As mentioned in my post about Rock-a-Hoola, I love photographing abandoned locations, and we stumbled upon quite a few during our road trip, dotted in between tiny towns, and miles of fields. So here is quite the picture heavy post of what happens when buildings get left behind…
When it comes to my passion for photographing abandoned Americana, my love really is with places from the mid-20th century or older. However any place that is abandoned I’ll check out, even if it was abandoned just thirteen years ago, which is the case with Lake Dolores’ Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark off Interstate 15 in Newberry Springs.
Originally, the area around Lake Dolores was a private resort, but opened to the public in 1962. By 1998, it had new owners, and a massive remodel, which added the Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark with the most horrendous and gaudy “retro” theme, which ended up looking like a that 1980s vision throwback to the 1950s. You can check out a video of what it once looked like here, now it has been overrun by graffiti, and I was able to only locate one spot that featured the original “Rock-a-Hoola” text. The park closed in 2004.
Today, a hill looms high with nothing but oddly foreboding supports from the long disappeared waterslides over tag ridded buildings that continue to fade and decay in the hot Mojave sun.
I took loads of photos, so gear up for a pretty picture heavy post!
It’s no secret that I am a fan of roadside Americana. While I love to see these 50-plus year old businesses alive and well, my real passion is photographing the abandoned Americana. I love seeing what time and nature does to man-made structures and objects. So when my dad said he wanted to drive down the less traveled Californian portion of Route 66 (west from Needles to Victorville) I was all for it. Camera in hand, Ghost Towns of Route 66 as a guide, we got in the car and drove on a clear and sunny day.
We started in Amboy, which is in the middle between Needles and Victorville, but directly north of Palm Springs, worked our way east on Route 66, then after arriving in Needles, we took I-40 west to Amboy, and dropped back down to 66 headed west, so if these photos seem out of order, in a manner of speaking, that’s why! I originally shot over 600 photos for this post, but of course with the glory of digital one can shoot as much as they please, and I often take two to six shots of the same exact frame, as well as multiple angles of the same object. I have narrowed this down to 30, and boy was that difficult. Most of these images are of long forgotten buildings and signs that dotted the Mother Road, but there are a few images of places that are still in business, because their signage was just too great, and, the sad truth is, you never know when a place might close. And just for fun, I have included a quirky roadside attraction that was just too amazing not to photograph. I hope you enjoy.