Thursday, May 15, 2014

Abandonment: Hinkley House - Hinkley, California

Hinkley House - Hinkley, California
Just outside of Barstow in California's Mojave Desert is the tiny town of Hinkley. Perhaps you've heard of this place before. Hinkley was made famous by a move called Erin Brockovich.

If you've never seen the movie, the town has a high rate of cancer and other health problems because of groundwater contamination from an evil utility company. A massive lawsuit was filed and the utility company settled, paying out a huge sum of money.
Unwanted Junk - Hinkley, California
One problem is that the accusations were based on exaggerations and phony science. Yes, the groundwater was contaminated, but not nearly as badly as everyone was led to believe. While residents in Hinkley did have a higher-than-average cancer rate, it was not significantly higher (only slightly higher). And there is no evidence that any of the health problems were a result of the groundwater contamination.

Those residents who were a part of the lawsuit did get a payout, although not nearly as much as they thought they'd get. Essentially, they got enough money to move somewhere else, and not much else. The utility company would later file bankruptcy. The town of Hinkley was forever marred. 
Abandoned Wood Cross - Hinkley, California
The big winners were Erin Brokovich and all the attorneys involved. Hollywood did pretty well, too. Those people made millions. They became rich (or richer) at the expense of everyone else.

There are a bunch of abandoned homes and buildings in Hinkley. The photographs here are of one house (captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill). If I had the time, I'd spend a week there and capture all of them. It is a fascinating and sad place, and there is indeed a story worth telling.  
Unused Bed - Hinkley, California
Forgotten Palm - Hinkley, California
Forgotten Faith - Hinkley, California

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