Abandoned but not forgotten

Visually documenting the decaying dwellings of rural South Carolina
Saint Johns Church in Garnett South Carolina by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

For years, I’ve been traveling to and from rural South Carolina to visit family living along the Georgia state line.

Each time I visit, the journey is peppered with the sight of desolate buildings and abandoned homes, churches, and stores from town to town.

I always wonder about these forgotten dwellings during our many drives down south but even more so when I happen to learn who used to live at such and such location; or when I’m told the name of whatever convenience store that had once thrived long ago.

One day, I plan to drive down south without the kids or any family members and just hop from town to town, visually documenting (by way of drawings, paintings, or photography … still deciding) so many of these vacated homes and dilapidated commercial buildings.

I long to somehow capture a shred of their decaying existence to salvage, if at all possible, their once-upon-a-time moments, no matter how faded such memories might be today.

That intended journey, however, is more of a future personal project.

Getting back to the present day, I was able to snap a pic of an abandoned, lonely building I always happen to drive on by during my many travels down south.

The featured image above showcases my photo of Saint Johns Church; an old, vacated church located in the heart of Garnett, South Carolina.

Year after year, this old church seems to sit ever so quietly along the intersection of two country roads. I see cars drive on by the church time and again, possibly never giving the vacated church much, if any, thought as they head in and out of town.

Yet I always wonder why the church remains discarded and empty, without much attention, year after year.

I wonder such things and many other such thoughts about all the old buildings I see, and most of what I wonder I assume I’ll never have all the answers to.

Still, I’m excited to have finally taken the time to photograph this Garnett-based church.

The timing of the photo was perfect too: you can see the South Carolinian sun as it gradually descends along the adjacent tree line, all the while lining the sky and surrounding scenery in its golden light and orange splendor.

There’s not much information online about Saint Johns Church, at least not that I’ve come across. The starkness of findable information, to me, underscores the importance of my recent photo capturing effort, which I hope helps preserve the church’s distant memory in a small but valuable way.

~ Mayra

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