If I really know you I might share my locations. Otherwise, no.

Friends, fans, colleagues and more. Please stop asking me for my locations. The answer will be no. There are maybe 2-3 photographers who do what I do that I would share my locations with. But, the thing is, they don’t ask. As for “why” I’m not sharing? I’ve several reasons. Look at the photos I’ve put up. That portable tv, the Electrolux and more are outside the building, someone took them out. My worry is that sooner or later someone gets noticed or the the volume of people going in gets noticed and the location burns down, or becomes inaccessible. Then there is safety to be considered. There is physical risks, sometimes from people. Homeless folks. I’ve run into them. Some harmless, some scary. I thank my size and “Friendly” looks, they keep many at bay. Police? Yes, several times I’ve been approached by them . Police have seldom hassled me because I’ve learned how to deal with them. Also, my Dad was a Homicide Detective. I really don’t want people going to a location I’ve told them about and find out they’ve come to injury, arrest or are dead. Finally, while I do post my photos from my explorations, they are NOT all of the photos I’ve shot at a location. I have more. In the end they are all content for my next book(s). Ya know, one o the ways I pay my bills. In short, “y’all asking for the 11 secret herbs and spices”. It’s not, gonna happen unless I have gone exploring with you.
Thanks, this has been my Jerry talk.

-Jerry Winnett, ForgottenTennessee.com

An old mansion hidden from the eyes.

Before me stood an old mansion skeletal trees giving it a sinister aspect. .

It was one of those Sunday mornings when all signs practically shouted “GO SHOOT! GO! EXPLORE”! So I did. My target was an old mansion a friend of mine had told me about. She said that the house was only visible during late Fall or better yet the start of Winter. She was not wrong. I’d driven by the old house, several times, and damned if it was enticing. All I could see from the side of the road was a peeked rook and columns.

That Sunday I did a few drive-byes, looking for the best route to approach from. It pays to do this if you’re going to explore the abandoned. Once I decided on a course I parked my car well off the road, grabbed my Canon 1D with its 17-40lens. Inside my go-bag sat my flashlight, water bottles, protein bar, knife and my Fuji Xe1. With everything ready I slung my camera over my back, inhaled the fresh air and trekked down around some boulders and into a clearing. I hiked for a few minutes and then entered a small copse of woods. The grass was tall, yellow and dead, many of the trees had gone bare, but those that still had their leaves provided excellent cover. Not too much longer I found myself pushing through some brush, finally I could see the house. The house stood dark and foreboding, around it lay half a dozen dead and rusting hulks.

Fully entombed.
The welcome mat was not out, nor was a comfortable seat offered.

Slowly I began making my way through the creepers, vines and saplings that entombed several cars, I ad no idea how long they’d sat around rusting away, but the fact that trees had begun to form rings around them spoke of decades gone by. An old light blue chevy pick up sat by itself and slightly behind it was an old AMC station wagon.

Sky blue, rusty red, its days of running have fled.

Crossing from one copse of trees I made way a little further from the the house looming behind me. To the left about thirty yards or so I could see some more older cars. An old Plymouth was on the ground, its passenger door wide open.

Wings baby!

Crouching down I shot some of the Plymouth’s interior, moved around to the left and shot some of the old car’s body then with a smile moved over to the even older 30’s era Dodge Coupe. Oh, my. This car must have been a real beauty in the past. Not that I didn’t find it beautiful now. I did. I loved the rusted patina, the curves that no car possess today, especially the fenders! I was in love.

Dodge Brothers
My eyes kept going back to that benighted roof line.

Back into the clearing I moved, not stopping until I stood in the yard. In front of me sat a plastic chair, to the left of my another old car and truck. A 60’s era Dodge of huge proportions, and a little Datsun with a magazine open on the trucks hood.

A dinosaur from Detroit sat in the yard.
This dates back to the Truman era.

