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An old abandoned farm house surrounded by Montana’s plains and snow north of Havre. → Buy a Print

There’s something beautiful—and yet sorrowful—about old abandoned buildings. And Montana, it seems, has no shortage of them.

I’m not exactly sure why it appears there are more old, abandoned buildings here in Montana than any other place I’ve visited. Perhaps it is only because the vast, wide-open landscape largely devoid of trees here in eastern Montana makes it easier for people to see them. It may also be because old railroad towns that once lined the tracks that crisscrossed the state were closed up many years ago when trains no longer need to stop every 60 miles for coal and water. Whatever the reason, the many abandoned buildings make this Montana photographer very happy. I love to photograph them.

I first began photographing abandoned buildings when I lived in Wisconsin. One of the first old buildings I photographed there was that of the old Hyde Mill. It is a beautiful abandoned building, which has entertained photographers in that part of the state for many years. And like all old buildings, Hyde Mill has its story.

William Hyde, first built a mill in the Mill Creek Valley outside of the small town of Hyde in 1850. The mill burned down some 20 years later, but was rebuilt. That is the structure, long since abandoned, that stands there along that quaint little stream today.

Unfortunately, with so many abandoned buildings in Montana, I fear their stories may become lost. Or worse yet, those buildings may some day succumb to the elements and vanish completely. That is already the fate of many storied old structures in Montana. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I enjoy photographing them and why they adorn many of my Montana photos.

This week’s installment of 20+ photos includes photographs of abandoned old buildings; many are from Montana, some are from Wisconsin, and one is from Illinois. I hope you find these buildings every bit as beautiful as I do.

To see more of my 20+ photos series click here.

Opportunity to Make a Photo
Beautiful Montana Art

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