Welcome to the Wiregrass, a place where abandoned doesn’t always mean vacant, and vacant doesn’t always mean empty.
Nestled between Florida’s sugar-white beaches and the agriculturally rich Black Belt, there exists a land of endless peanut fields and high cotton. This is the deepest of the Deep South, Dixie’s last stand before accents and culture take on a decidedly Northern flavor along the Gulf Coast and Florida Peninsula.
Narrow asphalt ribbons wind through this region’s pine forests, passing through small farming communities that are fighting for survival in the global economy. The lingering aftershocks of the 2008 economic crisis and 2018’s Hurricane Michael still reverberate here.
These pressures, along with an aging and declining population, have created a region where abandoned buildings are commonplace. These forgotten structures speak of dreams lost; from crumbling sharecropper shacks, to desolate main streets, to modern homes where the owners simply moved on.
Take a journey with award-winning author and photographer Brian Braden as he chronicles the slow-motion apocalypse of abandoned homes and businesses of the Wiregrass and also discovers a place of hope and transition, where citizens fight to revitalize their hometowns and preserve a rich cultural heritage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Brian L. Braden is an award-winning author and photographer. His articles have been featured in a variety of print and online publications such as the Military Times, Air Power Journal and Oxford University Press. He has published several books and is the recipient of the Alabama Penman and the Darron L. Wright awards for fiction. Brian is a veteran living in the Alabama Wiregrass.