‘A parallel universe’: From juke joints to feed stores, the humble beauty of America’s forgotten roadside buildings celebrated in a mesmerising new photo book
- Photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daley took pictures of over 100 forgotten buildings across the U.S
- They published them in a coffee table book called Backroads Buildings – In Search Of The Vernacular
- The tome contains pictures of cafés, halls, cobblers’ shops, tinkers’ sheds and even a coffin warehouse
Venture down America’s backroads and you’ll find, in the words of photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daley, ‘a parallel universe’, a world of lost-in-time buildings ‘that often goes unnoticed’.
In a series of road trips the pair, who live in New York City, trained their lenses on over 100 forgotten buildings from New England to the Deep South and published the resulting images in a mesmerising coffee table book called Backroads Buildings – In Search Of The Vernacular (Schiffer Publishing).
The tome contains pictures of roadside cafés, feed stores, grange halls, juke joints, general stores, cobblers’ shops, tinkers’ sheds and even a coffin warehouse.
In the foreword, Brian Wallis says: ‘These modest workaday structures were built to accommodate a robust traffic in products and services and were assumed to be temporary, even ephemeral; they were constructed without architects, expanded or contracted to suit their immediate purposes, and preserved not through careful restoration but through ongoing use and routine maintenance. Now, miraculously, they have survived the insistent destructiveness of the modernist ideology of newness.
‘Not only are these buildings sturdy survivors, but their hardened frames have ensured a succession of new purposes or reuses. These are imperishable American ruins, not razed and replaced, but enduring through recycling and sustainability.’
Scroll down for a journey back in time, to an America altogether more humble in its beauty…
Photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daley captured over 100 forgotten buildings for their book Backroads Buildings – In Search Of The Vernacular. Above is a double wagon shed in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Pictured left is a gardener’s shed in Schoharie County, New York. On the right is Scott Patent Church in Broome, New York state
Granny’s Fishing Gear in Montgomery County, Virginia. Writing in the foreword of Backroads Buildings, Brian Wallis says ‘these are imperishable American ruins, not razed and replaced, but enduring through recycling and sustainability’
A windmill-topped pump house that Gross and Daley discovered in Baiting Hollow, New York
An overgrown church in Preston Hollow, New York State. Steve Gross and Susan Daley describe the world of forgotten buildings they discovered as ‘a parallel universe’
Cold Spring Hotel, Greene County, New York. Wallis says that many of the buildings in the book have been preserved ‘not through careful restoration but through ongoing use and routine maintenance’
A Gothic riverside house that Gross and Daley found in Phoenicia, New York, as they crisscrossed America by car
A freight siding at Cranberry Station in New Jersey. Gross and Daley urge travellers to slow down and notice the details
The Dutch Reformed Church in Breakabeen, New York, which Mother Nature has partially reclaimed
Backroads Buildings – In Search Of The Vernacular by Steve Gross and Susan Daley, with a foreword by Brian Wallis, is published by Schiffer Publishing, priced $39.99