Roll #51: Abandonado

Good intentions and ambition, while admirable, often lead to failure. Failure can come in many forms, but most are fleeting. Humans are resilient. We dust off failure and get right back on our feet for another go. This resiliency of humankind and fleeting nature of our failures does not apply to the physical manifestations of our failed ventures. Evidence of this hypothesis is scattered throughout the world as abandoned buildings. While we move on with our lives, the edifices we constructed remain. They rust. They rot. They become a canvas for vandals. They become abandoned treasures.


One such treasure exists buried in the woods surrounding Ellicott City.


In the late 1700s the Ellicott brothers constructed a hotel and tavern adjacent to the B&O railroad station and Patapsco river which flowed parallel to the tracks. It was intended as a place to stop and rest, not a place to stay. Over time finer institutions popped up in locations near points of interest. Travelers began to bypass the facility, leading to its eventual demise. Knowing the opportunity was dead, the Ellicott brothers decided to cut their losses and sell the property to an organization which favored inconvenience: Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer


In 1868, the church began construction on what would later be called Saint Mary's College. The school, like most nunneries, monasteries, and religious institutions intended to remove people from the world, making its inconvenient location desirable. Early on, young men desiring to take up the cloth came from far and wide to study at the college. Little by little, the student body began to emaciate as the inconvenience became too great for modern times. In 1972, the college was abandoned.


Its skeleton remains.


Being adventurous and in need of getting out of the house, I grabbed an adventure pal and headed for the hills.

The stars are cracked---each step blunted by the treading of feet and passing of time. Vines, leaves, and dirt encased the concrete.

The walls surrounding the pool are a collage of impulsive decisions sprayed in paint.

There is a car that made the treacherous trek up the narrow, winding road but never made its journey back. Oxidation and gravity beckoned the begin of the end. Nature did the rest.

Another step, another leaf, another fork in the road.


Logs make their presence known in this steeple chase of abandon.

The dark limbs of trees hover thirty feet overhead---shifting in the wind like dancing fingers of the occult.

Every touch connects you to the present.


Every doorway a portal to the past.

Every step a journey.


Every climb a conquest.

A twist.


A knot.


An intertwining quorum of trees.

There is a water tank perched on a hill where rust is king. Each step up its ladder is a gamble someone will inevitably lose.

There are vines slowly sucking the life out of the forest. Although beautiful, they are the harbinger of death.

There is building falling apart---brick by brick.


If you sit close enough to the edge, you can see yourself.

Camera: Canon EOS Kiss III

Film: Ilford HP5 Plus

When: April 2020

Where: Ellicott City, MD

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay