During the course of my interview on KNTR radio in Lake Havasu City last Monday the topic turned toward modern ghost towns. At the time I had not given it a great deal of thought but in retrospect now see that the uncertain economic times and the quest for understanding by seeking answers from the past may be a contributing factor in the sales success of Ghost Towns of the Southwest
Several months ago I had been discussing this book with Mr. Schulman of BBC America when the topic turned toward the creation of ghost towns in the modern era. It was the same turn that the interview with KNAU had taken.
This mornings bout of introspection soon had me thinking about the book just finished, Ghost Towns of Route 66. For the most part the towns included in this book are ghost towns of the modern era, towns once brightly lit with colorful neon, with service stations that never closed, and the most modern of conveniences from automotive dealerships to motels with Magic Finger beds.
Deep into this line of thought, seasoned with the recent news that Amos Publishing is pulling the plug on Cars & Parts magazine after more than a half century, I perused similar topics on Google over breakfast. At the very least it was a fascinating adventure that left me with an unshakable sense that we have turned a corner in American societal evolution and the future that is now upon us is a rather unnerving place fraught with uncertainty.
First, I wandered the dark recesses of the Ruins of Detroit website. At first the exploration through the ruins of a lost civilization were quite fascinating and then a cold shiver ran down my spine as the realization dawned this lost civilization was the one of my youth.
As a kid we took field trips to the Detroit zoo or went out to the island. When visiting families we often drove through the shadowed canyons of Detroit’s heart. It was here that America produced the land yachts bedecked with glittering chrome that cruised legendary Route 66 and the vintage work horses that transported me deep into the wilderness of the desert southwest.
My next step on this voyage of dark, contemplative discovery was to a website featuring a photo gallery of haunting images from modern ghost towns. As the clock ticked by the seconds and minutes I found myself a modern archaeologist deciphering the remnants of a lost world.
The search continued with a sobering article from the Las Vegas Sun. As I perused the photo gallery of a modern housing development being reclaimed by the desert another chill ran the length of my spine.
These may not be the worst of times or the best of times. However, these are most definitely changing times with an emphasis on rapidly.
As I have spent most of the past two years amongst the ghost of the past perhaps the next endeavor should be ghosts of the modern era. Perhaps I could entitle it “The Present As Seen From the Future” with a subtitle of “Future History Stories.”