Corey Gross Photography | Abandoned SD: Searching for the Forgotten

Abandoned SD: Searching for the Forgotten

May 12, 2016  •  3 Comments

I had a photo gig in Rapid City in April.  I got the chance to traverse the badlands and Custer State Park for a bit on my lonesome.  Oddly enough I really enjoy traveling alone. I got to capture some of the immense beauty of the badlands one evening. 

However I didn't get to spend that much time in Custer State Park, which is also breathtaking.  I woke up on a Monday morning in my simple but elegant room at the Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City, grabbed a coffee, and walked the graffiti alley right next to the hotel and then hit the road. About one hour in an urge overcame me to find an abandoned house. I took a random exit and started going east down highway 248. I ran into my first spot with several houses a bit west of Murdo.  I always wonder what stories these buildings hold.  (You can check out the full abandoned house gallery here - you can also order prints)





As I wrapped up I felt an urge to make a day out of this. Just take random highway and gravel roads find as many abandoned houses as I could. 


It didn't take long before my next spotting.  This house had a particular eeriness with assorted old toys in the yard. It's a strange sensation to take photos at these places in the dead quiet, knowing in a time not that long ago a child was playing in a now decaying yard.  I plan on visiting all these locations again in the fall. I want to spend more time at this house.

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I got back on the highway and found myself traversing the vast openness of South Dakota. I looked to the north and saw a few old houses in the distance. I took a gravel road and it led me to yet another eerie spot.  While shooting here I could feel a presence with me.. one of the houses seemed to have had someone living in it not that long ago or they still were. The whole area was deserted and unkept, I felt an uneasiness the entire time I was there.






I skittishly ran back to my car, looking back and waiting for someone to open up those blinds and stare back at me.  I hopped on the interstate for a bit and crossed the Missouri river, knowing full well that my daylight was dwindling. 

I searched for a bit longer to no avail, and then I ran across the car graveyard.



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I didn't have much time left and I desperately wanted to find one more abandoned location. With the sun setting I hopped on one more old highway.  Since the introduction of the interstate I could tell this highway has had little to no attention. On this old and forgotten highway I continued heading east. At one point I spotted a potential house in the distance but couldn't tell if it was abandoned or not. I took out a telephoto lens, took a photo, and zoomed in on my camera's LCD screen to see if it was, in fact, abandoned. To my dismay it wasn't.  I had about given up hope until I went by an old driveway, with about 15 minutes of light left I knew I had to hurry. I ran down this old driveway towards some buildings.  What I found was breathtaking, eerie, and beautiful all at once. 






This site was eerie, an old dog house where a trusted companion used to sleep


I had not stepped foot into any of these houses until now.  With the sunsetting in the silence of dusk, I went in.  Once again I half expected someone or something to come jumping out at me.


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I bid my farewell to the house and the memories it holds.  I began my walk back to my car down the old road, looking back a few times to take in the adventure I had just experienced.  A day of searching for the forgotten.  (You can check out the full abandoned house gallery here - you can also order prints)





This adventure in abandonment you've captured is purely intriguing. With the raw beauty in darkness and desertion. The stories here. And the past seems at peace somehow on the edge of solace all the while havoc left behind. Especially love the stairs, chair, close up of headlight, sunburst between houses, and so many others. Beautiful work Corey.
Tim Valentine(non-registered)
That is really cool! Great photos.
Jess Kriech(non-registered)
Wow this is sooo cool, I find things like this so interesting I love learning about old things and looking at old pictures. To talky know what the lives were like of those who lived in those houses
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