Well, it's been a while since I've written about anything of any importance (going on 34 years). But it's also been a while since I've written about anything at all. This won't do. How else will I justify the amount of money I've spent on gas and the numerous flat tires I've received going to ghost towns if I don't write a blog post filled with spelling errors about it? And so, let us away to the ruins of Modena! A land of mystery and adventure! Also there was one of those dogs with different colored eyes living there. To those dogs I say no thanks.
So, what do we know about the town of Modena? Honestly I know very little. I do know that it has one of these...
That there is what we in the business call a ruin. Also people outside of the business. All people call that a ruin. Well, all people who have ever thought about the subject. I suppose people who never think about ruins wouldn't call that anything as they would have no reason to do so. I feel like we've gotten off-topic. Which is better than Hot Topic. Where's my ADD medicine?
Before we go all picture-iffic all up in this place, let's figure out where Modena is. I know where it is because I went there. Being a kind blog master, I will let you in on the location. It is here...
That map is kinda small. But if you look closely at the lower left corner you will see where Modena is. I like old maps. I bet that map smells like grandmothers house. If you drove 9 more miles west you would find yourself in Nevada, which I've been to a couple of times. It's a great place to collect as much dust as you would like.
So why would someone build a city way out there when you could build a city somewhere.....closer? The answer lies here....
Sky! and clouds! But the city of Modena wasn't built to admire the sky and clouds. To my knowledge there has yet to be a city built for that purpose. Which is why we have to drive out to the middle of nowhere to look at sky and clouds. And even then you have to hunt for hours to find them. No, the purpose of Modena lies within the train tracks we see in the above picture. Look at these cool clouds!
As an interesting sidenote, the clouds of Modena are rife with aliens. Just packed with otherworldly visitors. Where is my proof? Oh, I don't know, only this convincing website!
Also, it appears that STD's are invading Modena...
I didn't see aliens during my visit. Just that dog I mentioned in the intro. I didn't get a picture of that dog. Use your imaginations. I can't walk you all through all of my adventures.
So, trains. Usually at this point I would start talking mines because usually when people give up on towns and leave behind a bunch of rusty chunks it's because mines have stopped giving us their precious, precious earthy goods. Sadly, Modena has naught a mine within its storied history. Nope, just trains. The Iron Horse. The Steamy Chariot. The Big I Think I Can. Now, if you're still reading (and I can't figure out why you would be), your minds are probably stuffed to the brim with the question of why trains demand a town. We don't have to listen to them! We are the kings here! Humanity can snuff out the life of the train as easily as we created it! WE ARE ALL POWERFUL!! Well, the answer is that trains no longer require towns. They have evolved beyond our control! Run! Run and save yourself!
But in the old days, trains couldn't do anything without us. Steam engines, you see, could only go so far before they ran out of steam. I made this picture for a previous post, and I can hardly believe that I have need for it a second time.
This picture is surprisingly accurate. And pretty stupid. But accurate. Like some sort of Fisher-Price auto insurance policy. I dunno. What's important is that in order to travel long distances in a steam engine, you have to have watering holes every couple of miles down the line to re-fill the train. Sometimes, along busy routes, these watering holes would spring into full-blown towns, complete with houses and cholera and violence-solved disputes.
And so, in 1899 Modena was born to serve as a teat upon which steam engines could nurse. The town grew pretty fast, and in 1900 Brigham J Lund and two associates opened a small restaurant and hotel in town, which at this point had a healthy population of 49 souls. So when I said it grew pretty quickly I mean pretty slowly. And often not at all. Anyway, Brigham J. Lund hangs out here during most of his free time...
I assume that Mr. Lund's associates are also now interred within the cold bosom of mother earth, but they don't appear to have earned any pictures on the internet. So, like the dog with two-colored eyes, you will have to imagine them. I'm betting a standard skeleton would suffice. You can add any flair you want. I don't care. Anyway, here is what was once a majestic commercial enterprise.
The floor and ceiling are in pretty sad shape. So I recommend not holding a party there nowadays unless you've filled out all the required insurance paperwork. The restaurant was in the front, and the hotel was in the back. It's in equally sad shape....
Look at that! It still has the beds! Pretty posh. I give it 4 stars, with 5 stars being a guarantee that you will get tetanus. It looks like these happy guests enjoyed hot water...
The people set up town and lived in various interesting shacks and such.
A school was set up and many a lesson were taught. No one famous ever came out of Modena though, so I guess these lessons were taught in vain.
By 1920 the population boomed to a mighty 130 people. This put tremendous pressure on the Lund establishment, so a second, more impressive hotel/restaurant/dance floor was built...
My great great grandparents apparently would take a horse and buggy out to this building and trip the light fantastic. Were my grandparents conceived within the confines of this majestic monument to recreation? I don't want to think about it. What's wrong with you?
So what's in this building nowadays?
Mostly shattered dreams. I didn't dare go into the building very far. I like life. And that building seems to be rich with potential end of life. You sure could put a lot of cans on those shelves though. Do you have an excess of cans? I have a place I want you to visit.
Now the good folks of Modena had a great new place to party. Things were looking pretty darn good. Trains were watered, shacks were occupied, outhouses were utilized, yup, pretty good times. In the 1940's things were modernized a little bit. These new-fangled automobiles require repairs....
Whatever this is was introduced.....
And tanning beds were imported. The Modenians were a vain bunch.
The school turned out to be too small for the booming new city filled with bright new minds. So a new school was built....
This school is pretty great. We got permission to take a tour, but looking through the windows it looks like it was just used as storage. If you really want pictures of storage then maybe you're looking at the wrong blog.
At some point Mr. Lund's establishment went belly up, and the alcohol requirements were gladly met at the Last Chance Saloon...
I bet this establishment also served as a hotel to the particularly inebriated visitor.
And then something happened to the good city of Modena. The majestic, proud steam engine met a foe that it could not overcome regardless of how many "I think I cans" it muttered. That foe was diesel powered trains. You see, these trains have no need for water. They go farther, faster, and require less maintenance. Which is bad news for towns based on the repair and service of trains that go shorter, slower and require more maintenance.
And so, starting in the 1940's the steam engines were phased out. All the residents of Modena could do was watch on longingly.
Imagine how sad that water tank behind the train feels. Every train a dagger. Nah, it doesn't feel anything. Tanks are dumb.
By the end of 1940 the town was on steep decline. But the Modenians are not a weak people. You see, I'm guilty of a dirty, dirty lie. Modena lives on....weakened, angry, but not defeated. A few brave folks still call this place home. One of them owns a particularly disturbing dog with two different eye colors. I only met one of them who appropriately was riding a horse. I suppose it would have been more appropriate if he were riding a steam engine, but I don't see how that would have worked. Environmentally it would have been inadvisable.
I've struggled this evening with the temptation to make the joke that Modena is technically a zombie town because it still contains people. Like Sampson, I've given into temptation. Modena is a zombie town
*pause for laughter*
Good. Good. This has pleased me.
And so we come to an end of our little adventure. Wasn't that fun? Ah, writing blogs is pretty great. Maybe I will do more of this "blog posting". Wouldn't that be a treat for all of you? Yes, I am a generous blog master.