I had to stop and shoot said publication, it was old. It was a great find. It gave some kind of a timeline of those who had lived in the house. The porch was a wreck. Old magazines, tools, papers, and the like made an unsteady carpet all the way into the gloomy interior. Pausing in the doorway I took a deep breath let is out and bracing my camera firmly I began to shoot the first room.

An ocean of detritus.
You’ve no idea how long I had to hold my breath.

An ocean of detritus dominated the main room. I walked around a bit, but the light was sparse and the floor was sketchy in the best places. Room two was something that looked like the entrance to hell itself.

Bottom floor, the Gate to Hell, all off.

Going through this room was a nerve tingling endeavor. Parts of the floor were firm, other parts were “squishy”. Yes, squishy. Fun times. I took the door to the left (the right was an exit), stepped through into a room with an enormous hole in the far wall.

Sit a spell before you go upstairs.
I really love discovering old pianos!

I spied another door and went into the Music Room! Where another piano of sorts dominated one wall. I’m really not sure the instrument was a piano or something else. Whatever it was, I liked it!

I loved the light that played across the surface of this beauty.
Wonderful light filled the room, that door with its stained glass was a favorite.
The way back out.

I walked out that door onto the front porch. Here I felt my hair rise. Did a ghost flick my ear? No, the boards under me sagged from age. Luckily for me they held. I sighed in relief. I stepped off the porch and starred for a bit at the wrap around balcony was built upon the porch’s roof. I imagine the balcony afforded a wonderful view.

I walked around to the side of the the house to better check out that enormous hole in the wall. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, what I got was truly a shock. The massive hole was caused by a collapsed chimney! bricks lay like a ramp leading up to the house. It was quite a sight! I loved it!

The chimney lay vomited upon the grass making a ramp leading into back into the house.

By this time I was growing a bit tired and decided to shoot just a little longer. I rounded the back and discovered another wrap around porch. This one was littered with discarded appliances and assorted brick a brac.

How this chair continues to stand is beyond me.
There’s a tea pot, short and stout.
Nothing sucks like an Electrolux!

Finally I felt I had shot all I really could and began the trek back through the trees. On my way though I stopped as I spied yet another old rusting truck that during the spring and Summer would have been consumed by the greenery. Walking over I began to shoot this latest find from the 40’s or 50’s.

Yet another TV, this one was portable.

Finally with one last look back at this house that was too proud to fall, I left with a feeling of contentment and an itch to look at what I had captured.

I hope you enjoyed this Forgotten Tennessee exploration into the abandoned. You can see more in my book Forgotten Tennessee available in most bookstores or simply click on the link https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Tennessee-Backroads-Roadside-Surprises/dp/1634991524/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=forgotten+tennessee&qid=1580969569&sr=8-1

A special book signing

I stopped by the Rutherford County Historical Society this morning at the invitation of James Allen Gooch. The occasion? To sign his copy of Forgotten Tennessee. I was happy to do so, after all, he is in the book.

And it looks like I will be a speaker at the Historical Society Feb. 16th, more info to come.

Green Machine

Walking up on this building the first thing we noticed is that the walls had for the most part fallen away.

In 2019 I and a fellow explorer Jay Farrell, decided to explore a derelict furniture factory in McKenzie, Tennessee. Below are photos taken from an out building that cut glass and mirrors for the factory. Gettinginto the structure still was no easy feat. The front of the building was cluttered with old and broken wooden frames and other random bits of this and that. But once in, we could see a building that was dominated by one large green machine.

On top of the walls having fallen away the ceiling wasn’t faring much better.

At first I’d no idea as to what the machine did but soon that question was answered. The green machine was a glass and mirror cutter.

I was amazed to find these mirrors unbroken. Another pallet was not as lucky.

Looks were deceiving though. What I thought to be a large machine turned out to actually be a very large machine indeed that took up two stories and had its own elevated walkway.

I walked along the gangway and shot the mirror cutter from afar but now I was wanting to get some detail shots in. This old machine is to be honest, damned cool.

Green for miles….
Looking up from below its still a stunning green machine.

