Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No School Today!

I started writing this one a long time ago, and I've changed it so much that I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say here ...

I started out intending to do a mini photo-essay on an abandoned school in an all but abandoned town, Beebeetown, Iowa.

The US Midwest is sprinkled very heavily with what I call "Little Home Towns", you know, those places where people are from, which are very nice places to live, but which are not particularly those places you would want to visit. :)

These will have a highway exit, "Food and Lodging", and as you approach on the local road you'll see that all of the churches welcome you, as do the local service clubs, and the local athletic team boosters. Go Panthers!

It's hard to tell if Beebeetown ever really fit this mold.

There's not that much information out there about Beebeetown!

I googled it, and got mostly those machine-generated generic pages intended to spew interminable ads toward those in search of information. "Find timeshares in Beebeetown ..." yeah, right!

It's almost as if Beebeetown doesn't exist, or never existed!

I came upon Beebeetown while out one Sunday trying to capture some of the colors of autumn, which are incredibly brilliant, as I'm sure you know.

No, I didn't try to enter the building. I'm not that adventurous. Yes, there are countless pages on the Web about "Urban Spelunking", exploring abandoned and falling-apart buildings. This isn't one of them! :)

What we have here, gang, is a ghost town being born! No, not like those where they have the honky-tonk piano in the saloon with the swinging doors, and the staged gunfights and the gift shop, what we have here is a town that once was, still continues to be, to an extent, but may be no more shortly.

Uncle Mike's, nee Ed's Place, is, or rather was a "Beer Joint", and was once the social center of the town. According to one who is from the area, they even held concerts out back when it was Ed's Place.

Dead Stuckey's, perchance? Whatever it is, or rather was, it is, or was at the Beebeetown exit of Route 80.

Oh well ...

Maybe I should just stick to shooting the colors of autumn, huh?


markw said...

That's a wonderful photo essay. Makes me wish I could run amok in that town with a Yashicamat.

SurfOmaha said...

Nice blog! Love the pics!

brett said...

Contact me at typnhard4u@hotmail.com if yu would like history of BeBeeTown school andpics that were taken INSIDE the school AFTER it was condemned but BEFORE the floors started to seriously collapse...fellow photographer willing to share with those interested.

David said...

Love those photo's I live in Nashville now but when I lived in that area my band played at Uncle Mikes every other weekend and at times we had as many as 100 people if you can believe i. Mike was a rye guy with a serious pentionent for rye!, stories, folklore and in short everything you wish a bartender could be. We did organize three large out door concerts with something like fifteen bands over 2 days with camping and dancing in the sand volley ball court. We called it BeeBee town stock and all the bands played for free with the money all donated to Mike to help offset his propane bill and taxes. We would have done anuthing to keep what may have been one of the last true road houses alive. It was and is the best venue I have ever played. When a bar opened accross the street next to the BeeBee Mart it was too much and Mike went back to his job at the railroad. Sucha shame. We wrote a song about Uncle Mike's and it got some local airplay in Omaha on 105 and KKAR. Still have the shirts from BeeBeeTownStock and the memories. Dave Cathro, Nashville, TN david.cathro@comcast.net

Libby said...

last night a few friends and i got lost on the way to a party and ended up in the middle of nowhere. our other friends, who we were following, ran out of gas and we had to go search for a gas station. the nearest town was beebeetown. apparently there isn't a gas station there and the bar closes on saturday nights so we couldn't even go ask for help. i wish i had known it was a ghost town before we went driving through it during a thunderstorm at midnight!

Anonymous said...

I am orgionally from Beebeetown, while living there I didn't think much of the place. They had a little league softball team there that the locals would father together as a family and would enjoy. I once played on the team when I was a little gal, but come to find out they can barely keep the little league going do to finacial difficulties! The people are friend still after many years and evem though it may be dying off . . . it holds a dear place in may people's hearts!