Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trip to Picher, Oklahoma

With the end of the fall semester at school and Christmas over, I've had an urge to take a short day trip.  These trips are always a good way for me to relax and gives me an opportunity for thinking.  Of course, my camera equipment comes along!

On Tuesday, I ventured up to Picher, Oklahoma.  I'd heard about Picher for a while but hadn't made it up myself.  After a pleasant 90 minute drive, I arrived in the abandoned town.  Picher was once a thriving mining town.  People worked, went to school, attended church just as many do every day in cities and towns across America.  But the very industry that allowed Picher to prosper also was its demise.  The government relocated the citizens of Picher and now the town sits abandoned - a ghost town.

Upon my arrival to Picher, I immediately sensed a feeling of sadness.  I turned down a street and a policeman followed me around for a bit.  I guess he decided I was just another harmless gawker and went on his way.  Later, I was a Marshall's Office.  I stopped at one of the may piles of chat to snap a few photos.  These piles seems to be around the perimeter of the the town - you can see them looming behind the homes and businesses everywhere.  They're rather like a reminder of what happened to this town.

I continued to tour the town and the feeling of sadness followed me.  The doors of the buildings were often left open.  I didn't go inside the buildings but could see that everything had been cleared out and taken with the people.  I couldn't help but envision the lives of the people of Picher.  The church doors were standing open inviting no one to enter because nobody is there.  I thought of the people who had once worshiped inside the walls as well as those who had walked down the aisle as a bride; the funeral services for loved ones - all to be no more. 

The homes were standing empty, many with open doors.  The weeds have taken over lawns that were most likely well-tended for many years.  The swings in the parks were idle.  Imagine the many smiles on the faces of the children of Picher who played in that park.  The school was boarded up and the gorilla still guards the stadium. 

Cars drove through town, no doubt on their way to somewhere else because they didn't stop.  Dump trucks were abundant.  There was one business open in Picher - a pharmacy. 

I spent my time in Picher wondering around with my camera and imagining how life must have been.  My photos are posted on Flickr: .