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The Wedding Dress House

In the years 2000 and 2001, I lived on the northeast side of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Back then, I often drove past an abandoned farmhouse that stood on Maysville Road, just south of Stellhorn Road, on the very edge of the city.

The house didn't look that interesting from the outside, so I never bothered to stop there to photograph it. On the last Friday of 2000, I drove past the house again, and saw a bulldozer in the front yard. It was going to be demolished! I decided to go the next day to photograph it.

I photographed the outside of the house on Saturday, then noticed that a door was open. I went inside, and discovered the most amazing place. There was an old cast iron sink, with shampoo bottles still in the medicine cabinet above it. The living room had old steam radiators, and curtains still hung on the windows.

I couldn't photograph the interior that day, I was out of film, and the camera store closed in a half hour. I ran to my car, and called the store to tell them I was on my way to buy film, please wait for me! The store, Sunny Schick Camera Shop, is downtown. A long drive from the house on Maysville Road! They waited for me, and I bought the film I needed.

I went back to the house Sunday afternoon. The entire floor of the house was covered in ice. The stairs were as well, and there was no handrail. I don't know why I decided to walk up those icy stairs carrying my heavy tripod and bag of lenses, but I did. The bedrooms were not interesting at all, but I noticed a narrow hallway with a low ceiling. I walked down it, and found myself on the threshold of a walk-in attic!

The floor was covered in snow, and most of the roof was missing. Hanging from a hook in the ceiling was a white wedding dress, in a plastic bag. I knew that this was going to be one of the greatest photographs that I had ever made.

The house was demolished the next day, on January 1, 2001. Several years later, a gas station was built on the land where it once stood.




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