How many years or decades are needed for us to change our community habits? Pablo Iglesias Maurer took the habit of discovering once-favored places to answer this question. He has been doing this as a hobby for ten years now. As a child, he moved from Boston to Nashville, and that time as he describes Nashville had an industrial overlook which is a bit dark and gloomy for a child. As he tried to get to know the city, he explored the abandoned sites. Marathon Motor Works was his first love.
Professionally so to say, it all started again with an old matchbook that caught Maurer’s eye standing on his study desk. There was a picture of a building on it, a honeymoon resort called Penn Hills which was located in Pennsylvania. The picture was a postcard and was taken around the 1960s. Maurer got curious about how the place would look today and took his camera with him to find it out. However, he found no one but a deserted establishment.
What he photographed when he first discovered the deserted building of Penn Hills Resort stuck with him, so he commenced his photography series called “Abandoned States”.
He ordered postcards from the internet and traveled across the United States. He photographed the differences between the states of establishments more or less 70 years apart. Looking at those photographs make oneself nostalgic as well as question the changing values and understanding of community life.
More of the indoor pool at Grossinger’s. The tiled floor was heated, the entire structure air-conditioned. Above, beautiful mid-century “Sputnik” chandeliers cast a glow on the swimmers below. Below the pool are exercise rooms, a gym, salon, and a host of other amenities. The pool has sat vacant since the late ’90s and has fallen beyond repair.
Grossinger’s outdoor pool, Olympic-sized, built in 1949 at a cost of $400,000 (about $5 million in today’s market.) Long gone are the private cabanas, changing room, and lounges that used to surround it.
The browns and reds and oranges of this Poconos dining hall’s carpet have turned green, the color of the moss that’s taken its place.
The Homowack Lodge now sits abandoned on the southern edge of the famed “Borscht Belt.” On its lower level, maybe the highlight of the place, a four-lane Brunswick bowling alley. It has seen better days. The resort closed in the mid-2000s but lived on briefly, first as a Hasidic resort and lastly as the site of a summer camp—one which was forced to shut down after the NY Department of Environmental Conservation deemed it uninhabitable.
Grossinger’s indoor tennis center. The rear of the postcard is an ad for Grossinger’s rye bread, a local staple during the resort’s operation. Resort royalty Jenny Grossinger lays out the pitch: “The fun and fresh air people get here at Grossinger’s really gives them an appetite. They love all of our food – and a particular favorite is our Grossinger’s rye and pumpernickel bread. Now you can get this same healthy, flavorful bread at your local food store. Try a loaf. I’m sure you’ll love it.”
Sunbathing and swimming in the Poconos. Postmarked, 1967. “Dear Jonnie: If you were only here, I would take you out for a horse-back ride – or else we could go golfing. Be good until I see you. Dr. Waterman.”
After a fire destroyed the main building at this resort in the Poconos, a replacement went up in the early 70’s. It is a truly striking sight, a modernist spaceship tucked away deep in the woods.
The indoor pool at Grossinger’s, which opened in 1958. Elizabeth Taylor attended the pool’s opening, and Florence Chadwick – the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions – took the first dip in it. From Ross Padluck’s excellent “Lost Architecture of Paradise”: “…The new indoor pool at Grossinger’s was the zenith of the Catskills. Nothing quite like it had ever been built, and nothing ever would be again. It represented everything about the Catskills in the 1950s-style: extravagance, luxury, modernism, and celebrity.”
The caption on the back of this Pocono resort’s postcard touts this theater as the “resort world’s most modern showplace.” With a capacity of 1200, it remains splendorous even in disrepair. This postcard is also postmarked and filled out. “Having a lovely weekend here. All pleasure – the only exercise is rowing a boat and playing shuffleboard! Nice to be lady-like and not “rushing” about! We will see you soon.”