind Frugal Mac Douglas. I’d never bought anything from the place but it had become a comfortable part of my trips into Nashville, a marker that said “Oh hey, we’re here”. As I rounded 40 I could see that Nashville’s future was busy consuming the building. An orange earth mover stood beside it the remains. Stacked to the side like discarded bones were the girders and beside that another stack this one the tin shell that passed for the buildings skin. All that remained standing was the store front I decided that since I had my camera with me I had to shoot what was left.
If you like what you see and would like to buy a print hit me up at email@example.com and be sure to check out my Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForgottenTennessee
I work Saturday nights at a gym from 10pm to 6am. Now when I get off my first impulse is to drive home and get some shut eye. However, these days I’ve been taking my camera with me and instead of going home I go for a drive. Above is the drawing reason for this collection of shot, a fog. I could not pass up shooting in this.
I tried to shoot as much as I could but sometimes you can only take what Mother Nature will give. In this instance the fog only lasted about 45 mins then it burned off.
Still I was happy for what I was able to capture, but I was not ready to head home. Driving around backroads I found a few other sights worth sharing. I hope you enjoy them.
Have a great day 🙂
Originally my plan today was to go to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. I made it up to the Rutherford County line took one look at the traffic and decided to go shooting the backroads off I840. I got onto to 840 and drove for a bit and learned new cuss words, the car I was driving isn’t the fastest car in the world. I got off at Peytonsville and started to take back roads at random. As I drove down one curving road I passed a clump of trees and flora that was sporting massive rusted steel tracks and a domed roof. “Wait I told myself I had to go back for a better look. So I did so. I went by this Clump of flora several times before I could find a place to park my car and shoot.
Grabbing up my Canon 1D Mark II I walked down the middle of culvert to get closer to the mysterious clump of greenery and metal. Drawing closer and bringing up my camera I could finally get a clear idea of what I’d been looking at. An old bulldozer. A very old, very rusted bulldozer. It’s been sitting in one place for so long that a tree, bushes and assorted flowers had grown in, around and through the steel hulk.
I stood there panning my camera across the scene. What had once been a massive orange earth mover with a roof, tracks and mean looking blade was now a derelict hulk that the elements were slowly eroding away to nothing. I figured that the dozer had been sitting for at lest 3 decades maybe longer, it might take another 3 or more decades but it would eventually end up reclaimed by the earth.
I stood there admiring the mixture of green and new life that would come and go, come and go eating away at the dozer. It was in my opinion quite beautiful. I shot for at least an hour, I hope you enjoy my efforts and find in them the beauty I do.
Last Wednesday I grabbed my Cannon 1D Mark II, made sure my 17-40mm lens was attached and drove out of town looking for old buildings to photograph. My drive took me East out of Murfreesboro down a sunny two lane highway. I’ve learned over the years that these trips of mine are best taken in the mid morning when traffic is light. Other motorists can easily pass me, especially since I don’t think I got my car above 45.
About 45 mins into my trip I stopped off at a small roadside restaurant to get a feel of the area and gather info. I struck gold. A woman working at the eatery gave me directions to a location where her family had a Diary Barn I could shoot. Off I went.
While I did take a shot or two of the barn, what I found of more interest was an old building who’s porch rook had collapsed. I hopped out and began to shoot.
An hour or so later, I was in my car again and found a small church that was sitting beside a newer church. Once again out came the camera!
I wish I had the words to describe my love of shooting such forgotten bits of Tennessee. But I don’t have those words. I rely on my photos to do so.