Built in the early 1970s, a decaying Midwestern relic of throw-away consumer architecture will be torn down and developed into an updated outdoor shopping space. What is lost in the process?
by Tag Hartman-Simkins
An era is coming to its end in a mid-size Illinois city few Americans might recognize. Sandburg Mall, the four-anchor shopping arena constructed in 1974 on the northwest corner of Galesburg, is finally being torn down after decades of decline. Located near the intersection of Henderson street and Carl Sandburg Drive, just off the US-34 exit, the shopping center was built during Galesburg’s population apex — nearly 38,000 citizens were registered in 1960 census, dropping only about 1,000 by 1970. Per the city’s most recent census report, that number has dropped to just above 32,000.
These photographs were taken in or near my neighborhood of Potrero Hill, San Francisco. The RVs, car homes and converted trucks circulate through the city streets and park overnight in various venues depending on parking regulations.
Some of these urban mobile dwellings, with names like Lazy Daze, Sunrader, Holiday Rambler and Southwind, have come far from their romantic and utopian origins.
I am writing to remember what I learned in the last 12 months of our life traveling to 37 countries. I originally wrote this letter of stream of thoughts to myself, but I’ll take the risk of publishing it. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it is to me.
The word gratitude seems too small to describe how fortunate and thankful we are for our gap year.