Welcome to the Rural Ruins Project: Documenting the passage of rural America.

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→About Rural Ruins

The purpose of this project is to document the passing history of rural and agricultural architecture using photography.

On this website you will find a gallery of images that serve to photographically document America's passing rural history. This project may prove useful to genealogical researchers, architects, historians and those who are just interested in rural photographs. Today these are photographs of existing objects. One hundred years from now, or perhaps twenty or ten or even one, many of these objects will no longer exists as houses or barns or brick-lined wells or windmills or silos. Eventually they will be gone, lost.

The idea that started this project was sparked after seeing my father's one room school demolished to make space for grain bins. Once in a while my wife and I would drive past the old run-down building and I would tell her that the old building should be photographed before it falls apart or is torn down. One day, in its place stood a large backhoe on a fresh patch of soil. The question, "why didn't I photograph that before now," smacked into my forehead rather solidly.

I started looking at local plat maps, some more than 100 years old, and compared them to the houses and barns still standing. Nearly none of the old buildings still existed.

And the idea grew. I located old photos I had taken of that one room school house several years ago. Then I found more; photos of an old Methodist church raized ten years ago, photos of an old windmill that hasn't existed for more than twenty years, photos showing a prosperous grain operation some thirty five years ago; now nearly destroyed due to exposure and general neglect.

Over the course of the next several months I saw the loss of many old buildings. 'These places need to be recorded,' I thought. And, so I started taking geotagged photos of old agricultural structures using my cell phone. It wasn't enough. More information, more detail was necessary; and so, after a good deal of research I created this website.

It is the fault of no one group of people that these places are pulled down or allowed to simply decay. There are as many reasons for this as there are old rural structures. However, there is no excuse to NOT record the existance of these structures so future generations can see what existed then.

Helping this project is simple. Browse to the How to Contribute page and get read how to get started and contribute to the Rural Ruins Project.

A quick note about this website is probably necessary. This is a hobby; a personal project, not something that is meant to make money. So, at this time, no advertisements will be on this website. When hosting costs too much, I might reconsider this. Also, the main website is coded in simple and pure HTML to optimize speed and page size. The Piwigo gallery software was selected based on its leanness, simplicity and ability to easily integrate a photo's geotag into a graphic map.

This website and its design is the brainchild of Ken Linder. All content is copyright by Ken Linder unless otherwise noted, and may be freely used for all not-for-profit and educational purposes with proper attribution. Main website is handcrafted in pure HTML. Piwigo is the gallery software of choice used on this site. RuralRuins.com is proudly hosted at Blue Host.