The Eldridge School

In central North Dakota sits the almost deserted town of Eldridge. With nothing but a few houses and no more than a dozen residents left, Eldridge is barely hanging on. The only reminder that this was once a fairly populated city is the ghost of a school nestled away in the far corner of town.

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Someone has certainly taken measures to try and preserve this brick beauty, but like many other old structures, teenagers have found their way inside and have certainly made their mark. Beer cans and destroyed furniture can be found in every room, but even so, you can’t help but marvel at the carved wood room dividers and the love that must have gone into building this school.

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As if the room dividers weren’t enough to make me swoon, once we gained the courage to climb the pitch black staircase, my fellow explorer and I were greeted by even more beautiful details.  Between the glass pained and carved trim to the intricate doorknobs and rusty hooks, I had to just stand there for a moment and take in what once was. Even the peeling walls hold their own simple form of beauty.
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Although this old school will likely never be saved from it’s dark fate, it certainly provides a little glimpse into another age.  I may be “old fashioned” for someone so young, but I can’t help but wish every building was given so character and personality.

My Journey Here and The Mismatch House

Since stumbling upon my first house while driving the back roads of my hometown six or so years ago, my process of hunting locations has changed drastically and oddly led to the development of this blog.  As an ever expanding community, there are hundreds of photographers out there in love with urban exploration and more than willing to share their love with others.  They are in all corners of the world and yet, there are very few people documenting and sharing the obscure locations of the North.

As a native Minnesotan, I am amazed that so many beautiful locations have never been documented!  Besides my fellow explorers over at Ghosts of Minnesota, there are virtually no groups or communities dedicated to our region of the map.  In addition to my desire to share my passion with the world, this lack of northern documentation led me to the idea of starting this blog.  Why not bring my love of abandoned buildings to a place that is more personal and accessible to those that are hunting the web for locations just like me?  After years of uploading to flickr and facebook, I want to reach out in a new way to my fellow explorers and abandoned enthusiasts!

With that said, I introduce you to one of my favorite places:

The Mismatch House

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This house was nothing more than an accidental find, but it remains close to my heart to this day.

  While heading home after exploring some well documented sites in southern Minnesota, my best friend and I stumbled upon this very odd house.  Barely standing on a few remaining cement blocks, this was nothing more than a shell of a house.  A few weeks before this picture was taken I was married to someone I thought I would be with forever.  Little did I know, it would take a divorce, many months of crying and a few more of isolation to realize how lost I had been.

In a relationship spanning 7 years, I had completely forgotten who I was.  On the outside I was trying to be who he wanted, who my family wanted and who everyone else wanted.  In the end, I turned into a dark shell that barely resembled a person at all.  I was this house as many may see it.  An ugly mismatch of broken pieces and an empty structure.

  In the months that followed, I started to rediscover myself.  My family and friends surrounded me in so much light and love.  Suddenly, I realized it was okay to be exactly who I was, not what I thought I should be.  I spent years thinking I needed to be the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend… In this process I was constantly changing who I was.

Maybe it was the depression and low self esteem, or maybe it was simply the innate desire to make everyone happy that made it take so long to realize the truth.  I didn’t have to be shiny and perfect on the outside for people to love me.  If I just accepted my imperfections and let myself be who I was, the people that mattered would see the beauty in me as well.  In the end, I am still this house.

What changed?  The view.

 Some people may see this house as ugly and deserving of destruction.  And in some ways maybe it is.  It is a mismatch that shows the weathering of time it has endured.  For awhile, this is what I was.  Lost and unable to see the beauty in myself.  Now?  I have found a way to see myself as okay just the way I am.  I finally understand that I don’t have to change for other people to see me as something beautiful as well.  Beauty doesn’t have to be perfection… Like they say, it is in the eye of the beholder.

Scars and imperfections just make us unique and I am determined to see the beauty.