Essays taken from a weekly newspaper column published in the Washington County News, Washington, Kansas. Look for my book, "Dispatches From Kansas," available from Amazon.com, or from the author.
Spectacular and eerie. I have seen images online of Kenyon Hall by Dave Leiker. I suppose it's a testament to civic inertia that the building hasn't been razed. Here in the city, we bulldoze first and ask questions later.
I believe from what I've read that the building will eventually get razed, but until then groups are clamoring for its restoration. Anybody got a few mil they don't need?After spending four or so hours in the building, I swore I'd never go back. However, I think I'm ready for a return trip.
Dang spooky, Tom.
We should try it some night, around midnight, say, with a full moon scudding behind clouds...
Had it not been so badly neglected for so many years, it would be a cheap restoration.It seems people want it to deteriorate and be torn down. No doubt it will be replaced with cheap, panel-board high-density housing. Go Emporia...
It's true what "Anonymous" said. If it wasn't neglected, it'd be a relatively cheap fix.I actually spent the majority of my teenage years in the building attending church there. Us kids knew that place inside and out. We spent quite abit of our free time fixing the place up and sustaining it. I mean, seriously - free reign of a 100 year old building, plus being able to say you touched a bit of history - Maybe I was a history nerd but I wouldn't trade those days for anything.The biggest problem we had was the roof. Every year the small struggling church had enough money to retar the roof. We also had bucket and kiddie pools in the attic that we continually had to empty. It honestly isn't that big of a chore. With 2 people it took 30 to 45 minutes, once a week.5 years after we left the building and this is the result. It pains me, after the part I played towards the building, to see the pictures and to walk the destroyed halls. Shame on the new owners for their lack of respect for the building that prevented them from lifting a finger. 10 years ago it would have costed 250,000 dollars to repair the roof. Now, what is there to save? The pictures Tom, that you and Dave posted are absolutely tragically beautiful! I don't know if it could be documented better. God bless you guys
Pat -- Thanks so much for your thoughts and kind words. The building still possesses a beauty that newer structures can never match, even in its terrible disrepair. Those silent halls, the graffiti, the play of shadows and light, the echoing footfalls. And so we toss aside our history in favor or new, better, cheaper, uglier, more tawdry.
These pictures are incredibly beautiful.I live across from Kenyon Hall. It was actually one of the large reasons I moved in where I did. I can look out my front window and see the amazing building. My boyfriend and I have been referring to it as "The Castle". Yesterday, we ventured into Kenyon Hall for the first time, and were awe struck by both the beauty and destruction. It's terrible how it has been left in such disrespect. He jokingly said to me last night "I would like to spend some time in there each day with a broom cleaning it up. Then I would move our recliner into the tower and making it my reading room." While this comment was in jest, it got me really thinking about cleaning it up. I also want to go down to the city and find out if I can round up some volunteers and be granted access to clean it up. There must be a way to save it, right?No matter the outcome of the beautiful neglect, your photos are astounding and an amazing display of what happens when a building is left the way it was.Also, if you don't mind my asking, why did you swear to never go back inside?
Ariel -- Why did I swear? I believe it had much to do with the mold we encountered and the effect it had on our health. The place was beautiful beyond words, though, and given another chance to photograph it, I wouldn't hesitate. But I would wear a respirator.So much for vows...
How very sad. I too attended church here for awhile. It needed a lot of repair even then. But it was both eerie and cool to think of the history that flowed through those rooms. I think of it fondly.
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