Like many people I adore abandoned, run down places. I don’t know why but I am simply fascinated by the places people leave behind. Maybe because they appear to have been enjoyed, or at least consumed, by people and are then are further ingested by neglect and the elements.
So back in 2002 while driving in Utah my husband and I turned off the main road in search of Grafton – a little town that had been abandoned in the late 1800s. It was wonderful to wander around the poignant remains of the few farmhouses, barns and church that were there. I was in grunge heaven then, with only my point and shoot camera.
So on our recent trip to Zion National Park last month we made a planned detour to revisit Grafton because I wanted to play there with my spiffier whizbang camera. After first missing the unassuming turnoff we urged our rental car several miles down a rutted dirt road, passing a few new luxury desert homes that neither of us recalled being there on our first trip. When we rolled into Grafton I discovered it once again had been changed by time – it was nicer. It was cleaner. It was being refurbished? UGH! I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Ok, a lot disappointed. Do not misunderstand – I am all for the preservation of the whole world’s heritage just not when I’m specifically searching for its forgotten places. The organization that’s restoring Grafton is doing a wonderful job – no easy task considering the extreme terrain and climate in which it stands. I imagine Grafton will be a museum soon, it’s almost one now. It’s no longer a ghost town, more like the ghost of a ghost town.
I never really found my groove but ignoring the padlocks and climbing the fence I spent most of my time at this homestead. I’d like to say it was because I found it more enchanting than the other buildings down the road but honestly it was because there were people at the other end of town. No ghosts, people.