No machine lasts forever, rust eats them all, eventually.

If you enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos, you might be interested in buying a copy of my book Forgotten Tennessee. Its available in most bookstores, Walmart, Target, Costco, anywhere that sells books. You may also order it by following this link https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Tennessee-Backroads-Roadside-Surprises/dp/1634991524/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Forgotten+Tennessee+the+book&qid=1578419500&sr=8-1

Mud Hollar Rd.

The front looked as if it had burst open.

Recently on a photo expedition with my buddy Jay Farrell we came across a road called Mud Hollar. Mud Hollar? with a name like that we were sure we’d find an abandoned house or shack of some sort. We were not wrong.

It looked “burst open”, that was my first impression of the little White House that sat on the side of the road. In front was a massive tree, its placement giving an idea as to how long the house had stood empty. While jay made to go and photograph a small gnome like shack a little further up the road, I moved to check out the main building. To be honest the footing beneath me was loose, spongey and disturbing.

Ever see a backyard made up of rusty sheet metal? Here you go.

Rusted sheets of metal were also underfoot and more sheets lay about further up a hill and into what was a heavily wooded space.

The side of the house we’d found was really odd. A window was in the side of the wall but the ground was almost even with the sill and just a little further down was a roof covered porch of some sort with trash strewn about.

This is of course where I made my entry into what had been the site of a pretty bad fire. The walls were charred black, ash and mud and assorted junk made up the floor, and while this place would win no awards for cleanliness there was a table with a cleanish looking frying pan. The little burned up shack was making an effort at hospitality if nothing else.

What must have been a living room at some point was nearly impassible, with the ceiling and roof having fallen in. These too were charred. On the far wall a calendar was tacked to the wall, Jay informed me that the calendar was from 1978. From the state of the walls and the amount of dirt-mud-gunk that now made op the houses floor it was easy to believe this place had been empty since ’78, well, of humans. I’ve no idea squirrels and raccoons had made this place their personal Air BnB.

I spent a good half and hour walking around inside shooting this and that but eventually made my way outside to the backyard. No, not a yard, rather a hill. A hill that had likely been growing larger and slowly moving to envelope the house? Another 20 years or so might see the back of the house consumed by the mound of dirt and grass.

Here the footing was no better than the footing on the side. I had to keep readjusting my stance to keep a foot from sinking into the loam, or from going ass over tea kettle. Here in the back stood more junk, old glass jars and bottles, large rusted cans that could actually be mistaken for pony kegs.

Finally I had made a full circuit of Casa de Charred to Hell and Back. Leaning back on the car I went through the photos I’d taken and wished that there’d been a few more personal affects left inside, but after 41yrs of being abandoned I was just surprised the house was still standing.

If you enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos, you might be interested in buying a copy of my book Forgotten Tennessee. Its available in most bookstores, Walmart, Target, Costco, anywhere that sells books. You may also order it by following this link https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Tennessee-Backroads-Roadside-Surprises/dp/1634991524/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Forgotten+Tennessee+the+book&qid=1578419500&sr=8-1

Until next time.

Forgotten Tennessee the book! An update!

Sept. 30th is the release date for Forgotten Tennessee. You’ll be able to pick it up on Amazon as well as brick and mortar book stores, and anywhere else books are carried. Sat the 21st I attended Wine Around The Square in Murfreesboro, TN (courtesy of the RAA) where I was pleasantly surprised with 3 copies of my book sold quickly. Forgotten Tennessee and its content were, to say the least, well received.

Photo: Lisa Simms
My table at the event.

What could possibly cap that? Finding out the Lynchburg_Times had put out a great review on Forgotten Tennessee! You can read it at  https://bit.ly/2m7dAGq 

Remember Sept 30th Forgotten Tennessee hits the streets! Or you can order NOW at https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Tennessee-Ba…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Forgotten Tennessee will be showing at the Smyrna Artist Cooperative “Arttitude 2019” show. Sept 27th 6-9pm and Sept 28th for Depot Days.