July 02, 2008
Old Friends, Long Gone
Posted by scott at July 02, 2008 12:42 PM
I found the one with the abandoned waterslide especially poignant, I guess because Olivia and I spent many fun hours at various (indoor!) water parks around here last winter, and seeing one abandoned made me realize I won't always be able to do that.
Via Violins and Starships.
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This is actually a relatively common phenomenon in the U.S. as well. The expansion of the YMCA and YWCA movement in the late nineteenth and earliety twentieth centuries saw the building of some rather fabulous residence/social halls that reflected the dominent architectural styles and decorative motifs that were popular at the time. As social norms changed through the late twentieth century--concurrently with an increasing focus on fitness and a need for 'modern' or 'up-to-date' facilities--the YM and YW facilities that were built around the turn of the twentieth century were abandoned or modified, with a considerable change in their programming. This change also coincides with a change in demographics during and after the 1960s, when 'downtown' became the 'inner city' in more urban communities. The link specifically calls to mind an *amazing* Mediterranean Revival-Style YMCA on Chattanooga's south side that has a wonderful Elizabethan Revival-Style interior. Vacant. Deteriorating. It is at least owned by someone interested in an adaptive reuse of the building. It is unfortunate that many more of these structures face a less fortunate fate.