Sunday, January 10, 2010

PA Ghost Town Revival

This is the story of a town that is actually worse off than Ashtabula. the link is to a story that I believe everyone should read.

Braddock Pennsylvania is one of the Rust Belt towns that was truly dead in the water.

I quote the article word for word off MSNBC here: "In the 1920s, the height of the Industrial Revolution, Braddock — about 10 miles from Pittsburgh — was a thriving suburban metropolis of 20,000 with a density similar to that of Brooklyn. Today, the population has hollowed out to under 3,000."

Here's another quote, one that should make you shake in your shoes: "Residents are preparing to welcome a film crew that will soon start shooting the movie version of writer Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel 'The Road,' using Braddock's forlorn streets as a backdrop.

"Even Hollywood knows where to find good post-apocalyptic America," says Fetterman.

Yet, even in this tangled horror story there is an interesting development. Even the tiny faltering population of 3,000 people needs to eat. Braddock Farms was founded in 2007, vacant lots turned into an urban farm. The plan for the 2009 growing season was 75 jobs. This would have been a mighty uptick in a population of 3,000 people.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find data on the project for this year.

As a writer, I'm interested in stories, all kinds of stories, the stories of cities and people – of growth and change – not just fiction, not just romance. This country is in transition, people like Fetterman are devoting their lives to renewing and restoring.

It's an uphill battle.

2 comments: said...

This was an interesting post. There are so many little towns that just die without fanfare, especially in the midwest, I think. One that you might be interested in, though was a happy ending. I can't remember the name of the town, I think it's in Kansas and a tornado wiped it completely off the map. The people rebuilt and turned the whole town into a 'green' town now. If I can think of the name, I'll let you know.

Ms Kitty said...

I'm originally from just a small town. Though mine is still dying - half the population left in the 80's.

We went back this summer, there were weeds four feet tall growing in the cracks on Main Street.

I think the town in Kansas is 'Greenville'. That was probably one of the first stories I read on the subject.

"Hollowing out the Middle" is a great book on the subject, too.

Braddock is one of the worst - if you follow the links you will see where the buildings are literally falling down on their Main Street.