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Grande Failings


Grande Failings

Lost places, like this shuttered resort, stand as unique objects of fascination for many reasons. Oftentimes it's because these locations have come to exist in a state contrary to their constructed roles. In this case, we may find initial captivation in the absolute silence where thousands once gathered with their families. Beyond that though, there is something arguably more profound which ties all these places together. A common thread which entwines every abandoned structure and property – Time. Human history, all history really, crests and recedes like the waterline along the shore. Popular culture rises and falls, profitability rises and falls, communities rise and fall, nations rise and fall. The waters of time endlessly rise and fall. And after the tide has retreated these places remain in the wake, like cast-off shells upon a beach.

Some time after our arrival a large storm began to stir at the outskirts of the valley. It came on slowly at first, as the sunny day gradually greyed over. Eventually though, the storm gathered force and with it a purple-hued darkness which stood as a wall along the edge of the valley. There it remained though, held at bay by strong updrafts which perpetually carry through the basin. Frustrated it loudly thundered at the edge of the ridges around us, forever tumbling upon itself without gaining ground. At times it looked not unlike a great obsidian wave breaking upon a bluff. Occasionally its cries shook the walls of the old resort, but even though the outlying mountains were ringed with near black, above us was never more than a haze of light grey. The air became cool, as the warmth was sucked away by the storm-front, but we remained dry at the center of the turmoil around us. As it tends to be with storms of this force though, the events were short lived. In little time the thundering from the mountains fell silent, and the grey of the sky dissolved back to blue. What just moments ago was all-encompassing, now may as well have never existed at all. Much like the decaying resort we had taken shelter within.

The original buildings on these grounds opened to the public in 1903, with much of what is currently standing dating from the 1950s and '60s, including the distinctive tower building which rises high above all else. By the time the resort was shuttered it had served the region for over a century. Considering the long lifespan of the old resort makes the grounds today all the more sombre. Generations of families vacationed here. Parents bringing their children, just as their own parents had brought them. There is no doubt that the silence which now embraces this property is saturated with memories of those who knew it in far happier times than these.

Some places cry out their stories, their histories, to those who visit. You may have felt this for yourself when visiting a site of some significance. Places steeped with history tend to exude it in a way that isn't easily explained. It's as if simply laying your hand upon the cold walls of an old building helps you to better understand it. Perhaps it's simply human instinct to reach out and touch something you wish to learn more about. A tactile sense somehow linked to our minds, left over from eons past. A sensibility which we have collectively evolved beyond, but endures nonetheless. That voice was absent here.

Throughout all these halls, quarters, and common spaces, no grand proclamations of the past were to be found. All that remained were the low moans of a tired building, pitch shadows, and a deep-seated rot. Numerous items remained from the heydays of the resort, but coming upon those remnants felt less like glimpsing cherished mementos, and more like one was rummaging through the possessions of a deceased person. As we toured the grounds it seemed as if this is a place was not only utterly given up on, but that it had also given up.

In the end though, it's reasonable to think that this place never had a voice to begin with, not a singular one anyway. This resort lived as a hub for others to create their own stories and memories within its walls, and by that accord the last of its life went from this property the moment the final guest checked out nearly a decade ago.

 The cavernous central lobby.

The lobby as it were in the 1970s, before modernization.

 A fallen globe from a ceiling fixture rests upon a bed of wet plaster.

 Dining area of the top floor suite.

 The tower was constructed later in the life of the resort, a vertical annex meant to combat the horizontal sprawl of the previous additions.

 Ferns grow plentifully within a ground floor corridor.

 View from the suite.

Fine white hairs of the molds and mosses which grow upon the dining hall carpet.