The former Sonny’s Beach marina and vacation community now sits collecting rust as it slowly falls apart into the dirt. Dust sits still, layered thickly across counters and tabletops inside empty vacation cabins, while family’s items lay scattered everywhere. It seems as though everyone left in a blind hurry, never to return. Anything from children’s toys, to complete room furnishings and even canned food remain, sometimes barely having been moved since the day they were left.
Many are familiar with the incredible and surreal world of Fallout, but for those who are not – imagine a small fraction of the world’s population attempting to survive after the bombs have wiped out nearly everything. What if you could be immersed in something so oddly beautiful? Not through a movie, nor video game or even a book – but right here on your very own Earth. Truth is, places such as this lay scattered all over our planet, as I have displayed through my work time and time again – though this place in particular holds its own unique charm.
Sonny’s Beach has to be one of Ohio’s strangest forgotten areas, and upon first look, it’s hard to imagine why or how such a place could just fall apart so quickly. As I traveled the long and lonely dirt road, huts to my left and trailers to my right, my curiosity grew as to what kind of interesting life this place must have seen.
Swimming, boating and fishing were a few of the activities, which had become routine for this popular spot during summer months. Sonny’s Beach was a vision, which came to life in 1956 thanks to Walter R. (Sonny) Lammers and his wife Joyce Martina Kibbel – born on March 4th, 1925. Joyce passed away Feb 21, 2013, just days shy of her 88th birthday.
To this day, the land remains still, and quiet – other than the frequent passing trains along tracks adjacent to this former community. Standing inside one of the huts, you can actually feel trains passing as they shake the ground, rattling the structures busted frame. Some stories across the Internet will say that government and city officials shut down the land in 1992, but I believe differently. See, while sifting through forgotten pieces of past lives, I noticed some tins left behind, branded with cartoon characters introduced during the very late 1990s to early 2000s.
Empty now for possibly 15 years – maybe less, maybe more – Sonny’s Beach now resembles that of the imaginative world designs, which make up the wildest of surreal scenery created for movies and video games (such as Fallout.) From items left behind, straight down to the details of each rust spot, it all seems almost too perfectly placed. Time eats away from the outside in as trees grow older and press against sides of trailers. Some day, they’re either going to swallow them whole or simply push them over. Some day, nothing will be left but the memories.