dead delta: mushroom picker's residence

 

This is the first installment of a photographic series I am calling dead delta, which examines the shuttered, decaying, and derelict structures in Delta Junction, Alaska where I live. 

the mushroom picker's residence

For years I have been jogging past an abandoned property in the woods next to Nistler Road. Sandwiched between farmland and inhabited residences, the property doesn't call much attention to itself. On the plot lies a mobile home (a mid-1950's era Spartan trailer) with an adjoining shack and two nearby barns. Nature has been busy reclaiming what it can, certainly with the help of a few vandals over the years. Various debris scattered inside the home (food & beverage containers, shopping circulars, etc.) suggests whoever lived there died or suddenly abandoned the property around 1986, the same year I was born. I wonder what happened to them, if they had any relatives, and why no one bothered to keep up or sell this property in the subsequent decades. Despite the passage of time, there are still plenty of clues scattered around the property that give some insight into how the resident(s) lived and how much they enjoyed their plot of land. Some of these are contained in the images below:

 Streaks left on the exterior of the Spartan trailer tell the story of growing trees. This trailer is a 1955 or 1956 model according to comparisons with images I found online. I imagine it has been sitting in the same spot for at least 50 years now, maybe 60. Hand-built walkways and fencing surrounding the mobile home have been almost completely subsumed by the forest.

Streaks left on the exterior of the Spartan trailer tell the story of growing trees. This trailer is a 1955 or 1956 model according to comparisons with images I found online. I imagine it has been sitting in the same spot for at least 50 years now, maybe 60. Hand-built walkways and fencing surrounding the mobile home have been almost completely subsumed by the forest.

 All the windows have been busted out of the residence, but the view is still nice. Like most similar properties there are liquor bottles left behind by partying kids and perhaps some temporary squatters. Much of the piping and some of the appliances & fixtures are missing from the home, probably stolen over the years or 'salvaged' depending on how you look at it. The only piece of furniture left behind is a ragged couch flipped on its back.

All the windows have been busted out of the residence, but the view is still nice. Like most similar properties there are liquor bottles left behind by partying kids and perhaps some temporary squatters. Much of the piping and some of the appliances & fixtures are missing from the home, probably stolen over the years or 'salvaged' depending on how you look at it. The only piece of furniture left behind is a ragged couch flipped on its back.

 I only noticed these mushrooms stored in the shelves above the main window in the previous image by their awful stench. Some of them were relatively intact despite being decades old, probably preserved from being dried and kept out of the elements and sunlight.

I only noticed these mushrooms stored in the shelves above the main window in the previous image by their awful stench. Some of them were relatively intact despite being decades old, probably preserved from being dried and kept out of the elements and sunlight.

 The Pay 'n Save contest entry form lying among the leaves and debris next to the bathtub was for an all-inclusive Alaska Airlines trip from Anchorage to California. "Prize must be utilized prior to September 15, 1986." Other Pay 'n Save shopping circulars are lying elsewhere in the home. The Pay 'n Save name was retired in 1992. Was the nearest one in Fairbanks?

The Pay 'n Save contest entry form lying among the leaves and debris next to the bathtub was for an all-inclusive Alaska Airlines trip from Anchorage to California. "Prize must be utilized prior to September 15, 1986." Other Pay 'n Save shopping circulars are lying elsewhere in the home. The Pay 'n Save name was retired in 1992. Was the nearest one in Fairbanks?

 The design on this Pepsi can was used from 1973 to 1991. Several other Pepsi cans and bottles are scattered around the property, suggesting it was the owner's drink of choice. I remember when this Pepsi can design and the Mountain Dew can design were changed when I was a little kid and asking my parents why Pepsi would change them.

The design on this Pepsi can was used from 1973 to 1991. Several other Pepsi cans and bottles are scattered around the property, suggesting it was the owner's drink of choice. I remember when this Pepsi can design and the Mountain Dew can design were changed when I was a little kid and asking my parents why Pepsi would change them.

 A coupon on the back of this cracker box expired on September 30, 1986. There's a can of pepperoni under the sink and a can of chili laying on the floor near the cracker box. The package designs appear old but somehow the food containers help me easily picture someone bringing home groceries, stocking the cupboards, cooking dinner on the missing oven, doing dishes in the weathered sink...

A coupon on the back of this cracker box expired on September 30, 1986. There's a can of pepperoni under the sink and a can of chili laying on the floor near the cracker box. The package designs appear old but somehow the food containers help me easily picture someone bringing home groceries, stocking the cupboards, cooking dinner on the missing oven, doing dishes in the weathered sink...

 The head of this cow carcass in the barn seems a little too well preserved to be 30+ years old but I could be wrong. I didn't notice it among the debris until the bright white teeth caught my eye. There's a cow pasture across the street and I assume one got loose or perhaps was poached and this is where it ended up. The barns themselves are still in decent shape and the debris found in and around them suggest their owner worked studiously on the property.

The head of this cow carcass in the barn seems a little too well preserved to be 30+ years old but I could be wrong. I didn't notice it among the debris until the bright white teeth caught my eye. There's a cow pasture across the street and I assume one got loose or perhaps was poached and this is where it ended up. The barns themselves are still in decent shape and the debris found in and around them suggest their owner worked studiously on the property.

 The shack adjoining the Spartan trailer was built with an aligning window and doorway. The conversion of the mobile trailer into a permanently fixed residence symbolically tells me the owner had no plans to go anywhere and must have enjoyed their cozy, functional residence, which also fits perfectly in rural Alaska.

The shack adjoining the Spartan trailer was built with an aligning window and doorway. The conversion of the mobile trailer into a permanently fixed residence symbolically tells me the owner had no plans to go anywhere and must have enjoyed their cozy, functional residence, which also fits perfectly in rural Alaska.