It was a normal day, not unlike so many others during Ohio’s chilled winter months. The wind blew forcefully, sweeping snow dust across a barren parking lot, resembling somewhat of an urban arctic tundra. The sun was blinding as it reflected brightly from Akron’s snow-coated city streets. Though being the average day as it seemed, there was one thing tucked away from the ordinary, not making a sound. Following the passing of a large white out just hours before, a friend and I decided to check out one of our favorite, somewhat local abandonments – the Rolling Acres Mall.
As I mentioned, it was no different than most winter days for Ohio, but when you’re paying attention to that which is normally neglected you can find some incredibly surreal scenery. A once lively hub for the community, previously filled with music, laughter, fun and excitement, now sits deteriorating to nothing – what happened to this part of the American dream? They would have never imagined 40 years ago that this could be a possible sight. This space is now regularly occupied only by the crumbling and cracking walls of numerous storefronts, but on this day it became something entirely different, as fantasy became reality.
Upon entering the abandoned Rolling Acres Mall, I was taken away by the enchanting scene that welcomed me. You could call it a winter wonderland, though I feel that would not be doing it proper justice; it was much more than that. Constantly shifting weight from so much snow after years of neglect had weakened the glass of skylights above, causing ceilings to bust open overhead. It was as if clouds had fallen from the sky, filling this normally dark and desolate destruction with a brand new, much brighter life. The sky had fallen, crushing structures and causing destruction, but left us here to observe its unbelievable beauty as it lay in silence before us. I could breathe the atmosphere and feel as though the whole world around me was empty.
As a community, we will someday have to explain to future generations that this was once part of a big dream, but that was as far as it ever got; a dream. For some reason we changed our minds, eventually abandoning them for a lifestyle where we find ourselves stuck inside our computer screens, leaving it all behind, with no redirection. And now, reflected in the shattered glass of shop windows are fading memories of a fragile human connection being slowly forgotten, further lost as dirt fogs their reflection. We’re swept away from what grounds us, while we watch as everything we once believed in becomes dissolved by the unforgiving waters of time.
View my video of this mall here –