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An old music house at Dogpatch USA.


abandoned circus building, but it wasn’t right for the movie. In his search for a suitable location, Schwarz said he found more and more abandoned properties. He took photos of each place simply because he thought the neglected properties looked “cool.” Schwarz said something


changed when he saw the Dunjee Academy in Oklaho- ma burn to the ground. “I had taken photos


Michael Schwarz, founder of Abandoned Arkansas, and Anna Findley look over items in one of the abandoned buildings they documented at Dogpatch USA.


there,” he said. “There were still assignments on the board. There was a teacher’s desk that had half-graded papers on it. It looked like everyone just got up from class, left and never came


back.”


Schwarz said while pho- tographing the charred rub- ble, he found the owner cry- ing at the sight before her. He learned that the woman’s husband had established the charter school for underpriv- ileged children, but after his sudden death, she could not keep the school open. Schwarz gave her photos


he had taken of the school before the fire. She said the photos were the last pieces she had of her husband’s dream. “It really hit me,” he said.


“These places mean some- thing to people. Those memo- ries mean something.”


14 Living Well i June/July 2014


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