In the last couple of years, there were a couple dozen hold outs who refused to leave. You could drive through town and see people just hanging out together outside. They were very friendly and didn't seem to mind folks coming through to take pictures of the abandoned structures. It was eerie when you would drive by a home that looked completely untouched and hear wind chimes that were left hanging, but when you looked in the windows and doors, there was nothing left but rotting furniture, clothes and other items that were sitting there just as they had been left.
All remaining structures were supposed to be demolished last month. I heard that a photographer has been arrested for going in and trying to take pictures. So I wanted to post the photos that I have taken. I look at them often and wonder about the people who's lives used to fill this town, lived in the houses, attended the church.
Please know that I had permission from the folks there to take these pictures and I took them with utmost respect and dignity. My hope is that many people were able to get photographs, videos and even interviews so that Picher, Oklahoma and it's citizens won't be forgotten.
|Jar of buttons upturned in tornado|
|Picnic bench where miners used to take breaks and eat lunch.|
|Break area for miners|
|Plaque outside of churh|
|Birds built nest in the chat piles|
set up as if the tornado hit, the people ran for
cover and never came back. Everything was
just as it should have been, except that it was
fading and smelled of mould.
Every once in a while we came across bright
pops of color like this red tree in the photo above. It was a little unsettling. Was there life here or not? It was as if life was trying to hold on.
|House with branch through the roof.|
This is one of the very few homes that was still occupied. They took very good home of their home and yard. You could sense that they wanted to show their pride in where they lived.
|Occupied Green House|
There was a long street lined with empty stores and businesses. I tried to imagine little cafes and general stores. There were some items in the buildings that, just like the homes, were left in a moments notice (probably during the tornado) and you could tell that no one ever came back!
Another sad empty house that only left me wondering
who used to live here. Some photographers went
inside and looked all through these homes. I didn't
have the heart to do so. Something inside me wanted
to be so respectful, even though the people who lived
here were long gone and they were never coming
|Boys and Girls Club|
I think these areas where the kids and teens
spent their free time were the saddest for me.
What must they think about everything that
happened to their town? Were they sick from
the metals in the ground and water? Were
they able to go to other towns and make friends
and be happy?
|Girl's Softball Park|
|Abandoned Home on the Outskirts of Town|
|Abandoned Trailer With Pink Stove|
This odd assortment of chimes was the
only noise that you could really hear all
over town. We walked up and down
every street and all we heard were these
chimes blowing in the wind. I have always
loved wind chimes, but there was some-
thing very unsettling about these.
The handwritten sign over this front door reads "If
you come in and steal from us, you will be filmed
and arrested." Note the branch in the roof.
I have so many more pictures from the town of Picher, Oklahoma, but I think you get the idea. It's so hard to imagine that a bustling community can just disappear like dust in the wind. I hope that every single resident
who left Picher found a bright, cheery and healthy place to live. I know to the onlooker, Picher appears to
be drab and devoid of life, but there was once a lot of life there and those lives matter!